While we have a record number of LGBTQ+ representation in media and the record number of people support gay marriage and LGBTQ+ rights, the activism must not stop. Queer people, especially those identifying as women, face a lot of issues that might be invisible for non-LGBTQ people. In order to address issues and find solutions, first we need to learn a little more about the struggles queer women face today.
Higher levels of financial stress
Stress can wreak havoc in one’s body and mind, so it’s important to see why queer women experience so much of it. One of the main sources of stress for queer women is their financial situation. Queer people are 10% less likely to say that their financial situation is stable or thriving when compared to straight people. This is especially true for queer women of color, trans women and trans women of color. Employment discrimination, lack of family support and inequitable health care can all lead to great financial struggles, even homelessness.
Lack of appropriate health care
There’s one concerning but not exactly surprising trend of queer women not receiving proper health care, especially sexual health care. Unfortunately, queer sex is usually not addressed and perceived in the same way as heterosexual sex, and health specialists do not have knowledge and experience when it comes to safe queer sex, STDs and overall queer health. Most queer women have one or two unpleasant memories connected to health specialists where their sexual health needs where neglected or dismissed.
The same goes for older queen women in menopause and many of them choose to address issues they come across alone. Luckily, there are good supplements for hot flashes that can help women handle menopause with just a short consultation with their healthcare provider. For women who feel uncomfortable in their body, these supplements can be life-saving.
Lack of representation
While still rarely visible in media, a femme lesbian or a femme bisexual woman has a little bit more representation in the media than a queer woman who seems to be more masculine. The main problem is the fact that butch women dare to reject their “femininity” which is very marketable. When one lacks good role models such as healthy and happy masculine-presenting queer women, it’s harder to see those qualities in yourself. While things are not looking especially bright right now, people should be given a little more credit when it comes to their ability to accept difference. Healthy queer representation is key to a healthy mind and body of fellow queers.
Frequency of sexual harassment
All women, regardless of their sexual orientation, will likely experience unsolicited comments about their bodies when walking down the street in summer clothing. However, two queer women holding hands in the street are additionally sexualized and even vilified in a way straight women are not. Women expressing intimacy in public is often perceived as an invitation by men. Even if they do not engage in PDA, some queer women don’t have the luxury to employ the famous “I have a boyfriend” line in order to dissuade aggressive advances.
Lack of purpose in life
Probably the most concerning and depressing issue queer women face is a little more abstract: the lack of a strong sense of purpose in life when compared to their straight fellow women. While straight and gay men have a similar level of satisfaction when it comes to leadership, daily activities, goals and hopes for the future, queer women feel a lower sense of purpose than straight women. Why that is? There are still no obvious reasons for that phenomenon, but many queer, trans and non-binary women feel they lack representation that will make them feel like their lives matter, have beauty, value and purpose.
After all the fighting queer people went though, there is still a wide array of demons that demand to be addressed every day. Luckily, queer women are expected to soon find their footing and improve their standing in the world.