On Tuesday, ISU held a zoom meeting open to all students discussing the taboo subject of toxic masculinity, and how it affects the LGBTQ+ community.

Male toxicity is rarely talked about in the LGBTQ+ Community. “Male toxicity” is a wide topic that contains many different stereotypes. For instance, male stereotypes are of leadership, strength and quietness. Males are also expected to be athletic, have short hair, be muscular, never wear feminine clothing, be attracted to women only and be self-reliant. Many males that do not fall into these expectations are shamed by society or they criticize themselves. This is toxic to the male gender. Males should be able to be expressive of their feelings and passions without carrying around the shame that follows. Not everyone can be “tough” all the time, even though society expects men be strong constantly. Male toxicity affects the heterosexual community as well as the LGBTQ+ community.

Males of the LGBTQ+ community still are accustomed to male stereotypes, which can heavily affect their self-image. Males that are attracted to other males still can hold stereotypes of what society has placed onto them, such as exclusively looking for those “straight-acting” or “masc” under the guise of a “preference” in the dating scene. They have self-contradictions, which can lead to poor mental health states. Males expressing themselves in creative ways are not the problem. Because of the unacceptance of men that do not follow these standards upheld in society, men suffer, specifically with mental health.

According to the American Psychological Association, the suicide rate in American men is four times than that of women, and men aged 85 and older have the highest suicide rates than any other demographic group in the United States. According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, 9% of men in the US reported having daily feelings of depression or anxiety, with only one in four men speaking to a mental health professional. It can be indicated that this is due to the stigma surrounding mental health in men – even more so toward men in the LGBTQ+ community.