PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — For Jim Sugarman it’s a familiar fight.
“I was on one of the first boards of the Senior Action In A Gay Environment in New York City,” he said.
Since then he’s consistently fought for LGBTQ rights.
“I think we have come a very long way, but I think we have a long way to go,” Sugarman said.
Now the 69-year-old Atlantis resident says the pandemic isn’t making it easier.
“I lived through the HIV/ AIDS epidemic,” he said. “Lost and buried over 85 friends and it was a very tragic time and I can relate to people who are losing friends and family as a result to this pandemic.”
Sugarman says political division isn’t helping, “I don’t know of any gay and lesbian person who isn't concerned about what will happen with the Supreme Court."
“There is a lot of fear right now,” Alyssa Hickey, Licensed Clinical Social Worker said.
Hickey says she’s seeing a need for more mental health outreach in the LGBTQ community.
“Higher risk for depression and anxiety,” she said. “We even see some sort of correlation to risk for suicide. I think part of that is we live in a very heteronormative world, so they are often told that somehow they are wrong for who they are and that is again exacerbated by their access to resources.”
Hickey recommends joining a virtual support group and staying connected with loved ones. She also says if you feel comfortable get involved.
“We need to be here for each other, we need to support one another, we need to reach out to one another,” Sugarman said.