An LGBT+ Spotify playlist is just one way queer youth are helping peers stay strong, focused and proud during lockdown.
The last lockdown saw many LGBT+ people take a devastating hit to their mental health when separated from supportive communities and resources.
While the full mental health fallout is still unknown, several mental health charities reported a shocking rise in demand for their suicide hotlines and research suggests as many as seven in 10 LGBT+ people are now suffering from depression.
With a second wave forcing many back into isolation with families who may not support them, the queer youth group Just Like Us is keen to avoid another crisis.
They’ve recruited several young LGBT+ ambassadors aged between 18-25, who have received training and mentoring to help their peers via Zoom.
If they can’t be there for their community in person, they can certainly be there in spirit with a LGBT+ Lockdown Listens playlist compiled to “keep you proud through the tough times ahead”.
“I picked these songs because they’re very much about finding comfort in other LGBT+ people and learning to love yourself because of that – they remind me of all the amazing people I’ve met, and how we are still connected despite lockdown,” said Rhianna, 22.
The playlist includes a plethora of mood-boosting bangers by artists from across the LGBT+ spectrum, from Sam Smith and Janelle Monáe to Kehlani and Katie Pruitt.
“I honestly find listening to a feel good music playlist really helps with day to day motivation,” said Welsh ambassador Ben, 21. “I chose Orville Peck because he’s an openly queer artist in a normally straight-centric genre (country) and the emotions he portrays in his music really speak to me.”
Dream pop-artist Leo Kalyan, who is featured on the playlist, said: “My message for young LGBT+ people as we enter a second lockdown is to stay strong and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Being queer or trans may complicate your home life, so try to access your community however you can, even if it’s just on social media. Talk to people you trust. And keep dreaming of the days when we can dance together, hug one another, and be with our chosen families once again. It will come.”