Being an Ally: The Personal Level
If a friend, family member, or any other close person in your life confides in you that they identify as something within the LGBTQ community, it’s important that you respect them by being a good friend. Remember that they are more than likely struggling. They were probably extremely nervous to tell you, but they probably trust you. This makes it crucial to be there for them as much as possible, as they are going through a very fragile and tumultuous journey of self-realization and acceptance. Here are some tips on what to do to help a loved one who has come out to you:
Resources for LGBTQ Youth
The LGBTQ community is already a marginalized demographic. But the stress, stigma, and harassment are even worse for younger people within the community, than let’s say, the stigma of growing up without parents and in an institution such as here. In fact, in LGBTQ individuals from the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. LGBTQ youth are also twice as more likely to be physically assaulted in some way for their sexuality or gender identity. Fortunately, this vulnerable demographic has many resources to give individuals love, support, and opportunities to succeed. Here are some of the most helpful and well-known resources for LGBTQ youth:
Important Events: A Comprehensive Time
The LGBTQ+ community has gone through a tremendous amount of pain, but there have also been some victories along the way. Although the fight for equality is far from over, there have been some strides in addition to the setbacks. Here are some of the crucial events that have paved the road to present day:
- 1930-1940: During the Holocaust and Hitler’s reign, countless homosexuals were taken to concentration camps. They were branded by a pink triangle that was upside down to represent their unacceptable sexual habits.
- 1945: The first female to male sex change took place in Britain on Michael Dillon.
- 1948: Alfred Kinsey published the book “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male”, which revealed just how common homosexuality really is. Kinsey also created the Kinsey Scale, a revolutionary tool used to describe someone’s sexuality on a scale from completely heterosexual to completely homosexual.
- 1952: The American Psychiatric Association released its first list of mental disorders and illnesses, including homosexuality. In the diagnostic manual, homosexuality is described as a “sociopathic personality disturbance”.
- 1953: President Eisenhower banned homosexuals from working for the government, reasoning that they are a security threat and shouldn’t work for the federal government if they engage in what he calls “sexual perversion”.
- 1956: Evelyn Hooker approached the American Psychological Association after researching the differences between heterosexual and homosexual men in regards to their mental health. Her results showed that there were no differences in the mental stability when the two were compared.
- 1962: Illinois decriminalized homosexuality and homosexual acts (as long as it is consensual and in private), being the first state to do so.
There are countless different sexual identities and sexualities, which usually defines what gender or genders a person is attracted to. There are also different terms that define a person within the LGBTQ+ community. Although it is often called LGBT, LGBTQ+ is more inclusive to the many different sexualities that aren’t defined by just an acronym. These definitions include, but are not limited to:
- Lesbian: a woman who is physically and romantically attracted to women. (note: some lesbians may also define themselves as “gay”
- Gay: a person who is physically and romantically attracted to their same gender, though it’s usually used to describe men
- Bisexual: a person who is attracted to more than one sex (note: although it has typically been thought that bisexual people are attracted to both men and women, gender has proven that it isn’t restricted to just men and women, so this definition has been proven to be more appropriate)
- Asexual: a person who usually feels no sexual attraction and has little to no desire to have a sexual relationship (note: there are some asexuals that do have sex, as there are many different subsets of asexuality, but this is the most common definition)
- Queer: used as an umbrella term for LGBTQ+ and is used to define anyone who has a fluid gender identity or sexual orientation. Sometimes used interchangeably with the term LGBTQ+ (note: it’s important to remember that there has been a history of controversiality with this word. Do not use it to describe someone if they haven’t expressed that they accept the term, as it can be offensive to some individuals)
- Pansexual: a person who is attracted to all gender possibilities, and often are more interested in the personality than the gender. Some use it interchangeably with bisexuality, but it more accurately is focused on looking farther than gender
- Kinsey Scale: a scale created by Alfred Kinsey to define one’s sexuality on a scale of one to six. One is completely heterosexual and six is completely homosexual, making it a useful tool for bisexuality and sexual preference.
- Closeted: describes a person who isn’t open about their sexuality
- Coming Out: the process of understanding and accepting one’s self and eventually, if desired, telling others about their sexuality or gender
Understanding the Pros and Cons
Like any other major decisions, coming out should be preceded by acknowledging both the positive and the negative outcomes. It’s important to remember that with each person that you tell, there will be a different reaction. However, it’s up to you to determine whether or not you are in a safe, accepting environment. Your circumstances will warrant the best and most positive possible outcomes. With that being said, here are all of the positive outcomes of coming out to your family and friends:
- being able to be open and honest about your true self
- lifting the stress of having to hide your identity
- being able to openly be a part of the LGBTQ community and making friends who can relate to you
- creating stronger and more honest relationships by diminishing secrets about your life
- becoming a role model and example for younger LGBTQ individuals and for other people who are also in the closet
Some people are more comfortable and feel safe using the apps installed on their mobile phones and tablets in finding and dating other persons. Dating apps have proven this efficiency and improving the sociability of LGBT persons in connecting, communicating or creating a deeper relationship with same or opposite partners. This article will introduce you to the Top 5 dating apps in the market and will give you some helpful tips in meeting more persons or looking for love.
So, let’s begin. Of course, you will need to have a smartphone powered by Android or iOS system. There are some applications that only work on the iOS and/or Android alone. But the good news is, there are also apps that are compatible with both systems. I suggest that you should look for those types of dating applications that are workable in either type of mobile units.
Next, make sure that you have a good internet connection or mobile data service. Most of these dating applications operate or are only accessible when your phone is connected to wifi or mobile data service. Without internet connectivity, the apps are just mere icons on your phone.
It has been twenty years ago when Ellen Degeneres publicly announced in her self-titled sit-com Ellen that she’s gay. This was seconded when she officially guested at The Ophrah Winfrey show. It created a media frenzy and mixed emotions from the public on whether to support or reject this self-confession. To some, Ellen’s coming out served as an inspiration and they also followed steps towards self-liberation.
Nonetheless, despite this radical move and the openness of the LGBTQ nowadays, there are still teens and even adults who are afraid to admit about their real identity. Why so? Let’s discuss in this article…
Overview: The Basics
The LGBTQ community as a whole is drastically more susceptible to mental illnesses and disorders when compared to other demographics. This higher vulnerability can be directly linked to prejudice, lack of support, and discrimination against the community. Often referred to as “minority stress,” LGBTQ individuals find it difficult to cope with the stigma and harassment that target them. In addition, they also have to deal with the stress of understanding their identity and the general stigma surrounding mental health disorders.
On top of this, individuals often have great difficulty seeking help, especially if their sexuality or gender identity is not in public knowledge. As Sal Raichbach, PsyD emphasizes, “Sadly, only a small percentage of people actively seek professional help for their mental health problems.” There is a great fear of being discriminated against or ridiculed when attempting to find support from family, friends, and even the health care industry.
Health care providers have a history of being unwilling, unhelpful, or unequipped when it comes to treating LGBTQ individuals that have some kind of mental health issue. Transgender and transsexual people have reported quite a lot of disparity within the health care industry. Since their gender and sex may not match up, or their physical appearance may not reflect their gender identity, doctors and health care professionals have difficulty treating them. They are also much more susceptible to unhelpful or unwilling mental health care.
Of course, this gap in modern health care is nothing compared to the history of the relationship of mental health and LGBTQ. As recent as 1950, homosexuality, bisexuality, and other sexualities were considered to be a mental illness in itself. Because of this, it was common for individuals in the 1950’s and 60’s to have been given unwanted, harsh treatments. Common treatments of this time included electroshock therapy, aversion therapy, and hospitalization. (more…)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teenagers or LGBT are at a higher risk to get bullied compared to straight teenagers — be it in their school, community, or the internet. Statistics show that LGBT youth experiences more violence like bullying, humiliation, harassment, and physical assaults in their lifetime. As a result of this, it drives them into such unfortunate incidents like drugs and the like, and can fall into different types of addiction, food, drugs, and more.
What should be the appropriate action whenever teenagers are being bullied? How can parents support their children in this manner? Fortunately, there are places that offer counseling and behavioral therapy, provide help with addiction, and other related issues. This indeed will be a great help to parents going through this problem with their children.
Let’s discuss the answers to these questions by reviewing different literature pertaining to the issue.
Today, sexual identity is a common problem among teens. You wonder if your child could ever have that kind of problem. You know that your kids listen to music about gays, see movies about gays, and watch comedy television shows about the gay lifestyle. “For sure” you tell yourself, “this would never happen to my son and daughter.” If it does and you have no idea how to cope, contact a professional for advice through free online counseling.
“Online therapy is also known as teletherapy, online counseling, distance therapy, internet therapy, e-therapy, telehealth, telebehavioral health, email therapy, text therapy, phone counseling.” –Sena Moran, LMHC
You would like to get someone else’s ideas about this, but it’s not something you feel comfortable bringing up, especially at church. You hope that the church youth minister and Bible study teachers will teach the kids what the Bible says.
“Therapy gives you permission to allow you to feel the pain and know that it’s valid.” Carmen Gehrke, LMHC said. But as you try to reassure yourself, you can’t help but be concerned. You might even want to ask your teen if sexuality is a problem or if they have ever been attracted to the same sex. But you don’t know how to approach such a topic.
Sometimes, teens have doubts and need to talk to an adult or to an online counseling professional. But most will be afraid to approach the subject with an adult. Instead, they may talk among themselves and may get inaccurate information.