We talk through some of the key things that you can do to stay happy and healthy whatever your age.
It’s never too late to come out or choose to live your life the way you want to. Living your life as your authentic self will help you be happy, and it’ll allow you to love yourself too. Being yourself will make you a better partner, a better employee, and a better friend because you will grow as a person and people will respond to your authenticity. Everyone deserves to be happy, so be you and be proud of it, because you are fabulous!
Let go of negativity
Holding a grudge against someone doesn’t do you any good, so let it go. If someone is a negative drain on your life, then you’re letting them win by bringing you down too. Focus on the things that are good in your life and be positive. If you’re a positive person and you treat everyone with kindness, people are more likely to respond to you the same way, spreading those positive vibes!
Being sociable is important, even if you’re not a super sociable person. Whether you see friends once a day or once a month, it’s good for your mental health to see people and have a good chat. There are loads of LGBT+ groups in the Midlands where you can meet other LGBT+ people to do a range of activities. Here in Stoke-on-Trent, we run a gay and bisexual men’s group with members’ ages ranging from 18-80 where we all meet up, have a chat and do a quiz once a week. Visit our Men’s Group page to find out more about it, see our useful links page, or google LGBT+ groups in your local area to see what’s on.
Own your sexual health
In terms of your physical health, it’s important to look after your sexual health, especially if you enjoy casual sex. Be proactive and take condoms or dental dams out with you if you think you might meet someone and visit your local sexual health clinic for regular sexual health check-ups. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) don’t go away on their own and if they’re left untreated they can lead to serious health problems. We recommend getting a full STI test between each sexual partner, or if you notice anything symptoms in your genital area (lumps/bumps/blisters, unusual discharge, pain when peeing etc.).
Know when to ask for help
Everyone needs help every once in a while, whether it’s just some asking a friend for some advice on something small or visiting your GP for help with depression. It takes real strength to get help if you’re feeling down, stressed or isolated. People are there to help, whatever the situation is and facing things alone can be very daunting. Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. You can call them on 116 123 if you need to talk.
Know your rights
Knowledge is power, and knowing your legal rights will help you to stay happy by giving you the power to know you don’t have to put up with anything you shouldn’t have to. The Equality Act 2010 protects people who are LGBT+ from discrimination by all kinds of organisations including businesses which provide goods or services, health and care providers (like hospitals and care homes) and housing associations. In short, it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their gender identity or sexuality. In the UK everyone has the right to be themselves and lead a happy life as an LGBT+ person without fear or discrimination. If you think you’ve been discriminated against, you can call the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) on 0808 800 0082.