Pritzker M2 in Op-Ed: 'Culture Wars' a Risk to LGBTQ Health

In a Chicago Sun Times op-ed published online this week and printed in Friday's edition, second year Pritzker student Jonas Talandis urged corporations to reassess their decisions to scale back shows of support for the LGBTQ community during Pride Month, calling 'Culture War' inspired homophobia a threat to LGBTQ health. 

The op-ed, entitled "Our ‘culture wars’ are a serious health risk to LGBTQ community," described the backlash companies such as Target and Major League Baseball faced for their various actions to celebrate Pride Month and their ensuing decision to pull back on what had become annual gestures of solidarity with LGBTQ people. 

"Deleting a social media post may seem innocuous, but when companies abandon the rainbow logos — and seemingly side with a vocal homophobic minority — it not only goes against everything Pride stands for but also poses a serious health risk to LGBTQ individuals," Talandis wrote.

The op-ed goes on to describe the health risks still faced by many in the LGBTQ community , including depression, homelessness, addiction, targeted violence, and suicide. These issues, which can be explained by the minority stress model, are compounded, Talandis asserted, when companies publicly back down from their support of LGBTQ people amid homophobic backlash, sending a message that they are listening to hateful opposition. 

Talandis also pointed to research that shows representation and open displays of support reduce the adverse health outcomes associated with minority stress, contending that removing gestures of support for the LGBTQ community eliminates a tool to prevent increased rates of depression, suicide, and self-harm, particularly among queer youth.

"Particularly during a year when hundreds of anti-queer, and particularly anti-trans, laws have been introduced and, in several cases, passed, it is dire to ensure our queer youth feel supported and protected," the piece said.

"Standing up to anti-gay and anti-trans legislation and sentiment is exactly why Pride Month exists; now is the time to stand in solidarity and action for the LGBTQ community. It just may save a life."

Read the complete op-ed here.