People who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or any other gender identity or orientation may experience anxiety or stress as a result of social stigma. The issues associated with living as a minority may be the source of problems for such individuals rather than the actual sexual or romantic gender identity.
The acronym LGBT stands for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, and Transgender individuals and has been expanded in recent years to include a greater number of people including Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual individuals.
There are those who argue against including certain people who aren’t heterosexual or cisgender under this broad acronym as it may not be an accurate representation of their sexual identity. Other people use alternative terms such as GSM which stands for Gender and Sexual Minorities or others that they feel are a better representation of the various identities and sexual orientation that individuals may have.
Issues Faced by LGBT People
Cultural acceptance of the wide range of sexual identities is growing as more and more people all over the world learn more about this topic. Unfortunately, there are always going to be some people who insist on persecuting, oppressing, or discriminating against LGBT people.
For the affected individuals, some may be able to weather these kinds of situations on their own or with the support of friends and families, but others can’t. They may need some help from someone who is qualified to deal with such issues such as an LGBT therapist.
Discrimination Against LGBT People
There are many different forms of discrimination that LGBT people may face. These include social rejection, physical or verbal bullying, and even sexual assault. People who experience this kind of abuse repeatedly are more likely to develop chronic stress and mental health issues.
In addition to actual discrimination, perceived discrimination or even the expectation of discrimination may lead to mental health disorders in the affected person. According to scientific and psychological studies, students who identify as LGBT are over ten times more likely to experience bullying in school as well as more than twice as likely as their heterosexual counterparts to consider suicide.
Benefits of LGBT Counseling
- Helps individuals to cope with discrimination or oppression
- Assists individuals to come out to their families
- Is a great tool in helping affected individuals to discover their sense of self
- Helps individuals to deal with social pressures and expectations of their sexual identities
- Assists individuals to cope with depression, anxiety, and other mental or emotional health issues that they may experience
People who identify as LGBT have higher risks of experiencing mental health concerns and according to research they also have an increased risk of depression, self-harm, and suicide. In addition to that, members of the LGBT community may also be at increased risk when it comes to substance abuse, homelessness, as well as risky behaviors.
When you consider all of that, plus the fact that often times they have a serious lack of family support, it’s no surprise that they stand a higher chance of developing mental health disorders.
LGBT Counseling Near Me
Whether an individual is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender, they may seek counseling for help with many of the same life issues that heterosexuals have such as couple’s counseling, anxiety, depression, grief, work stresses, and so on.
Many of the issues that LGBT people may face will often seem to have nothing to do with sexual orientation on the surface, but many will be closely entwined with their gender identity. It’s those issues with an intimate connection to their LGBT identity which require a counselor who is specially trained to assist such individuals.
A skilled LGBT therapist will be able to help persons seeking treatment whether their issues are related to their LGBT status or not. Patients undergoing treatment should feel supported and be able to communicate with their counselor freely if they are to benefit from the treatment.
Those who are confronted with both the stigma of LGBT orientation and mental health issues should find help as soon as possible in order to avoid experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts. Finding a therapist who is either openly LGBT, specializes in LGBT issues, or is LGBT-friendly could make a world of difference in the treatment therapy of such individuals.