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Happy Pride Month!

Updated: Jul 31, 2020


This month, in honor of Pride Month, I will be writing a series on the LGBTTQQIAP (or LGBTQ) community in reference to mental health. We will go over the history of oppression in mental health, some facts about the community and their mental health, current issues that still affect the community in America, and last, but not least what we can all do to help the community as Allies!


I have not dealt with their hardships, I have not felt their pain, and I am not fighting their battle.

Today, we will discuss what the community is. If you are reading this and you are not part of this community, the big acronym and your lack of first-hand knowledge may leave you confused and cautious when discussing such a topic. If you're like me, you are an ally who wants to help and understand, but has no idea where to start. I am by NO MEANS an expert on the LGBTQ community. I have not dealt with their hardships, I have not felt their pain, and I am not fighting their battle. I am an ally who has family, friends, and loved ones in the community. I am also a counselor and mental health professional who has an obligation and a calling to advocate for the equality, awareness, and ethical mental health treatment of those in the community.


As a mental health professional and ally, I have an obligation and a calling to advocate for the equality, awareness, and ethical mental health treatment of those in the community.

Who are LGBTTQQIAAP?

  • Lesbian - women who love women romantically and/or sexually

  • Gay - men who love men romantically and/or sexually

  • Bisexual - people who love both men and women romantically and sexually

  • Transgender - people who identify as a gender that their body does not reflect

  • Transsexual - similar to transgender, but a person who desires to transition to the opposite sex to reflect their identity

  • Queer - an umbrella term for sexual or gender minorities who are not heterosexual or cisgender (identify as their biological sex)

  • Questioning - someone who is unsure of their sexuality or gender identity

  • Intersex - people born with variations in sex characteristics: do not fit the definition of "male" or "female" bodies

  • Asexual - not to be confused with biological asexual reproduction, asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others or low/absent desire for sexual activity. This does NOT mean that the person has to or does abstain from sex altogether.

  • Ally - Cisgender and heterosexual people who advocate for and support the equality, inclusion, and fight against oppression of the community.

  • Pansexual - also known as "ombisexuality", sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction toward people regardless of their gender identity. This is not the same as bisexuality which is the attraction to both males and females, this is attraction regardless of gender.

This seems like a lot to take in, but it's not even a full list. There are many different types of people in this world and one acronym cannot explain or list everyone who does not identify as cisgendered and heterosexual. Below are some other identities or sexualities (although NOT all) that may help you to better understand the community.

  • Agender - A person with little-to-no connection to either side of traditional gender norms

  • Androgyny - A gender expression that is both masculine and feminine

  • Androsexual - Sexual, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to men, males, and/or masculinity

  • Aromantic - Experiencing little-to-no romantic attraction others - not specifically sexual as asexual explains

  • Bicurious - A curiosity toward attraction to both people of opposite and same gender/sex

  • Bigender - A person who fluctuates between both traditional "woman" and "man" identities

  • Closeted - A person in the community who is not cisgender and heterosexual, but passes as such and has not told anyone their true or questioning identity.

  • Demiromantic - little or no romantic attraction until a strong sexual connection is formed

  • Demisexual - little or no sexual attraction until a strong romantic connection is formed

  • Gender-fluid - a dynamic mix of masculine and feminine or male and female gender identity

  • Fluid sexuality - sexuality that may change over time

  • Gender non-conforming - Gender identity that does not conform to either male or female, but a separate identity altogether

  • Polyamorous - the ability to have consensual non-monogamous relationships which typically involve more than one partner

A person is a person is a person.

How to Interact and Understand as an Ally

As allies, we cannot bare the same weight that this community bares. We also cannot take their pain. What we can do is attempt to understand to our full capability the differences, preferences, and validity of the community as individuals. We mustn't assume that a person is a certain way because of their gender or sexual identity. We should never assume a pronoun unless we have been given one from the individual themselves. I've found that most people in the community do not get upset at an assumption as long as it is immediately corrected and that person is respected. These are not new identities or ideas. These identities have been around for hundreds of years. There have been societies that accepted them, and there have been societies, like ours, who have oppressed them, punished them, and even killed them for who they are. Mental health over the years has been one of the oppressors of the community along with religion and the society as a whole. Our job as allies is to stop the oppression, increase awareness, and be inclusive without question or judgment. A person is a person is a person. We all deserve love and respect.


I know that I have left something out. I won't attempt to pretend that I can properly represent all of the different unique identities that exist. As an advocate, I am attempting to bring awareness and understanding to the general population.

With that confession, I ask anyone reading this to please comment or email me if you have a correction, suggestion, or question that could help me bring awareness and understanding!

faith.stevens@fourpillarscounseling.com


-Faith

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