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we are With You

PRIDE month is a time for celebration and reflection

As an IAPT clinician and a member of the LGBTQ+ community I’m honoured to have used my experiences to support others

Photo by Eduardo Pastor on Unsplash

By AJ, With You IAPT clinician

I look forward to June as it is the start of summer and longer days, but also because it’s Pride month. Celebrating the LGBTQ+ community as well as inclusion, and diversity, it’s falls in June because that’s the month in 1969 when the famous Stonewall riots occurred that led to wider changes in gay rights in America and across the world.

Our sexuality is woven into our being, culture, and society, and affects our interactions on a daily basis. How many times have you asked someone if they’re married or have a partner? This could be an uncomfortable question for some not from a dominant sexuality in their culture or social grouping.

I was uncomfortable with my sexuality when younger and still have an inherent discomfort in me which is a legacy from internalised discrimination that I witnessed and experienced. I was led to believe that being bisexual is a ‘phase’ and was told that I would ‘grow out of it’. Have you ever grown out of a part of your core being? Have you grown out of your arms or your head?

Bisexuality is often an overlooked sexuality of the LGBTQ+ community, and there are limited support groups and resources. Growing up I remember feeling ‘other’ around gay, lesbian, transexual, and hetreosexual groups. This is something that I have witnessed in my career delivering NHS talking therapies (also known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies or IAPT) and as a counsellor in the charitable sector. I have worked with bisexual clients and members of their family and have been honoured to use my experiences to understand and validate theirs.

My experience is also shared by other members of the LGBTQ+ community including those that fit into the ‘plus’ category such as asexual, nonbinary, and intersex. The same experiences can be witnessed in other individuals who experienced discrimination due to protected characteristics such as religion or disability.

June is a time for celebration and reflection on how we can use our experiences to understand others and seek opportunities for equity for those that are in the minority. It is a time to celebrate our own sexualites and of others around us. I am proud of how far we have come as a society, and have hope that the future generations will experience a more inclusive society.

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Kent or Surrey and need support, With You offer free counselling and CBT in Surrey and Kent. You can find out more, and refer yourself to these services here. If you live elsewhere in England you can chat to us online or visit the NHS service finder to find counselling and CBT near you.

If you’re struggling with alcohol and or drugs you can book an online webchat session with one of our specialist advisors who are sensitive to the unique challenges your community faces

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We are one of the UK’s leading mental health, drug and alcohol charities. We provide free, confidential support with drugs, alcohol and mental health.