Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Students and nonprofits voice importance of LGBTQ+ health, relationship awareness

LGBTQ+ organizations express the struggles faced in relationships, the barriers to seeking resources and matters that impact mental health


"Sexual relationship violence resources are desperately needed, not because it really happens often, but when it does happen, it's significant enough that someone needs support."

ASU student organizations and other nonprofits in the area help combat struggles LGBTQ+ communities may face, providing resources for navigating relationships, health, and more.

Melanie Buathier, a senior studying forensic science and biology, is the education coordinator for Devils in the Bedroom, a sex education organization for students. Buathier said the organization tries to integrate queer perspectives into the curriculum throughout the whole semester while they tackle essential topics.

One of the courses she finds most important is how to identify an unhealthy relationship.

"A lot of people don't leave unhealthy relationships that could potentially become abusive relationships because they don't even recognize that it's unhealthy," Buathier said.

LGBTQ+ organizations and nonprofits provide resources to help those become aware of unhealthy relationship traits, as well as tips to improve self-confidence.

READ MORE: Devils in the Bedroom destigmatizes sexual education, focuses on creating safe space 

Buathier said LGBTQ+ relationships could come across struggles such as if one person threatens to out the other if a partner intentionally misgenders, if there's pressure to express gender in a certain way if belittling sexuality, and instances of uncomfortably fast pacing within relationships.

"When we're in a relationship with someone, that means we actually like them and maybe love them as well, so we don't want to see them as someone intentionally harming us," Buathier said. "I would say it can be difficult to identify red flags because of that."

Anthony Scarmack, a sophomore studying journalism and the co-president of Confetti, a downtown Phoenix organization part of the Rainbow Coalition, said that relationship dynamics can alter the health of a relationship.

"When you have a very openly successful person that's gay, and then they fall with somebody that may be a little bit more unknown of their sexuality or just not ready to come out fully yet, that I think can create an unhealthy habit of relationships," Scarmack said.

Scarmack also said that people could view LGBTQ+ relationships as sex-dependent and create worry about being able to find a strong relationship.

"In an LGBTQ relationship specifically, it can be harder to come across somebody that you finally click with," Scarmack said. "They spend so much time together that they isolate themselves (from) everyone else because they're so scared of losing that one person and then coming back to that sex-based relationship."

Resources such as Devils in the Bedroom — which allows for an open conversation on these topics and how to overcome them — as well as ASU sexual prevention resources are essential to help those who might have a specific situation.

"Sexual relationship violence resources are desperately needed, not because it really happens often, but when it does happen, it's significant enough that someone needs support," Buathier said.

Buathier said that the media tends to focus on  "very passionate, intense relationships," which can lead to some questioning their relationships if these traits are absent. Scarmack referenced the quote "too gay to function" from the Mean Girls movie, saying feeling the need to fit into a certain character or stereotype can inhibit people from being confident in themselves and seeking resources.

Dyana DaCosta is the wellness program specialist for one•n•ten, a nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ+ youth and young adults ages 11-24. DaCosta works to provide resources to the youth, such as self-defense programs and wellness events. She also expressed the struggles those in interpersonal relationships may face.

"There's no roadmap for them of what that looks like," DaCosta said. "There's no representation to say, ‘Hey, this is what it can look like for me.’ You can almost feel isolated sometimes when you don't have that community around you."

However, DaCosta said a big issue in the community is being comfortable enough to access these resources, which can be hard to overcome.

"It's been a huge issue with not even knowing what they have out there for them," DaCosta said. "There's also the stigma they have going on, where they don't feel safe to go to these doctor's offices or appointments because they feel like they're either going to be judged or discriminated against."

READ MORE: Opinion: ASU needs to listen to its LBGTQ+ students, create safe space on campus 

DaCosta said another issue she notices when working with one•n•ten is self-confidence and strength in someone’s identity.

"One thing is knowing their worth and knowing that they do bring a lot to the table," DaCosta said. "They shouldn't have to feel like they have compromised because I think I see that a lot where they think they do have to compromise, where they deserve less when they really deserve the most."

During conversations, DaCosta said she likes to express her own vulnerability during complex topics to encourage other participants to open up about what they are experiencing. She said once they start to open up, she's seen how powerful the effect can be on those spaces.

One•n•ten has several resources for LGBTQ+ youth, such as housing, workforce navigation and wellness.

"The LGBTQ community is so welcoming, so warm, and they understand and relate to you, just wanting to be you and wanting to express yourself," DaCosta said.

Edited by Katrina Michalak, Walker Smith and Caera Learmonth.

Reach the reporter at and @George_Headley7 on X.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on X

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.