There is a vast array of issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community today. Despite the progress that has been made in the past few decades in the realm of rights and visibility, particularly in Western countries, the world is still largely an unsafe place for those who identify as queer and/or trans. The community continues to be subject to laws, legislation, harassment, discrimination, and violence, especially those who identify as trans or non-binary. This collective trauma and marginalization can take a toll on one’s mental health. Discrimination and harassment, along with other stressors such as identity concealment and internalized homo/transphobia, contribute to the experience of minority stress which can lead to more adverse health outcomes, including suicidality.
While having a “chosen family” for social support is an important factor in promoting resilience, sometimes it can also be helpful to speak to a mental health professional who is both affirming of LGBTQIA+ identities and knowledgeable of the specific issues experienced by this community. In addition to processing current events, a therapist can help with coming out, talking with family/friends about your identity, processing trauma associated with being LGBTQIA+, or processing guilt and shame related to religious, cultural, and/or family of origin beliefs. Therapy is generally a combination of support/validation, coping skills, treating dysphoria, and working on resolving trauma.
At Sex Positive Therapy, we understand that every person is unique, as are their stories. SPT founder, Erica Zajac LCSW (they/them), identifies as nonbinary/queer/bisexual. Erica began coming out 28 years ago and is personally familiar with this ever-evolving process. Jacqueline Caso, LMSW (she/her), is an “aspiring ally”, acknowledging that allyship is an ongoing and dynamic process that involves active listening, continuous learning and personal accountability.
More information on mental health and the LGBTQIA+ community:
The Trevor Project's Facts about LGBTQ Youth Suicide