Unicorn with a pack of horses

I was very glad to see some fellow unicorns around South Australia today Wear It Purple to raise awareness and fight LGBTIQ bullying in schools, universities, workplaces and other important places. Still, there wasn’t nearly enough unicorns, just a lot of horses wearing a fake horn for a day.

The Conversation had a great piece on Wear It Purple Day and how it can move beyond lip service to actually reduce stigma on more days than just August 31, 2018. Even lip service is a huge improvement from the hate speech that used to be the majority.

As the toxic fallout from the postal survey settles across Australia we must focus now on the trauma of the past, present and potential future. We are still getting the shit kicked out of us for expressing our true selves. We are still sometimes afraid to come out publicly and at work. Workplaces are doing rankings, indexes, ratings, accreditation ticks and other great stuff but the hatred and stigma seems to still be lurking in many places just below the surface.

As ‘mad queers’ (ie. Queer people with living experience of mental illness), we have double stigma as soon as we are born and/or as soon as we become unwell. Many of us also face extra layers of stigmas like culture, gender, religion, political beliefs and every other intersection that for some stupid reason might create hate. We need to come out of the closet more about all aspects of our identity but only when it is safe to do so. Those who come before us couldn’t #wearitpurple safely and we should reflect on our purple items as the day draws to a close another year and ask:

What can we do for the rest of the year to reduce stigma and honour the legacy of out queers with mental illness who fought and were punished so we could live each day in a world that gradually improves in its attitudes towards us?

By the Mad Unicorn with small additions from the Mad Magpie.

August 31, 2018

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