CelebHomes: Therapy and other mental healthcare services remain highly stigmatized in particular the LGBTQIA+ communities. You would like to share your thoughts with people who feel stuck and unsure about how they can move on to seeking the help that is needed.
LC: In terms of stigma, you have to just get past it. Remember that our minds and bodies do not exist in isolation. Mental health should be considered as part of general health.

We have to look after ourselves. Personally, I notice it in my health. It’s what my therapist refers to as the “over-abundance” of survival energy. We are now LGBTQ+ people who have experienced difficult environments. If you are a bully at school, or if your mother blames you, you will be in survival mode. This is what I have learned. My 50th birthday is a good time to learn new methods of building resilience. My therapist talked about moving from the things that are wrong with me, to what has happened to me, to what is right.

CelebHomes: Let me know more about how you can find the path that is right for you.
LC: Think back to my childhood. In spite of being bullied in school, I was also an A student. Because I enjoyed standing before people, I liked getting up to summarize Sunday School lessons in church. Competing in talent shows was something I enjoyed. My little fantasies and dreams were my reality. These were the things that helped me get through.

The power of imagination is what gives rise to resilience. You can find resilience within the confines of dreams. This is something to be able to look into right now without being dejected. Resilience is essential.

CelebHomes – Do you have advice for your young self that would be helpful?
Alok, I believe today’s LGBTQ+ youth are smart and strategic about what they want. I believe my younger self might have had some advice for me. What I find so exciting about Trevor Project is the way we have to really understand LGBTQ+ young adults, both as leaders in their own lives and as narrators of our own struggles. While there are currently bills that target young people, Laverne points out that it is important to also find joy in life.

Texas is where I am from. Just protesting the anti-trans policy. One trans youth approached me and offered a wand they made with the trans flag. They said, ‘I get bullied a lot in school. Then, they said that I was a wizard with magical abilities and could stop bullying. This is because you are bullied. Because trans elders are being fought every day, young people show up to support them. Sometimes I draw inspiration from these youth. This is beautiful to me.

LC: The best thing about this is that I was so fearless in my youth because I didn’t know better. I did not know or understand all the terrors in the world. Although I was unable to fully understand all levels of trauma, the strategies for coping were amazing. Their imagination was vivid and they lived in dreams. There is a kind of innocence is bliss that you can find in childhood wonders. That is a great way to reframe the question. People often ask me this one.