For some, writing is a passion, for others, a paycheck. But for many, writing is a mental outlet needed to process life. Now, research shows how imperative it really is, especially to queer and trans people.
Biography-writing service, StoryTerrace, conducted research that found that 1-in-3 LGBTQ people cite journaling as their most important mental health aid. Although much progress has been made in LGBTQ rights around the world, plenty of queer and trans folks are still subjected to discrimination and oppresive policies worldwide. Additionally, sharing queer and trans narratives allows for community to develop, but also gives comfort in knowing that we aren’t alone as we navigate this world.
However, when that type of representation doesn’t exist, whether that be from on-screen or in print, it can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. 49% of StoryTerrace’s survey respondents disclosed having these feelings due to the lack of LGBTQ narrative exposure.
“LGBTQIA+ representation has a long history of being completely erased from the history books”, said Rutger Bruining, Founder of StoryTerrace. “This erasure and underrepresentation can cause many to feel disconnected from their own history, and experience feelings of loneliness, isolation, and exclusion. Sadly, in most cases, it has been found that personal diaries are all we have in terms of proof that queer identities existed in history”.
Storytelling has long been a means for LGBTQ folks to develop a sense of self, feel represented, and to build community. StoryTerrace’s findings below continue to cement that:
- 48% of LGBTQ people say that writing about their experiences in a creative way has allowed them to understand themselves better
- 43% of LGBTQ people say they are more comfortable writing about their experiences rather than talking about them
- 65% of LGBTQ people say that reading stories they can relate to has a positive impact on their mental health
- 44% of LGBTQ people say they would love to share their experiences so that other people facing the same issues would feel more accepted and understood
- 34% of LGBTQ people feel that journaling has been the most beneficial aid to their mental health to date
- 49% say that a member of the LGBTQ community has often felt lonely because they didn’t hear about people who were going through similar things to themselves
But what really stands out is that StoryTerrace’s findings reveal that writing builds self-acceptance. 1 in 4 respondents stated that they were much more comfortable writing about their experiences than speaking about them. Another 65% stated that reading stories they could relate to positively impacted their mental health.
“When I was a teenager, seeing a gay character on television was rare. If you did see a gay character, it was mostly portrayed as something negative”, said StoryTerrace author Roger Moreau. “Today, there is so much acceptance and support – I absolutely love reading LGBTQIA+ memoirs and stories of someone overcoming adversity. It shows that there is hope, and to keep on going, no matter what you are going through in life”.
As a memoir writing platform, StoryTerrace is helping to ensuring other LGBTQ narratives are not only documented, but given further opportunity for queer and trans folks to gain access to them.