I did a training recently for psychotherapists on working with LGBTQAI-identifed people. I shared the alphabet soup and asked them to define terms. Truth be told, I was pretty surprised how bad my fellow colleagues are at some of this. If LGBTQAI individuals are hurting, marginalized and coming to us for help, we need to be better at this. So, I want to share some of my quick & dirty main pointers.
Do not call us homosexuals. Like fucking ever. That word, is the cringest of cringes for me. It’s so clinical. Medicalized. It’s divisive. Don’t use it. Ever.
LGBTQAI is an acronym often referred to as the alphabet soup for all it’s different variations and can be confusing. Yes, even for us homosexuals. (That was a test, don’t use that word!) So, google it from time to time, esp if you are a healthcare provider, or work with people in some capacity. (Or live on planet earth) so that you can understand identities outside the heteronormative binary (google it).
Transgender not transgendered.
Trans POC are the most marginalized population among us. Suicide rates are out of this world. Murder rates are out of this world. If you are a healthcare provider/ therapist/ human in service and this person is in your care, DO THE MOST. I once heard a trans POC say that living past thirty years old was the most radical thing she has ever done. Wrap your mind around that. Her very existence was radical, activism.
Don’t assume you understand a person’s identify based on looking at them.
LGBTQAI people have higher than the general population of anxiety, depression, violence, self-harm, intimate partner violence, poverty and homelessness due to oppression. Again, POC have even higher rates (goggle oppression).
Being queer is trauma in a society that believes we are sick, evil, etc etc.
Being gay was once considered a disorder by the DSM. Only psychiatric patients had been studied to come to that conclusion. This is our (dark) history in the mental health field.
Biphobia is a thing. Don’t add your stigma too.
Yes, there are religious organizations that believe being gay is a sin (evil etc.) Yes, there are queer people who still practice all of the above religions. Don’t assume.
Ask for pronouns and honor them.
And, no homo.