In many ways it is becoming easier these days than it once was to live as a lesbian woman or a gay man. Acceptance is on the rise, more people are choosing to live openly in same-sex relationships, we are starting to see and hear more about the queer community in the media, and to see different relationships and families being portrayed (TV shows such as “Glee” and “Modern Family”).
There are specific support services being funded to reduce the risks associated with being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (GLBTI) including:
- Queensland Association for Healthy Communities
- Open Doors Youth Service
- The Gay and Lesbian Welfare Association
- Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Brisbane
Unfortunately, Queensland continues to be one of the more homophobic states (Flood & Hamilton 2005) with many people still believing that it is immoral to be homosexual.
In addition to the usual life stressors that every person experiences, lesbians and gay men live in a culture where they may at times be invisible, misunderstood, tolerated, ridiculed or even demonised and discriminated against. This has very real mental health consequences for individuals.
- Decisions around identity and lifestyle that a heterosexual person may never have to consciously think about;
- Impacts of homophobia on self esteem and confidence;
- Choices about when, where, how and whether to “come out” and be open about one’s sexual preference;
- Managing stress and trauma following incidents of discrimination or intolerance;
- Relationship issues with family and friends after disclosing lifestyle and sexual preference;
- Negotiations around safe sex, monogamy and health status;
- Decisions about parenting and the challenges of becoming a parent via surrogacy, sperm donation, or co-parenting with a non-partner in order to have children.
- Religious, cultural and spiritual beliefs that are in conflict with self acceptance for someone who is not heterosexual.
- Higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicidality, especially for young GLBTI people in rural communities.
Michelle Linmore is a registered psychologist able to assist people in managing the above issues. Michelle acted as a member of the Ally diversity program whilst working at the Australian National University Counselling Service, and she is a member of the Australian Psychological Society’s Gay and Lesbian Issues in Psychology special interest group.
Michelle is experienced in providing couples therapy and family counselling as well as individual psychological support. She is keen to work with members of the GLBTI community as well as their families and friends. If you would like some supportive assistance in a setting where you know that diversity is accepted and celebrated, feel free to book an appointment online or freecall 1800 877 924 and ask to book in with Michelle Linmore.