Society’s expectations of how you should define or label yourself doesn’t seem to fit. While others seem confident in their bodies, perhaps you feel uncomfortable in yours or maybe even disgusted. Have you had overwhelming thoughts about coming out to family members or friends, fearing their reactions? Maybe you are still confused and are trying to identify your sexuality.
What does it mean to struggle
with gender or sexuality?
Despite rapidly growing cultural acceptance of diverse sexual and romantic orientations and gender identifications, oppression, discrimination, and marginalization of LGBTQ people persists.
Coping with discrimination and oppression, coming out to one’s family, and sorting out an “authentic” sense of self in the face of social expectations and pressures can lead to higher levels of depression, anxiety, substance use, and other mental health concerns for LGBTQ people.
Research shows that youth who identify as LGBTQ are at an increased risk of suicidal ideation and self-harm, particularly when they also experience discrimination based on their sexual or gender identity.
According to a 2007 survey, students who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender were almost ten times as likely to have experienced bullying and victimization at school and more than twice as likely to have considered suicide as their heterosexual, non-transgender classmates within the previous year.
If you are a member of the LGBTQ community and are facing mental health challenges, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Our therapists will honor your reality and your experiences and help guide you towards feeling more at peace with who you are.
Symptoms will vary
but may include:
- Gender dysphoria (distress caused by feeling your true gender does not fit with your physical body)
- Disgust with your body
- Feeling like you don’t fully identify with either male or female gender identities
- Guilt or shame
- Low self-worth
- Feeling you are different than others or don’t belong
- Suicidal thoughts, self-harm or suicidal attempts
Possible signs of gender dysphoria in children/teens:
- They feel strongly that their gender identity differs from the sex they were given at birth or tell you that they feel unsure about their gender
- They ask you to call them by a different name and use a different pronoun like ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’
- They want to get rid of the physical signs of their sex or have those of a different sex – for example, your child might say they want to use medication to become more masculine or feminine, or they might start wearing clothes that hide their body
- Showing signs of teenage anxiety, especially in social situations
- Showing signs of depression – for example, not wanting to take part in activities, particularly activities that are gendered, like sport
There is no set timeline of when or if ever you need to figure out your sexuality or gender questions. Our therapists will work with you in a nonjudgmental and safe space to discover your gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.