Chris Olsen, the LGBTQ+ actor and star of “The Book of Queer” on Discovery+, gets candid about Pride Month, mental health, and being and advocate for the community.
What does Pride Month mean to you?
Pride Month is finding community in the ability to live truthfully as yourself. It’s so beautiful to watch queer communities come together during this time in a multitude of different ways, which is also the beauty of pride: it means something different for each and every one of us.
What is an issue the LGBTQ+ community is facing that many people may not know about?
Trans people, especially trans women of color, remain disproportionately unsafe in most areas in the country due to a government that does not protect them, and that needs to change through policy and having new advocates in office.
What do you think people can do this Pride Month to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQ+ community?
Pride Month is not just about the parties, while that is a huge, beautiful part of pride. It is also about uplifting one another and helping bring awareness to the queer communities who are in need. That can manifest in a multitude of ways, like using your social media platform to share resources to help different communities, donating to organizations that you believe in, or showing up for your queer friends who need it.
One of the most difficult challenges for LGBTQ+ youth is the question of family acceptance. What message would you give to those who are looking for the courage to come out to their families?
One of the most beautiful things about pride is being able to celebrate your identity with your chosen family. Regardless of whether our blood relatives are able to accept us or not, once you find that chosen family, which you will, you will always be affirmed that there is space for you in this world.
You have been outspoken about mental health, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community. With depression and suicide rates on the rise within the community, what insight can you share from your own life on how to manage symptoms?
Take the scary step and get help. One of the hardest, but best, things I went through in my life was having an intervention and getting sober. Even if addiction is not part of your story, getting help at that scale is extremely helpful to anyone who needs it. That could mean starting therapy, opening up to someone you trust about what’s going on with you, or finding a meeting where other people are sharing the same struggles you are. Whatever you are going through, you are never alone.
Why is advocating for mental health so important to you?
I know what it’s like to feel alone and feel like no one else is going through the exact same situation that I am, so I never want anyone else to feel that way.