Since time immemorial, back from the days quoted in religious texts, particular things have been viewed as acceptable’. These things are held as societal norms’ and everyone is expected to adhere to them. Where they came from is anyone’s guess.
The word LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. It has been used since the late 1980s when it replaced the term gay in everyday use. Despite being in existence for a couple of decades, the acceptance of LGBT across the globe is still in its initial stages. In fact, it is only in a few places like the United States, Brazil and some parts of Europe where the law recognizes the LGBT community. Even so, the law does not prescribe how individuals feel towards the LGBT community. Many people are still firmly perched in their cocoons and see LGBT as a diversion from the typically acceptable norms’. As you would expect, this view has had a great impact on members of the LGBT community. For some, it has determined how they go about their daily lives. Coming out has not been as easy as you would expect.
Why do people judge the LGBT community?
This is the million dollar question one would presume. The honest truth is that people prefer to stick to things they are familiar with. For the longest time ever, divorce was unheard of. Once two people were wedded in holy matrimony, they were expected to see life out together, in sickness and in health, during the good and the bad times as is often said when wedding vows are exchanged. It is only a wide outcry that the law was amended to recognize divorce and it subsequently gained both popularity and acceptance in society. LGBT, much as it is not a new concept, is foreign to most people. Members of the LGBT community largely go about their lives quietly.
The state of affairs described above is not as encouraging. Sadly though, it is nothing but the harsh truth. The state of affairs has, as you would expect, played its hand and affected the coming out of members of the LGBT community. Especially in cultures and countries where LGBT is not recognized by the law, it takes a lot of guts to openly admit one’s sexual orientation as that usually opens one up to vilification and judgment. Often, members of the LGBT community have to deal with discrimination, substance abuse, oppression, anxiety, depression and mental health concerns such as self-harm and suicide. All these usually come right when someone is coming to terms with trying to find an authentic sense of self amidst all the societal pressures and expectations.
Embrace being part of the LGBT community
The quickest way to deal with the challenges listed above is to make peace with them. Social rejection, for example, is not the end of the world. That does not take away from the fact that it is unpleasant to deal with. It typically takes different forms and whether it is sexual assault or bullying, it will, almost always getting you thinking twice about your sexual orientation. You need to be able to come to terms with the fact that some of the people you will interact with will not be supportive of your LGBT status and that is OK. If anything, seldom do we ever have things that are unanimously accepted by everyone. That is simply the nature of today’s society, it has been so and will probably remain the case for the longest time ever.
There is a way to deal with all the things mentioned above true to the adage: a problem half shared is a problem half solved. Almost any therapist would work for an LGBT. However, it is advisable to see an LGBT therapist. They are more qualified to deal with LGBT issues and have a better understanding. Mind Space Counseling, based in Manchester, provides such professional counselling and psychotherapy services. Though services like that of Mind Space may not be available in every community, it is possible to find them online through long distance counselling usually done via phone or over the internet.
LGBT counsellors help clients deal with issues such as the stresses of coming out, anxiety, gender identity, trauma, isolation, biphobia, discrimination, and homophobia among others. Though the recent sociocultural shifts have made it easier for members of the LGBT community to live fuller lives, it will take some time for the society to fully integrate LGBT and until it does, the issues mentioned above are here to stay. Your best bet is to find a way to deal with them, a way that does not infringe on freedoms. Discrimination and stigma will most likely persist on and that is not at all absurd. If anything, even communities that have been in existence for the longest time such as Christians still face the same. So I guess it is simply a way for the society to react to things they do not fully comprehend or agree with.
Counselling does not run away from the realities of life and from the fact that there will be some challenges in the life of an LGBT. However, it goes a step further and helps LGBT navigate through these challenges wisely. As resilient as one can be, you can only take so much and if you do not seek help, there is a possibility you may get overwhelmed by the social stigma and persistent discrimination. The reason why LGBT are largely stressed is the social stigma they go through.
It is important to remember that for most LGBT, the process of coming out will be gradual and will likely take place in stages. Usually, it begins with family, then maybe friends and colleagues next and the cycle continues. Coming out to each member of your inner circle takes courage and requires that you be ready for any sort of reaction: they can accept or reject your orientation and that is OK. Counselling will simply make the whole experience more bearable with room to seek advice and vent out frustrations quite synonymous with such situations.
It is OK to be undecided or confused about sexual orientation. LGBT counselling is a good way to clarify such a situation, address any concerns you may have and get you to decide where you are most comfortable.