LGBTQ+ Informed Therapy: Empowerment in Authenticity

Sponsored - June is LGBTQ+ Pride month and Pride month ignites a reflection on the historical and challenging lived experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals. A multifaceted history that involves blood, sweat, and glitter! More specifically, Kentucky LGBTQ+ individuals face special challenges with issues such as queer scarcity, isolation, shame, and guilt from peers. LGBTQ+ individuals are also at risk for homelessness and suicide. One significant resource for providing help to this marginalized group of individuals is to collaborate with an LGBTQ+ informed therapist. This collaborative partnership can provide clinical care that empowers individuals through their experiences of suffering. Suffering that has the potential to be life changing.

The need for LGBTQ+ informed care can be found through stories of generational trauma. History reveals the spirit of Pride by telling stories of struggle, perseverance, and choosing to live loudly despite the risk of harm. The Stonewall Riots and the AIDS epidemic provide stories of survival when the mere existence of being queer was either ignored or banished. To find history and research itself is sometimes difficult. For example, in 1933 the Library of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science was burned to the ground in Berlin because Hirschfeld, a gay man, was described by Hitler to be “The most dangerous Jew in Germany.” However, there are stories of success! Just last month conversion therapy was officially banned in Fayette County. Subsequently, overtime, such actions have left LGBTQ+ Kentuckians feeling isolated and distressed. However, by acknowledging this generational trauma, insights into the systemic oppression of LGBTQ+ individuals and the need for informed therapeutic care can empower individuals to rise against their internal and external strife.

History makes itself known today with many struggles, and pride in oneself can be found in therapy with an LGBTQ+ informed therapist. A therapist that is informed of these concerns combines the knowledge of how gay and gender-nonconforming identities wish to be treated in a clinical setting. The therapist acknowledges heavy feelings such as isolation, shame, guilt, or anger and in turn the therapist seeks to collaborate with the individual to unshackle the burdens. So that the individual can move towards liberation, joy, and a profound unconditional love for one’s self. The therapist also helps illuminate how sacrificing the natural authenticity of being themselves out of fear has negatively impacted their mental and emotional well-being. Fear is also acknowledged in one’s journey to live authentically, and the therapist can educate themselves on resources that can provide the individual safety, enlightenment, and connection with others.

Therapy with an LGBTQ+ informed therapist can empower individuals to rewrite the narrative of their lives. Becoming involved with a competent therapist that is backed by an empowering and well-informed agency or organization that is inclusive can be a lifesaving and a lifechanging experience for many LGBTQ+ individuals seeking therapeutic support. LGBTQ+ therapy is especially needed in Kentucky where resources for these individuals are scarce. Participation in this care can empower individuals to recognize they are not broken, their self-worth is not dependent on the opinions of others, and that participating in their own lives authentically is their natural birthright.

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