What is the secret of happiness? That’s an answer we all search for. Finding happiness is often the number one goal in someone’s life, especially for the LGBT+ community, dealing with rejection, prejudice, and homophobia are the biggest obstacles in Gen Z’s lives.
Fulfilling happiness may come in different forms and with multiple areas to cover, but how is LGBT+ Gen Z reporting to this multifaceted question? The meaning of happiness differs from person to person, from generation to generation.
Generation Z is the first one to grow up without knowing what it’s like to live without the internet, being the digital natives, they are very collaborative individuals who care about others, they are social, value flexibility, relevance, authenticity, mental health, etc.
Does happiness come from external sources or from within? Well, that depends, can be from both. This generation is self-driven, so fighting for their beliefs, rights, and inclusivity is a key factor in their happiness. Working in an inclusive environment is important for this generation, a research study made by MyGwork showed that 66% of LGBT+ Gen Z students would leave their job or not even apply if they couldn’t be out, indicating that it’s highly important for them to be working with pride. This highlights the fact that discrimination is still a big impediment in the lives of the LGBT+ community.
Freedom and individualism, are very important fundamentals of their happiness. Acceptance from family and peers, freedom to express and affirm your identity, and feelings freely, without the fear of being judged or harassed by being genuine yourself. The power of genuine expression through aesthetics and personality are the factors that make us welcome and accepted.
Being accepted by others and having the freedom to express one’s identity openly and honestly may be crucial components of happiness for certain people. Youth who identify as LGBT+ do so much more frequently now than in earlier generations (Human Rights Campaign, 2012). The younger age at which LGBT+ youth come out or reveal their identity to friends and family is a sign that societal acceptance is growing.
You should just be yourself instead of trying to hide who you are. Then and only then you can feel at ease. Your emotional state won’t alter until you begin to accept who you are, at which point you’ll be able to experience happiness.
For Gen Z mental health is a very important element, they are expected to be among the most educated, racially and culturally diversified, and technologically astute generations ever. They are open to discussing their mental health issues, therefore they are more at ease sharing their personal experiences online. Additionally, this generation has access to a variety of knowledge on discussion boards, websites for self-help, and apps like TikTok and Instagram.
The community we have online is developing more transparent topics, where nothing is too private or too taboo to talk about. Other young people may relate to, share, and learn about the common experiences of their generation in a secure environment provided by this online community.
Is happiness a feeling? Or a state of mind? It’s hard to define because happiness could mean different things to everyone. Being a subjective experience, it can be influenced by many factors. A person’s circumstances, relationships, and sense of fulfillment in life are some of those factors.
The sense of acceptance and belonging that LGBT+ Gen Z members experience in their communities frequently serves as a barometer of happiness. It is about having the freedom to speak your mind without worrying about being judged or subjected to unfair treatment. The goal is to give people the confidence they need to run their own lives and make the best choices for themselves. Access to tools and networks of support that can aid Gen Z in overcoming the particular difficulties they encounter is another aspect of happiness. Finally, it is about having a sense of purpose and pride in who they are and what they stand for.
Article by Ciprian Ciobanu
Ciprian Ciobanu is Gen Z Editor for GAY45 and an MA student at the University of Timisoara, majoring in painting but working in a mixed media field. Ciprian is currently in Timișoara finishing his studies and working on the process of developing and reflecting on the relationship between art and the trends of a given time from music, fashion, popular stories, etc.