Gender Issues are commonly referred to as LGBT issues. These acronyms refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender and are used to emphasize diverse sex and gender identity-based cultures. The key word here is “identity.” We all see ourselves differently in different contexts and we all struggle from time to time with the question, “Who am I?” However, for people who feel that a core aspect of themselves like gender and/or sexuality is not being expressed or who are overly concerned with other people’s impressions and opinions, the struggle can be acute and painful.
A person’s sexual orientation is not necessarily a black or white matter. The term is used to describe both our patterns of emotional, romantic and sexual attraction and our sense of identity based on those attractions. Our sense of personal and social identity falls somewhere along a continuum, with exclusive attraction to the opposite sex on one end and exclusive attraction to the same sex on the other.
The three most common (but by no means the only) categories of sexual orientation are:
- Heterosexuality – attraction to the opposite sex
- Homosexuality – attraction to the same sex
- Bisexuality – attraction to members of either sex
Most scientists agree that both nature and nurture play complex roles in determining sexual orientation, but there are no concrete answers and the issue is hotly contested.
Gender Issue Causes
People in our society should not suffer any injustice or oppression because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Sadly, this is not the case and many people experience challenges in their communities, whether at home, school or work.
- Lack of social acceptance
- Job discrimination
- Rejection by family
- Acts of harassment or violence
- Confusion about gender or sexual orientation
Young people who are LGBT and experience high levels of family rejection are more than eight times as likely to attempt suicide.
Gender Issue Treatment
While identifying as LGBT is not a mental health condition or mental illness, mental health challenges can be brought on by things like rejection, isolation, victimization or a struggle with self-acceptance. Anxiety, depression and/or substance abuse can be more common in people who experience LGBT bias.
Behavioral therapy – Individual therapy, family therapy and group therapy can be helpful in dealing with issues surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation. Support groups can be especially beneficial in offering acceptance and affirmation for those who have experienced discrimination or other negative events.
Medications – Some of the symptoms caused by LGBT bias such as anxiety and depression can be controlled with medication.
The most important thing in dealing with gender issues is to know that people do not choose their sexual orientation or gender identity.
We seek to understand, support and affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children, youth, and families. We’ve supported many clients as they have addressed challenges and returned to a state of emotional well-being in their homes and communities.
More Information on LGBT issues
Counseling for LGBT Issues
Trevor Lifeline: 1 (866) 488-7386
(Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.)
Toll-free hotline available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.