The acronym LGBTQIA is an expansion of the previously used LGBT, which was broadened to encompass a more diversified group of individuals. Some individuals argue that the practice of grouping individuals who are neither heterosexual nor cisgendered under the acronym LGBTQ may not accurately represent their particular sexual orientation or identity, and is itself an exclusionary act. The acronym LGBTQIA represents those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual.
People’s gender and identity, orientation, and expression rarely contribute to distress. Unfortunately, members of multiple societies stigmatize and even physically and emotionally harm people who identify LGBTQIA or any other sexual orientation or gender identity.
Finding a qualified mental health professional who understands and can be an advocate in addressing the challenges members of the LGBTQIA community often face, is critical to successful therapy outcomes.
Issues Faced by LGBTQIA People
At first glance, therapy for someone who identifies as LGBTQIA may seem the same as for others who do not. Everyone is susceptible to the same anxieties, stressors, depression, family tension, and all those other emotional and mental health concerns that are sometimes a difficult part of being human. Sexual and gender identities are just two of the many lenses through which LGBTQIA persons experience life. Those lenses however, are very influential on a person’s life, and they shape an individual’s understanding of self and the world through which one navigates. Being a member of the LGBTQIA community is not one’s only identity. Yet it is a very important and influential facet, and one that a counselor must fully understand to be most effective in supporting members of this community.
Despite rapidly growing cultural acceptance of diverse sexual and romantic orientations and gender identifications, oppression, discrimination, and marginalization of LGBTQ people persists. Coping with discrimination and oppression, coming out to one’s family, and sorting out an “authentic” sense of self in the face of social expectations and pressures can lead to higher levels of depression, anxiety, substance use, and other mental health concerns for LGBTQ people.
Research shows that youth who identify as LGBTQIA are at an increased risk of suicidal ideation and self-harm, particularly when they also experience discrimination based on their sexual or gender identity. Surveys have shown that students who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender were almost ten times as likely to have experienced bullying and victimization at school and more than twice as likely to have considered suicide as their heterosexual, non-transgender classmates within the previous year.
Discrimination may take several forms, including social rejection, verbal and physical bullying, and sexual assault. Repeated episodes of these experiences often lead to chronic stress and diminished mental health. Perceived discrimination and the expectation of discrimination, may also lead to diminished mental health. LGBTQIA adults, too, may be subject to similar forms of harassment, as well as discrimination with regards to housing, employment, education, and basic human rights.
Intimate partner violence occurs within LGBT families. However, research shows that victims rarely use services in the general community, because of discrimination or perceived discrimination.
What we provide to our LGBTQIA Clients/Patients
Although many clinicians may be qualified to help, sometimes LGBTQIA clients feel more comfortable with trained and experienced, professionals who are devoted to working with stress and other difficulties different societies inflict on people within and outside LGBTQIA communities. professionals at at MentalVerdure.com are trained and dedicated provide you with the help you need. Our staff has decades of experience addressing the needs of people who identify as being part of LGBTQIA communities as well as other individuals who might not. MentalVerdure.com goes beyond promises of acceptance to provide competent and affirming services to people who identify as part of LGBTQIA communities and those who might not. This work is an intentional and integral part of our practice.