While an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity might not cause despair, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, or any other sexual orientation or gender identity often find the social stigma of living as a minority a source of distress.
This June, in honor of Pride Month, it’s important to take note of how far the US has come in recognising LGBTQ rights - particularly in reference to the historic 2015 Supreme Court ruling, legalising gay marriage nation-wide. Despite this, however, the oppression and discrimination continues. Here are some of the struggles - within the US legal system in particular - for equality that remain an issue:
#1 Hate Crime
Sadly, hate crimes against the LGBTQ community are still shockingly frequent. In 2015, almost one in five hate crimes committed in America were as a result of sexual discrimination, while another 2% were based on gender identity. What’s more, in 2017, 16 states still excluded sexual orientation or gender identity from their hate-crime laws; a further 13 states only included sexual orientation, and four states had no hate crime laws at all.
#2 Ability to Adopt
Only a few states have incorporated a law which states that LGBTQ couples have a right to parent together. In contrast to this, a handful of states maintain it legal for adoption agencies to deny same-sex couples the right to adopt, based solely on their sexual orientation.
#3 Gay Conversion Therapy
In well over half the states in America, children can still, lawfully, be sent to “gay conversion therapy”. This, even while the American Psychologist Association has declared it a destructive operation.
#4 Employment Inequality
In the majority of states, members of the LGBTQ community can legally be dismissed from employment based solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Due to their lack of defense, many individuals are forced to keep their livelihoods a secrent in order to maintain a living.
#5 Housing Discrimination
Over and above employment inequality, LGBTQ individuals can also, legally, be denied housing, based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2013, same-sex couples experienced discrimination when it came to renting houses online.
#6 Public Ablutions
Yet another struggle for the LGBTQ community concerns the right to make use of public facilities in a way that satisfies their needs. For transgender children, this translates into the ability to use whichever bathroom fits their gender identity.
#7 Access to Healthcare
Members of the LGBTQ community continue to experience discrimination from doctors, when it comes to their treatment, and can legally be denied access to health insurance based solely on their sexual orientation or gender idenitity.
#8 Criminal Justice
Like almost everywhere else, LGBTQ individuals encounter increased levels of discrimination in prison too. Transgender convicts, in particular, maintain a history of severe abuse, including being placed in solitary confinement for their own protection.
How Therapy Can Help
The majority of the issues that LGBTQ individuals bring to therapy are common to all people. All relationships have similar struggles, for example: finances, sex, the in-laws, quality time, etc. Members of the LGBTQ community fall victim to the same daily stressors, including mood swings, workplace concerns, and / or low self-esteem. What differentiaties them are their additional struggles listed above.
Although most therapists may be qualified to help, LGBTQ clients often feel more at ease with a therapist who specialises in, or has experience with, issues pertaining to the LGBTQ community. Our staff at Mind and Body Counseling Associates, Reno, Nevada, are directed by the only certified Gottman therapist in Northern Nevada, Diana Wright, and all have various levels of training in the Gottman method for couples. What’s more, counseling LGBTQ individuals and couples is an area our team is focused on. For more information, please contact us here.