As you can probably tell after browsing through this blog, I am all for gender equality. I aim to encourage people to be who they are meant to be and love whoever they want to love. It does not matter if you are straight or gay at this point. You only get this one life to express yourself. If you allow the social norms to dictate how you should live your life, then you are setting yourself up for misery on end.
The thing is, not everyone is judgmental. Others like me support their friends or family members, especially if they want to come out as gay. It can feel suffocating to keep on hiding your identity, after all. A bisexual man who used to go out with girls wants to date another guy, for instance, or a lesbian is in a secret relationship with a female colleague. Since the individuals they are with are single, and they are not stepping on anyone’s toes, there’s no reason for them to stay in the closet. “I think in some parts of the country it may feel ‘safer’ for LGBTQ-identified youth to come out, but for many, the issues remain the same.” Nicole Issa, PsyD said.
Despite telling people all these things, though, I fail at one thing: making my best friend believe it.
Ian has been with his boyfriend for almost five years now. Every two weeks, he would meet his man, as well as his parents and siblings. They were open with them. But when Ian comes home to his family, he would act as a manly son in front of his mom and dad. They seemed pretty chill to me, so I wondered why gay folks would choose to hide their gender preference.
Here are some of the reasons that Ian gave to me.
1. There’s No Need For Lengthy Explanations This Way
My best friend is admittedly not the most talkative person in the world. He cracks jokes and goes crazy when we are around, but deep conversations are not his thing. In truth, I only heard him talk about his current relationship and past heartbreaks once when he got so drunk. Other times, he would merely listen to us and offer his two cents if asked.
Because of that, Ian does not think it’s a good idea to come out to his parents. “Doing so will require me to mention how or when it started,” he said. It’s not that they don’t deserve to know things about his sexuality, but he’s not ready for lengthy explanations yet.
2. They Are Afraid Of Negative Reaction From Loved Ones
Ian also mentioned that he’s scared that his mom and dad might have an adverse reaction towards his gender preference. A lot of members of the third sex hold on to this fear as far as I can tell. That is especially true if they are deeply attached to their family, and they don’t want to be seen in a bad light. Linda A. Travis, PsyD used to say, “I can’t overstress the potential fears that people have about discrimination,” she says. As a result, she says, “LGBT older adults can be reluctant to see health-care providers until their problems become so bad they can no longer avoid doing so.”
3. They Did Not Want To Hear Stereotypes
Coming out to the parents entails coming out to the neighbors, colleagues, and other people in their circle. According to my best friend, that’s the kind of stress that they don’t need right now. While many of them may accept the truth, after all, others may poke fun at them or typecast them by their sex.
“Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is now on the world stage.” Michael Friedman Ph.D. stated. The decision to disclose or hide one’s sexuality is no one else’s but the person who has that sexuality. As much as I say that showing your true colors is not bad, I will never out my best friend in front of anyone. It is something that you should not do either, primarily if someone has trusted you with this information. No reason is invalid in this case; let’s all respect each other and wait for them to be ready to come out of the closet on their own.
The members of the LGBTQ community are some of the loveliest people I know. For one, they are so strong for being able to come out and tell the world, “It’s who I am, and I’m not sorry for it.” Individuals with homophobia may frown upon them and call them names. Others even become discriminated at work or even in public establishments because of showing their true colors. Although such incidents hurt them, they do not hold on to that grudge for long. Instead, they smile and think that they must not be enlightened yet.
You can still hear or see news about gay folks getting mistreated not only in the United States but also in various countries. It is saddening to know that they have to deal with so much negativity before everyone can accept them. That should never be the case because we have the right to choose who we will become, and no one should tell us any differently.
Nevertheless, there seems to be hope still for acceptance to come sooner than later. After all, many Hollywood celebrities — even the straight ones — show their support to LGBTQ friends. We are talking about huge names, such as Chris Evans, Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney, and former President Barack Obama. Didn’t Lady Gaga even release the song entitled Born This Way, which became the unofficial anthem for the rainbow community?
So, the standing question is, “What does it mean to have celebrities supporting LBGTQ publicly?”
It Prevents The Cultivation Of Hate
The first advantage of having famous personalities saying that they love the gay community is that it prevents the cultivation of hate. Many celebrities have young fans who like to copy whatever their idols do, you see. Even though someone at home may frown upon LGBTQ, if their favorite singer or actor supports it, they will follow the latter in a heartbeat.
It Helps People See The Gay Community In A Non-Stereotypical Light
There is a significant number of individuals from the rainbow community who have contracted HIV or AIDS after having unprotected sex. Even straight people can acquire such illnesses, as well as addicts who inject themselves with drugs using a used needle. However, only gay people get associated with sexually transmitted diseases, to the extent that those are the first words that homophobes think of upon seeing them.
This stereotype is something that celebrities can help squash. By merely posting something about it on Instagram or talking about it in a TV show, they can make people aware that HIV/AIDS isn’t synonymous to being gay. And if you do come across someone with this condition, you should show them love instead of disgust or prejudice.
It Opens Opportunities For Talented Gay Individuals
Gay characters in movies or TV shows used to serve as comic relief. Thanks to the growing support for the LGBTQ community, though, we see more plots that revolve around it and more gay actors breaking into mainstream media. They merely have to be themselves; they do not have to play the role of a straight man or woman. Their parts are still fun — that’s for sure — but they are not made fun of anymore.
No matter what your occupation is, dear reader, you should act like celebrities in this manner and advocate equality wherever you go. Being gay is neither a sin nor a crime. It is not someone’s fault if they end up liking another person from the same sex. To quote Lady Gaga, they are simply “born this way.”
Charlie is one of the guys I grew up with. He was my classmate from seventh grade up until high school. Although we went to different universities, our closeness did not dwindle. He’s that type of friend who could never make any moment dull. He’s so funny as well even without trying because he’s extremely witty.
As bubbly as Charlie acts whenever we’re together, though, I knew he’s dealing with a huge problem. That is, he could not tell his family that he’s a closet queen.
Charlie has been keeping this secret for as long as I can remember. It is genuinely difficult to notice it unless you see him cuddling up to his boyfriend. He is masculine, he cringes at the idea of wearing girly clothes, and he is not vain at all. However, such things cannot erase the fact that he is a man who is into the same sex.
What’s The Problem?
Charlie’s ultimate issue is that he comes from a conservative family. His parents follow the teachings from the Catholic religion, to the extent that they even use the rosary every day. Of course, it also entails that they want to stay with the old belief that a man should only be for a woman and that being gay is a mortal sin. There is no way to sugarcoat that truth, regardless of how unfair it may be.
What Can You Do To Help A Gay Friend Come Out?
I know that Charlie is merely one of the thousands of gay people out there who are still in the closet. If you have a friend like mine, here’s what you should do to help them come out.
- Avoid Rushing It
No matter how much you want your friend to be free from the emotional burden, don’t pressure them into doing it. I believe that there is a right timing for everything, especially when it comes to sensitive matters like this. If you rush them, their loved ones might disown them.
- Boost Their Spirit
Being unable to tell the truth, can depress your friend, so do everything to cheer them up. You can talk to them every day, send words of wisdom often, and say how loveable they are still. Try various things to boost their spirit so that their courageousness will increase as well.
- Remind Them Of The Reality
Since you are both adults already, you should help them understand that coming out may not always mean acceptance. Some parents, even though they love their child dearly, end up saying nasty words if the latter does something that’s entirely against their beliefs. Still, it should not bother your friend and just let them come to terms with it.
- Stay By Their Side
The closer your friend gets to come out, the more they need you on their side. It is a nerve-wracking experience, you see. It can induce anxiety more than proposing to your special someone or walking down the aisle. What they are about to do can make or break their family (literally). You can’t force their parents to think in any way; that’s why you should serve as your friend’s support system.
Keeping secrets from your loved ones is wrong, but I guess some people have no choice but to do it. That is especially true when it comes to your showing your true colors.
In case your friend has a hard time to come out of their rainbow closet, feel free to follow the tips above. Good luck!
In the past ten years, there have been constant trials and challenges that the LGBT community has faced on equal rights. Bullying, abuse, and discrimination primarily because of the existing stigma have led the community to be highly vulnerable to various kinds of mental, behavioral, and emotional problems. If they seek the help of mental health professional, they should choose the right therapist who can capably deal with and have experience in reaching out to the gays, lesbians, and transgenders who in reality are unique in their own ways. They, too, are entitled to personalize and efficient mental health services.
“Loneliness is an epidemic, We’re the most socially connected society, yet so many people experience extreme loneliness.” psychologist Amy Sullivan, PsyD. said. With that, one mental health condition that is prevalent among the LGBT community is depression, with anxiety just a close second.
It is generally normal for teens and adolescents to explore and learn the love for freedom. However, LGBT teens are mostly stressed in an environment that is not so accepting of them, especially in the home and at school. An article from the Mental Health in Family Medicine stated that teen gays and lesbians are among the most common victims of bullying and physical abuse and usually suffer from extreme stress, depression, and anxiety. Linda A. Travis, PsyD once said, “I can’t overstress the potential fears that people have about discrimination,” she says. As a result, she says, “LGBT older adults can be reluctant to see health-care providers until their problems become so bad they can no longer avoid doing so.”
Despite the cultural and social developments in first world countries, adults in the LGBT community continue to be bombarded with many challenges and difficulties. The Journal of Women’s Health states that the higher likelihood of depression among LGBT adults is largely due to the discrimination and lack of support from society. A study done by The Gerontologists focused on the healthcare provisions that the LGBT adults are in crucial need of. It is a sad truth that this group has very little access to proper care and therapy.
Understanding Sexual Identity
Sexual identity is such an extensive topic that involves our points of view and our personal opinions when it comes to sexual and romantic relationships. There are misunderstandings and even violent reactions when discussing this topic.
One must remember that sexual identity is different from gender identity, as sexual identity refers to sexual or romantic attraction towards other people and gender identity is an individual’s personal view of self – of whether he is male, female, gay, lesbian, or both. It can be different or the same as the gender assigned to them at birth.
The Stigma Around LGBT
The LGBT community is among the most prevalent groups that are victims of stigma by other people and even by their own families, friends, and coworkers. A major reason for this is that the general population still lacks knowledge, comprehension, and empathy. Also, others somehow practice a strict belief for them to reject people who do not belong to the normal male and female categories.
Bullying also makes up a large percentage of the pie on the major matters that cause LGBT anxiety and depression. “There is no remorse or “just kidding.” The final hallmark of bullying behavior is the intent and knowledge that they can, and likely will, do it again and can purposely keep people on guard.” Paul Schwartzman, LMHC, MS, DAPA explains. It seems that prejudiced students, parents, and other individuals still haven’t gotten tired of criticizing those who are different from the rest, despite their skills and what good they can offer to the community. Teachers and other educators should act upon this immediately if this is present in their classrooms or school surroundings. They must help prevent this violent act from happening and educate their students about the concept of equality and discrimination.
The Need For Therapy
Aside from the issues mentioned above, LGBT individuals also experience other equally devastating problems, such as PTSD, social discrimination, and suicide. This puts them at a tremendously higher likelihood of developing mental health illnesses and suffering from low quality and access to therapy and other types of mental health care. However, as more and more studies reveal the importance of these services for the LGBT community, a lot of programs are now established to allow the community to access the services of therapists, psychologists, counselors, and even social workers.
Since depression is on top of the list of the most commonly seen mental illnesses in LGBT individuals, the need for professional help has been recognized and eventually appropriately provided.
The Right Therapist
If you are gay, lesbian, transgender, or someone who had chosen to be different from the gender assigned to him when he was born, do not be ashamed to seek therapy. And for you to get the full benefits of mental health therapy, find someone well-acquainted with the problems that you and your community have been facing. He should also be capable of understanding your sentiments and what has caused you to be anxious and depressed. Finally, the therapist must have an open mind and an empathic heart that can reach out and help you break the barriers that have been keeping you from growing into the best you can ever be.
Did you know that the number of women who have complained about domestic violence has risen over the past few years? According to a recent study, this violence does not only exist in married couples but even in couples who are just living together or even in a dating phase. This statistics is quite alarming because it can have adverse effects on the victims involved. Psychology would tell us that a battered woman may suffer not only physical abuse arising from domestic violence but also emotional ones that can lead to mental health-related issues.
“There are 3 million cases of domestic violence reported each year. Many more go unreported.” Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT said. Because if this, we see it fit to discuss the different ways on how women like you can handle domestic violence. Whether you are a victim or not, it is essential for you to read these techniques to ensure that you can protect yourself at all times. Do not wait before it is too late to act on the situation. Here are the tips to keep in mind to make you better in handling this kind of violence:
Know Your Worth
The crucial thing that you must do is to determine your worth as a person. Do not let other people tell you who you are. Instead, show them how amazing you are as an individual. Never allow your partner to hurt you physically, emotionally or verbally. You need to be strong enough to fight back and show the other person that you will never back down no matter what happens. The moment you show to someone that you recognize your worth and that you have a high level of self-esteem; he will start to fear and respect you.
Ask For Police Help
Stop caring for someone who keeps on beating you and making you doubt about your worth as a person. The best thing to do when your spouse or boyfriend hurts you is to call the police authorities. Be sure to do it fast so that the suspect or offender can be apprehended as soon as possible. Do not think of the welfare of the assailant, especially if he will be placed into jail. Always remind yourself that bad people deserve to be in prison. It is not your sole responsibility to change his old habits. Allow the state to prosecute him and render judgment based on his acts towards you.
Save Yourself And Run Away
Unfortunately, many women choose to forgive their partners after they have been molested and abused because they think that life will improve after the latter would apologize. We hate to tell and break it to you, but the truth is that a lot of offenders will never improve their attitude after you have forgiven them. The cycle will keep on running until you choose to runway from the failed relationship or broken marriage. Do not hesitate to leave the other person if it is necessary so that you can save yourself from immense pain and suffering. “It can be difficult to re-establish a healthy routine and empower yourself after a toxic relationship. Fortunately, coming to the realization that you need to let go is one of the most difficult steps.” As Heather Edwards LMHC, NCC, BCC explains. Be strong or brave enough to walk away from something that is no longer working. Think of the long-term benefits so that you will have the courage to do it.
Seek For Professional Assistance
As already mentioned above, the bad thing about being abused is that it can affect your mental health. It is the reason why you can see people who become depressed and anxious because of a negative experience that they have. If you do not want to end up like them, it is best if you will take time to seek professional help and support. Search the best therapist, counselor or psychologist who can provide you with the right assistance that you need. Take your time in choosing the best professional to protect your interests. Because “Some individuals think that couples therapy is the answer to domestic violence; however couples therapy is not recommended while the abuse is active.” that is according to Nicole Tammelleo, LCSW-R
Domestic violence is never okay, regardless of the reason that the offender will give you. Keep in mind that you deserve a happy life – away from someone who does not care for your feelings or emotions. The moment you realize that the other person is violent, be sure to save yourself while you still can. Look for someone who will not hurt you no matter how difficult times get. You are going to achieve the best things in life as long you put your heart and mind into making it happen.
China is home to some of the most hardworking and intelligent women in the world – that is a fact. To back up this claim with statistics, a report has demonstrated that, after the United States of America and Canada in the top spot, China has the second-most number of female CEOs at 2.5%. According to the same report, “half of the world’s self-made female billionaires are from China.” Nevertheless, many of them still need to get therapy online or offline to be able to deal with the stress that society puts on them.
In a patriarchal nation, after all, women hardly get praised for their achievements. More often than not, they get comments along the lines of “You are weak,” “You do not belong in the corporate world,” or “You are better off of giving birth.” Derogatory much? Can’t a woman excel not just in the family but the business life as well?
The hotter issue concerning the Chinese women in China is the partnership that the Chinese government co-hosted the “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action” with the United Nations in 2015. This summit focused on lifting and evaporating the gender barriers that are less favorable to women in terms of legislation, job, and social norms.
As it sounds very promising, one will want to hope that all the women around the globe can no longer experience discrimination just because of their gender. It seems natural to dream as well every woman can become seen as men’s equal, not only their support system. However, the fact that five Chinese female activists had been put in jail in the same year because they chose to let the public hears their sentiments about the gender discrimination was, to say the least, ruining the moment.
A few years after the summit, can we genuinely expect equality towards women sooner than later? It will be wrong to make assumptions or conclusions at the moment, but we sure can hope the following topics can be more than touched – groped, I think, is the more appropriate word – in the next global meetings.
For centuries, everyone knows how much valuable men seem to be in China compared to women. The discrimination that the latter experience in the country starts way back when their parents have found out through ultrasound that they are indeed having a bouncing baby girl, and not an adorable baby boy, which is what most Chinese families want to have. When they realize it is not a male fetus, most parents decide to have an abortion and hope that the next time they get pregnant, it is already a boy. If the pregnancy is too far along to become terminated, they let it come to full term, but they either leave it somewhere like a stray cat or treat it very poorly.
What is up with that? Given the idea that no baby can be born without the sperm cells of a man, no baby can also get created without the egg cells of a woman. Thus, men and women should get ranked in the same way. China has banned the usage of ultrasound machines so that there will be no more discriminatory abortions that can happen in the country, but the focus should be more on prohibit the process of abortion altogether instead.
There are many successful “leftover” Chinese women, and only a few of them wish to get married someday. Some say it is because they do not want to be tied down to the small task of taking care of babies and not have the time to build their entrepreneurial career. Others refuse because they do not want to meet the same fate as their other married friends who get mattered physically, emotionally and mentally.
According to the report made by the United Nations in 2013, more than 50% of the Chinese men have disclosed that they have assaulted their wife in one way or another. It was after the publicized divorce lawsuit filed by a woman against her well-known husband that China had a law passed to protect women from domestic violence.
Work discrimination is another touchy topic. There are a lot of job opportunities in China because of the enormous factories there for cars, noodles, toys, and many other products that get sold across the globe. However, only a portion of these factories has room for women. It is as if they always hang this ‘Job Vacancy’ sign in front of the gates, but as soon as a woman comes by with a biodata on hand, they flip the sign to ‘No Vacancy.’ The justice in such a case is nowhere to be found, that is for sure.
China is a very productive country. It is home to a lot of hardworking people, even though it is only beginning to accept that its women can be as good as its men, or maybe even better. Nevertheless, the gender issue in China is apparent in a lot of countries as well. We can only wish that more global summits will lead to the creation of laws that will bring equality to everyone.
Society at large should be more accepting of men who show their emotions, their feelings, and of those men that openly seek help. The stigma against men who show their vulnerability should be eradicated. Regardless of gender, it should be okay for anyone to ask, find and eventually accept help. In a still mostly patriarchal society in which men are expected to be invincible, it could be challenging to ask for help. Gay men, on the other hand, not only experience the stigma against showing vulnerability, but receive twice as much hate because of their sexual orientation. Because of this, when they need help, they’re forced to look for therapy online.
Gay men need access to quality mental health care. Findings in a scientific study revealed that gay men are especially vulnerable to depression and suicidal tendencies. Furthermore, the study adds that the prevalence of depression among gay men is at least three times higher than the general population. Depression is a risk factor for suicide. It causes the most number of male deaths.
Gay Men In Our Society: Everyday Struggles With Mental Health
“Some people, particularly men, are more likely to externalize their depression,” says Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD. And as a part of the LGBT+ community, gay men share the struggle with the rest of their peers. They are constantly trying to live their lives being true to themselves. Though the world is a lot more accepting now than it was before acceptance for the members of the LGBT+ community was brought to attention, it doesn’t mean that everyone shares the same sentiments.
In fact, because of fear of being abandoned and not accepted by their family and friends, a lot of gay men remain closeted and have to live their lives under a veil of protection. It, of course, leads them to a cycle of self-hatred because they’re lying to themselves all this time. Self-destructive thoughts of never being good enough arise. The fear of being ostracized from society constantly remains in their mind. Because of this, and the stigma against being men and being a member of the LGBT+ community, depression may develop.
““Coming out” can be an emotionally charged time punctuated by numerous transitions and changes.” Joseph Manera, PsyD said. Some studies suggest that, although most sexual minority individuals are well adjusted, non-heterosexuals may be at somewhat heightened risk for depression, anxiety, and related problems, compared to exclusive heterosexuals
Depression, PTSD, and anxiety are among some mental illnesses gay men are susceptible to. Aside from mental health problems, gay men are also at risk with other health-related threats. Because of all these risk factors, gay men have tried seeking assistance. However, even in the industry providing health care, they still face discrimination. With nowhere to go, gay men and other members of the LGBT+ community are forced to overcome their problems, fears, and concerns alone.
How Can They Safely Ask For Help?
If traditional treatment methods aren’t readily available, you can always turn to online therapy. With online therapy, you don’t have to worry about seeing other people you know, physically driving towards the therapist’s office, adjust to a new surrounding, face possible discrimination, and a better chance at having the treatment done covertly.
Through online therapy, patients undergo the same methods done through traditional therapy, but an online medium. Therapy sessions can be done through voice or video calls. You can also do it through texts or email correspondence, and either individually or by a group. In an online setting, there are fewer risks, which is why online therapy is recommended for you. It’s safe, cheap and can be customized to fit into your mental and emotional needs.
Gay men, bi men, men, in general, are urged and encouraged to attend online counseling if they can. There’s less pressure when the online realm acts as a buffer against human interaction privy to fear, discrimination and abandonment. A licensed professional will still guide you through your journey and talk to your concerns and fears with you.
Traveling toward a healthy mind is difficult. Nicole Issa, PsyD said, “Much of the information they are exposed to is negative and harmful, and thus only reinforces the feeling of isolation.” You’d have to practice the art of self-care and to learn to be more open about yourself and to others. As a member of the LGBT+ community, revealing yourself can be tough. But to heal the past traumas you’ve developed through the years, you’ve got to learn how to let go and embrace yourself for who you are—regardless of what others may think.
Same-sex marriage has already been legalized by all fifty states in America. It is one of the greatest triumphs of the LGBT community in New York so far, and it signals toward realizing a society that is free from irrational discrimination and hate. Indeed, in no time we can achieve a utopia where each one of us is treated equally and given the same opportunity to build our own homes, where same-sex couples can establish parenting identities like any other individual. They can express their compassion and unconditional love towards the person they love regardless of sexual orientation, and build a family with them.
The idea of building a family with the love of your life is not only common for opposite-sex couples. Even lovebirds of the same sex think of it too; that’s why they consider getting married. While some find it a bit scary, others seem to want to pull the hours so that it will come fast.