On June 15th, 2020 the Supreme Court ruled that gender identity or sexual orientation are protected characteristics under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The President of the Human Rights Campaign, Alphonso David, referred to this ruling as a, “landmark victory for LGBTQ equality.” In addition to improving workplace rights, could this historical event also help to improve LGBTQ+ mental wellness?
Gender and sexual minorities are more than twice as likely to experience a serious mental health concern. Ilan Meyer highlighted that a key reasoning for this disparity is due to minority stress. All individuals experience stress, however, minorities experience a specific addition of stress due to being a part of a marginalized group. To date, the lack of federal workplace discrimination protection is just one example of how LGBTQ+ individuals experience oppression. According to the Minority Stress Model, individuals do not need to directly experience prejudice to experience the impact of stress. For example, one does not need to experience being let go on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation to experience related stress. Instead, knowing of the possibility, such as the previous gray area as to whether being terminated on this basis is legal, can prompt an increase of stress. This consideration often whirls LGBTQ+ individuals into the realm of coming-out stress.