Why LGBTQ-friendly therapists are important for queer people
It cannot be denied that being LGBTQ+ is tough. This is especially true for those living in a conservative country such as Malaysia, where being queer is not only largely not accepted, but also brings discrimination, backlash and even the fear of state-sanctioned persecution, such as jail time, and whipping.
According to Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF), LGBTQ teens are more likely to suffer from depression, compared to their heterosexual peers . They are also more than twice likely to face suicidal thoughts, especially if they are bisexual. A study states that a third of transgender youth have seriously considered committing suicide, with one in five of them having made such an attempt. Meanwhile, in the U.S, around 25% of LGBTQ people suffer from alcoholism .
Queer people also face issues such as coming out of the closet, and are more likely to face discrimination, rejection and isolation. Experts call these community-specific problems “minority stress”. And of course, queer people also face everyday problems that their heteronormative peers also face, such as money and relationship problems, and issues with friends and colleagues, for example.
Combined together, all of these make the problems seem insurmountable.
So why seek an LGBTQ-friendly therapist?
Most of us have heard of conversion therapy. This is a type of therapy that aims to “convert” LGBTQ people into being straight or cis gender. Not only does this form of therapy do not work, it is also harmful, as it believes that LGBTQ people need to be fixed. Conversion therapy can inflict long-lasting trauma.
This is why seeing LGBTQ-friendly therapists is the right choice instead. For example, these therapists can help their clients handle feelings of shame of being queer, and assure them that being queer is not sinful or something to be embarrassed about. The therapists can also help their clients come out of the closet if that is what their clients wish. LGBTQ-friendly therapists can also pin-point their clients to LGBTQ-friendly resources, such as LGBTQ-friendly jobs as well as other LGBTQ-friendly health professionals.
If this is your first time seeing a therapist, or your first time revealing your sexuality or gender identity to a professional, we know that it can be a daunting experience.
After all, you will be revealing your thoughts and feelings and showing your vulnerability to someone you do not know. But rest assured that LGBTQ-friendly therapists offer their service in an understanding and non-judgmental space, in a way that is based on mutual trust, respect and kindness. They offer professional perspective to problems faced by the queer community without prejudice or stigma. With their help, you can lead a better, happier, healthier and more authentic life.