In Part 1 of this article, we discovered a cave that we called the Dark Void of Depression. Because of our Male Label, we found ourselves barely able to escape, because of the Trifold Societal Trap.
The Trifold Societal Trap (a recap) -
Depression, Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Ethnicity
In 2018 the American Psychological Association (APA) issued various reports to confirm that Depression is a critical issue for the Male Labelled, particularly when that Male Label intersects with other parts of a person’s identity (APA Guidelines 2018, and APA Report 2018b).
What this means for Survival is that even if you escape the Trifold Societal Trap, there is another Trap for you if your Male Label intersects with another part of your identity. For example, -
The Trap of Minority Stress
The Minority Stress Model was developed by I.H. Meyer, and Meyer claimed there are two types of stressors -
1. Distal Minority Stress, which are external stressors such as discrimination (transphobia, biphobia, homophobia, or racism), rejection, or violence experienced because of a person's identity as a minority
2. Proximal Minority Stress, which are internal stressors developed as a result of the above-mentioned external stressors. For example, someone might develop internalized negative beliefs (such as internalized racism, internalized transphobia, internalized biphobia, or internalized homophobia). Or they may live in constant fear of further discrimination, or they may endure stress as a result of concealing their true identity.
So what can we do about all of this?
The APA Report 2018b stressed the importance of developing Resilience against the Dark Void of Depression. The APA claims that we can develop Resilience when people have the following -
The APA highlighted several structural changes that are needed to tackle the issue of Minority Stress and Depression. These include -
1. A focus on strengths rather than deficits. In other words, we need to stop pathologizing people based on their Male Label, their true Gender Identity, their Sexuality, or their Ethnicity.
Instead, we need to -
2. An understanding of how certain beliefs and expectations may impact on a person. We cannot escape a society of labels. For example, there are certain beliefs and expectations about the label 'Masculinity'. And yet the reality is that people are far more complex than those labels. So what does this dissonance mean to the individual? How do they experience this? And how does society react to them as a result of this dissonance?
The Dark Void of Depression is far from a personal experience. We all have a part to play in keeping people trapped in that Darkness. As a result, we all have a part to play in finding those glimpses of light and helping all of our travel companions along the way to the full light of day.
So what do you think?
Does any of this resonate with you? Get in touch by sending me a message privately via the Contact Page, or add a public comment below, and engage in the debate.
Chris Warren-Dickins LLB MA LPC
Therapist, writer, educator, and LGBTQ+ advocate