Identity Series: Pride Edition

Welcome to my identity series, where we explore the many different facets of identity. Identity can be confusing, as there are a lot of moving parts, but I hope to break it down a little so that we can all get to know ourselves a little bit better and experience feeling comfortable in our own skin. We will be honoring Pride Month by discussing several potential concerns that the LGBTQ+ community faces. 

LGBTQ+ Basics

We are starting off with gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information on the basics of the LGBTQ+ and mental health, please visit https://mhanational.org/issues/lgbtq-communities-and-mental-health for definitions, demographics, and resources. Fellow counselor Katie has also written a blog related to this topic, if you’d like to check it out (Celebrate Pride Month)! As it relates to identity, gender and sexual orientation can come with a lot of stigma if one falls outside of the cisgender heteronormative umbrella in some way. This can lead to experiencing offensive comments, discrimination, and even violence. Although social stigma for queer individuals is decreasing over time, there are still many areas of improvement, including experiencing safety in all parts of the world, better government protections, and acceptance by others. 

Acceptance and Safety

While gender identity and sexual orientation can play a small or large role in one’s life, depending on who you are, it is an important piece of identity that can have an impact on how we feel about ourselves overall. One huge part of identity that we will continue discussing is acceptance–by yourself and others. Whether you are “out” or not can affect how much others accept you, which is an unfortunate reality of our world today, but it can also affect how much we are truly accepting ourselves. 

Either way, your disclosure of that piece of information to others should be completely your decision. Take into consideration your safety, comfort, and willingness to disclose to another person when you feel ready. While it may be nerve-racking to do so, it may be a crucial part of your identity and self-acceptance journey. But again, I want to emphasize safety. Please choose a safe person in your life to disclose to, as your safety is of utmost importance. Ultimately, though, support from others can be hugely beneficial for those struggling with aspects of their identity.

Questioning?

Others may not know if we even identify as LGBTQ+ yet. It can be really difficult to be in a position where we are questioning our sexuality or gender identity in any stage of life. Many teenagers especially will experience this uncertainty. You are not alone. It is important to emphasize that being a part of the LGBTQ+ community is not a mental illness in itself, while also bringing awareness to the risks associated with identifying as LGBTQ+. If you identify as part of the community, these risks can include higher rates of depression and suicidality. Tx Harmony Counseling is an LGBTQ+ friendly counseling center, where you will experience acceptance, nonjudgment, and a safe environment to be yourself. If you are struggling with mental health issues, please reach out! You can give us a call at 832-352-1600 or contact us HERE. We are happy to help! Happy Pride Month!

Priscilla Buentello, LPC Associate

Priscilla Buentello, LPC Associate

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