LGBTQI2-S Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, Two-Spirit
It is not a question of right or wrong, of choice or destiny, of height, weight, race, religion, gender, or wealth. It is a question of confusion that forces some individuals into depression and sadness, often while other underlying mental illness exists.
For some who struggle each day asking themselves questions such as should I live as who I am on the outside or on the inside, how do I explain who I am to my family and friends, and where do I fit in and how do I go on, the stigma those choices may bring is a monumental part of the decision.
Mental illness can add a new level of stigma (double stigma) to one’s life that can be particularly painful and harmful, sometimes even for those who actively seek treatment. Fear of ridicule, rejection and physical violence often keeps individuals from disclosing their sexual orientation, even in therapy, which can negatively impact the outcome.
Fayette County Behavioral Health Administration (FCBHA) is working to bring awareness and compassion to the LGBT population by conducting regular trainings on the specific psychology, issues, and needs of the LGBT population with the hopes of addressing their unique needs and eliminating the stigma.
The Rainbow Heights Club of Brooklyn, New York suggests the following steps to overcome Stigma:
- Think carefully about the labels applied to people, as labels can create further isolation and discrimination.
- Don’t assume someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity; also don’t assume what their treatment needs are based on stereotypes of either LGBT people or those living with mental illness.
- Empathize and validate LGBT persons’ experiences.
- Recognize that discrimination exists for LGBT persons and can affect access to many resources.
- Work in coordination with people with mental illness rather than assuming that providers have all the answers.
If you have questions about what FCBHA is doing to promote mental health for LGBTQI2-S individuals in Fayette County, please call 724-430-1370.
Please also view our links and resources pertaining to LGBTQI2-S issues.