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Celebrating Pride Month With Mental Health

Being a college athlete is something we can all agree is not the easiest. But, what happens when you fall in a minority? As we celebrate Pride Month, we acknowledge it is not just a month of celebration, but focused around creating awareness on issues that those in the LBGTQ+ community face, and help those who may be struggling feel supported, and seen.

Avian Thompson, a Field Hockey rising senior goalie at Queens University of Charlotte, opened up saying how it can be terrifying at first to come out as a part of the LGBTQ, especially at smaller schools in more conservative areas. Thompson stated that she thinks school administrations should help these athletes by pushing for clubs and outlets that can be more inclusive for everyone. Hannah McDermott, a Women’s Lacrosse senior transfer from University of Bridgeport to Saint Francis University, agreed with this sentiment. McDermott greatly appreciated that during her transition to Saint Francis that student athletes had outlets for their mental health.

McDermott wishes members of the LGBTQ+ community would be more widely accepted and included not just in her school community but also the athletic community, stating how they can be made out to be “weird” or “not normal.” Yet, at the end of the day we are all human beings. To outcast someone for their sexuality is absolutely intolerable, and can be detrimental to their mental health.

Both McDermott and Thompson agreed that schools still need better counseling resources. The fact that schools have counseling at all is a good start, but scheduling needs to be made easier so that these resources are more accessible to both students and student athletes.

When asked what advice she would give to those who may be struggling in the LGBTQ community Thompson said, “Don’t be afraid to be true to who you are. There is a community of people who love you, and those who truly love you will be by your side no matter what. Keep yourself surrounded with positivity, and never be afraid to ask for help.”

We at AFA stand by those fighting to help bring awareness to LGBTQ+ athletes and are working to help create a community which is accepting and welcoming of everyone

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