Millennial issues for LGBT therapy
As long as there’s discrimination, LGBT therapy for psychological problems will always exist. The thing is, the problems LGBT faced in the past have been changing through the years.
Our older brother and sisters seek LGBT therapy for reasons that concern the dictates of their times: being classified as a mentally ill, fear of coming out of the closet, solely seeking partners in gay and lesbian bars, and complete unacceptance of transgender tendencies, whether at home or at work.
The millennials have it different, yet they still experience discrimination in some way and still have to seek some help via LGBT therapy.
For example, according to a 2011 survey, there’s a 40 percent ratio of millennial transgender people who try to kill themselves.
Handling LGBT therapy in the new millennium
If prior to the 1970s, same-sex feelings were dealt as a mental illness, this time there should be different ways of handling LGBT therapy.
It’s not enough for a young LGBT to seek counselling when dealing with issues. In this era, a therapist who deals exclusively with LGBT is what is needed.
For example, a heterosexual person may have different issues when faced with depression from a bad breakup.
For an LGBT person, depression from a failed relationship can be compounded by feeling of unworthiness because of his or her sexual orientation.
In 2011, the American Psychiatric Association gave out guidelines to therapists on how to support LGBT clients with their same-sex feelings.
LGBT therapy and acknowledging the queer identity
The Generation gap is one of the issues millennials face when seeking LGBT therapy. For one, their identification towards queer rather than LGBT is one big factor for them, which not a lot of therapists may understand.
The millennial queer rejects the idea of LGBT and consider it as being old, rigid, and antiquated. Queer identity has a whole plethora of rules they prefer.
“In the generation before mine, if you went to a lesbian bar and didn’t identify as either butch or femme, they’d think you were an imposter,” Esther D. Rothblum, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Vermont said.
“Now young lesbians are just as likely to say they feel butch one day and femme the next,” Rothblum said.
LGBT therapy and coming out to parents
It may or may not be easier to come out to parents nowadays, though today’s LGBT-friendly culture has made parents more open of their kids’ sexuality.
Still, there’s such a thing as post-coming out problems. This occurs when the acceptance of the parents are iffy, to say the least.
“Parents tend to display a sort of limited tolerance for their ‘queer’ kids– what I call tolerance without equality,” Marny Hall, PhD, a psychotherapist and researcher in the San Francisco Bay area said.
“The clients I see are constantly confronted with issues like this,” Hall said.
The gray areas of what they can or cannot do causes inner conflict within an LGBT youth.
LGBT therapy and sexual fluidity
Sexual fluidity is one category the queer-identified youth are pushing for.
Most of the millennials seeking LGBT therapy refuse to put a label on their sexuality, or decide on a label only to take this back when they develop feelings for other sex.
For those who refuse to identify with one gender, this is called lingering.
“There are no more givens about gender identity. Young people don’t take sexual identity for granted,” Hall said.
On the other hand, those who come out as lesbian are having trouble when they get into a relationship with a man. Backlash from the community is akin to societal discrimination.
In the coming years, we’ll continue seeing different types of issues rise as generations and discrimination change.