Do You Seek To Be Understood Without Having To Explain Your Identity?
Are you a member of the Black lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) community and want to be seen as the full person you are? Do you fear abandonment and rejection from therapy providers due to your identity? Have you felt rejected by the general community?
Perhaps you seek a space that offers support and a chance to create community. Maybe you want to build a sense of solidarity with other Black LGBTQIA individuals, as well as advocates. Yet negative experiences have left you feeling humiliation and shame toward who you are.
Navigating this world as a Black LGBTQIA person can be difficult. You may struggle with feelings of anxiety, anger, or loneliness. Additionally, these feelings may have led to higher instances of stress, translating into undue worry at work or social anxiety among friends, family, or partners.
Perhaps you observe a lack of representation for the Black LGBTQIA community in the mainstream heteronormative, white-centric society. And this lack of representation may leave you feeling helpless as you don’t see individuals in media or real-life that positively mirror your own goals and experiences. Consequently, maybe you sometimes struggle with sadness that lingers on feelings of depression. And you might blame yourself for not being strong enough to overcome these emotions.
You are not at fault for trying your best to cope with your adversity. And in these times, there is growing support for marginalized populations. LGBTQIA counseling can give you the tools you need to navigate an often antagonistic world, offering a safe space that honors your identity as you work through life’s many challenges.
Black LGBTQIA Individuals Face Unique Struggles
Black LGBTQIA individuals experience intersectional marginalization along the lines of race, gender, and sexual identity. As a result, the likelihood of discrimination increases, as well as struggles with mental health. Notwithstanding, the reality is that Black LGBTQIA are living, breathing people who have issues like anyone else, and society should offer safety, protection, and understanding to help you thrive.
Many of the struggles that LGBTQIA face can be attributed to systemic structures that cater primarily to cisgender people, white people, and males. Therefore, those who fall outside of these identities can face varying levels of oppression.
For Black LGBTQIA, in particular, one tell-tale sign of this reality is healthcare disparities. According to data from the Center for American Progress, 30 percent of African American LGBTQIA will delay getting medication as opposed to 19 percent of the overall African American population.1 And 35 percent of African American LGBTQIA women have had a mammogram in the last two years compared to 57 percent of LGBTQIA women in general and 62 percent of cisgendered, heterosexual women.
The causes of these disparities can include barriers such as fear of discrimination, lack of access to educational and financial resources, actually being discriminated against, and fewer employment opportunities.
These barriers impact more than healthcare–they can also impact a person’s ability to overcome their challenges, and ultimately illustrate a cultural lack of empathy toward intersectionality marginalized people. Additionally, this lack of empathy can also extend to hurtful comments on social media, which can cause feelings of overwhelm that keep a person from being able to find the help they need.
Yet counseling starts with an understanding of the sensitivities of Black LGBTQIA identities while also recognizing that you deserve to be loved and accepted for the person you are. LGBTQIA counseling can offer the support you need to live fully and freely.
LGBTQIA Counseling Can Give You The Tools To Live From A Place Of Empowerment
If you sometimes feel at odds with the world and seek refuge in a space where you can be yourself without societal pushback, then LGBTQIA counseling could be for you. Counseling can give you the space to exist authentically with support you may not be used to in your daily life.
Therapists at Quality Counseling offer a compassionate environment where you can express the many facets of your story as it relates to Black LGBTQIA identity–or not. Our approach to counseling has helped our lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual clients build a stronger, more positive sense of self and address issues such as mental health, work stress, coming out, discrimination, homophobia, family counseling, couples issues, trauma, grief, addiction, and more.
To begin the intake process, we will ask you to fill out forms through a secure online portal. The information provided will help us to learn more about your background, experiences in your skin, why you’ve decided to seek therapy, and your goals. From here, we can build a personalized treatment plan together.
In sessions, we will work with you to navigate life challenges more effectively and make more empowered decisions. Our therapists will offer culturally sensitive strategies to address issues as it may relate to LGBTQIA identity or other challenges.
Black LGBTQIA therapy can also help you:
• Address unhealthy generational patterns in your family history
• Learn to advocate for yourself and ask for what you need
• Uncover and address childhood trauma and how it may manifest in your life today
• Build coping strategies to deal with specific issues
• Develop skills to better deal with unsupportive friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances
• Build a community of supportive and like-minded individuals
Additionally, we may introduce different modalities to help you work through your experiences more thoroughly. First, creative writing allows you to tap into your imagination to envision new possibilities and process your emotions. Such exercises may include writing a letter of forgiveness to yourself or a family member. We may also introduce body drumming, which is used in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a therapeutic approach that helps people process trauma. Body drumming taps along certain points on the body to reduce stress and rebalance the nervous system, and can also help you to build a healthier relationship with your body.
LGBTQIA therapy can give you the guidance and tools you need to find the power you have within to heal yourself. Therapists at Quality Counseling have helped many clients work through their issues, and offered a consistent presence that has allowed them to feel supported in the process. We believe that we can do the same for you.
Perhaps you may still have questions about Black LGBTQIA Counseling…
I doubt that you will be able to relate to me.
One way we try to bridge the gap between our clients’ experiences and therapists is for our LGBTQIA counselors to share their own experiences as well as the general experiences and successes of our LGBTQIA clientele. We are here to listen to your experiences with empathy and provide resources to help you build your tribe, whether that’s through social media groups, community resources, or podcasts, for example.
Will you judge me?
Our goal in counseling is to be compassionate and transparent with our clients throughout the therapeutic process. And in a healthy client-therapist interaction, acceptance is something that should occur naturally. Our therapists take a legal oath to not judge. A large part of our identity at Quality Counseling is cultivating a safe space and creating a refuge for Black LGBTQIA to build the skills needed to thrive in everyday life.
I don’t want to share details of my life with a stranger.
Nothing is worse than feeling forced to share something before you are ready. In fact, this can actually be traumatizing. So we like to emphasize that your story is your story, and you have control over it. Even if it means never opening up during sessions, this is your prerogative. At Quality Counseling, we aim to create an environment where all of our clients–LGBTQIA and otherwise–don’t feel pressured and can take their time to build a sense of safety with their therapist. This organic progression can help you process your experiences more easily to get to your desired place in life.
Are You Ready To Build The Skills To Strengthen Your Voice And Thrive?
With the right environment, you can work through your experiences freely and develop a stronger voice in the world to be the best version of yourself. If you’re ready to take the next step toward freedom, we invite you to contact us to see how LGBTQIA counseling can help.