Being a gay man myself I am very aware that how we identify, present and are accepted by the world is a fundamental part of who we are. Our gender, the gender we identify as and our sexuality is a large part of that. If we do not feel comfortable within ourselves or that we belong, or accepted that can have a big impact on our quality of life.
WHAT DOES LGBTQIA STAND FOR?
The acronym LGBTQIA, an expansion of the previously used LGBT, was broadened to encompass a greater number of individuals. Some individuals argue the practice of grouping those who are not heterosexual or cisgender (or neither) under this acronym, which may or may not accurately represent their particular sexual orientation or identity, is itself an exclusionary act. Others explore alternative terms, such as GSM (gender and sexual minorities) or LGBTQ+, that they feel may better represent the wide variety of identities and orientations people may have.
The current acronym represents those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex, and asexual.
Although a person’s sexual or romantic orientation or gender identity may not be a source of distress, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, or any other orientation or gender identity may find that the social stigma of living as a minority is a source of stress or anxiety.
Coping with discrimination and oppression, coming out to one’s family, and sorting out an “authentic” sense of self in the face of social expectations and pressures can lead to higher levels of depression, anxiety, substance use, and other mental health concerns for LGBTQ people.
Research shows that youth who identify as LGBTQ are at an increased risk of suicidal ideation and self-harm, particularly when they also experience discrimination based on their sexual or gender identity.
Discrimination may take several forms, including social rejection, verbal and physical bullying, and sexual assault and repeated episodes will likely lead to chronic stress and diminished mental health. Perceived discrimination—the expectation of discrimination—may also lead to diminished mental health. LGBTQ adults, too, may be subject to similar forms of harassment, as well as discrimination with regards to housing, employment, education, and basic human rights.
If you are struggling with any of the above then my person-centred approach to therapy might be able to help.
Seeking Therapy for Gender and Sexual Identity Issues.
Though many therapists may be able to help, sometimes LGBTQ clients feel more comfortable with an LGBTQ therapist, or at least with a therapist who specialises in or has a great deal of experience with LGBTQ issues.
People come looking for various forms of support. It could be a support to come out or people considering gender confirmation surgery may often seek therapy before undergoing surgery, and sometimes is arranged through specialist teams. Some people seek support after they have had the surgery, they often want some extra support to help them adjust to their new normal. I have many tools that I can apply to help in these different situations and have had success in supporting clients through these challenging times.