A friend of mine once said coming out feels like you are a train. At first, you are riding down a perfectly straight track, and you know the destination: A spouse of a different gender, kids, a job, a house. But something doesn’t feel right, a whisper or a shout that this track isn’t the one for you. Coming out is wrenching yourself off this track — your wheels grating and sparking as you pull them from the metal grid — and setting yourself on a different path. You may be scared or may be told it’s wrong, but eventually — with luck, love, and support from a beautiful community — you can turn this feeling of upheaval into a life. Continue reading 7 Mental Health Resources for LGBTQ Teens
While increased visibility may lead one to believe that these are newly formed identities, LGBTQ folks have existed throughout history, contributing mightily in all areas of our culture. Think of Oscar Wilde’s contribution to literature and the technological advances from Alan Turing. And just as perceptions and acceptance of LGBTQ communities — and the language we use to describe them — has evolved over time, so has the relationship between the mental health community and LGBTQ people. Continue reading The History of the LGBTQ Community and Mental Health Treatment
Raising a child is not an easy process. It requires a lot of dedication and sacrifice. Parenthood is filled with great expectations for one’s child, and often requires a lot of hard work and support. This is wonderfully captured in a quote by journalist Maria Shriver:
“Having kids — the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings — is the biggest job anyone can embark on. As with any risk, you have to take a leap of faith and ask lots of wonderful people for their help and guidance. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to parent.”
While parenting can be one of the most rewarding parts of the human experience, it can also be a challenge. Many parents face obstacles such as economic concerns and emotional barriers while trying to do their best to raise happy, healthy future adults. Continue reading My Child is Trans, How Can I Best Support Them?
If I had a dollar for every time a straight man has asked me how women have sex with each other — no really, how?? — I would be a wealthy woman. Alas, as I write this article I am not a wealthy woman, but I am a woman who has talked a lot of straight people through the ins and outs of queer identity.
While these questions can be invasive, even downright offensive, I’m a gender and sexuality writer. Answering questions about LGBTQ experience is kind of my job. But no one (including professional feminists) should be objectified because of their sexual identity, and queer people shouldn’t have to give a sex-ed lesson or reveal intimate details of their lives in the course of normal conversations. Continue reading How to Support (Not Sexualize) Your LGBTQ+ Friends
Coming out is the process of acknowledging both internally and socially that you are LGBTQ.
Unfortunately, we live in a world in which “coming out” is still demanded of LGBTQ folks, as heterosexuality is seen as the default (read: normal) sexuality. As a result, we often push people to come out, especially publicly.
Let’s explore some of the nuances of coming out, and how this important step in an LGBTQ individual’s life can be both beneficial and challenging.
When trans women of color led the way in the Stonewall Riots of 1969, Pride was born. It was a movement against police harassment and to claim space for a marginalized community. By fighting back, members of New York City’s queer community signaled they would not be pushed into the shadows anymore.
The Stonewall Riots are part of a decades-long campaign for LGBTQ visibility, inspired by the belief that accepting and celebrating ourselves and our community — even when society won’t accept or celebrate us — is a radical act. The courage to come out transformed LGBTQ people’s status in society, and in the face of continued discrimination, it remains a powerful weapon to guard one of our most powerful resources: our mental health.
As rainbow streamers fill the air and LGBTQ representation fills the streets, June is a time to celebrate LGBTQ identity and the contributions of the queer movement. Pride is a joyful time for the LGBTQ community and allies alike. It’s also a time to reaffirm our commitment to creating a more equal world. That’s why this Pride, we invite allies and supporters of the LGBTQ community — which should be everyone! — to show up for the mental health and wellbeing of their LGBTQ loved ones and the community at large.
I was staying at my parents house for a summer internship before my senior year of college. It was an especially hot summer in LA, and I remember when I woke up that morning I couldn’t tell if what I was experiencing was a fever or if I had just forgotten what a real SoCal summer felt like. I remember sitting down on the toilet, looking between my legs and seeing blood. I remember thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
After one visit to my family doctor and then another to a specialist, I learned the man I had slept with the night before had left me with not one, but two treasures to remember him by: internal hemorrhoids with abrasions (the blood) and herpes (the fever). When I called to tell him, he didn’t answer. When I went to find him on the gay hook-up app where I had met him, his profile had disappeared. When I Googled his name and the hospital where he purported to work as a physician, I found nothing.
That’s the man who raped me. I don’t remember the name he gave me and I’m almost certain it was a lie, so let’s call him John R. Smith. The “R” stands for rapist.
Beginning your first year of college can inspire several emotions. From the first day of classes to finding your place in a sea of new faces, entering a university can be extremely exciting or exceptionally stressful. This can be an even more difficult transition when you are entering college as someone who openly identifies as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) and needs support navigating your academic journey.
Whether it’s finding the right academic club or LGBTQ+ resource that can aid in the transition from high school, being LGBTQ+ and new on a college campus can be fraught with troubles. For some students, the first question that comes to mind might be how inviting the college campus is or how truly accessible these LGBTQ+ resources are. This concern often leads to conversations around the need for queer students to be informed of what programs and services their campus offers when speaking specifically about mental health and wellness. Continue reading A Guide to College Mental Health for LGBTQ Students
Adam was assigned a female gender at birth, but from an early age he did not feel comfortable identifying as female. Like many transgender people who struggle with mental health issues, the pressure of society’s gender norms caused stress and confusion.
Coming out as transgender is a challenge for anyone, but it was especially difficult for Adam. He grew up in a small, close knit town with one high school. His uncle was also his landlord, an example of how his environment could be suffocating at times.
At the age of 15, Adam came out as transgender and began identifying as a man. With the exception of his father, no one in his family or community supported him. Peers mercilessly bullied and ridiculed him until he dropped out of high school. Then the final blow hit: Because of his decision, his uncle, the landlord, refused to provide him a residence. Continue reading Transgender Mental Health Issues: The Challenges of a Binary World