LGBTQI2-S Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, Two-Spirit
It is not a question of right or wrong, of choice or destiny, of height, weight, race, religion, gender or wealth. It is a question
of confusion that forces some individuals into depression and sadness, often while other underlying mental illness exists. For some
who struggle each day asking themselves should I live as who I am on the outside or on the inside, how do I explain who I am to my family
and friends, where do I fit in and how do I go on . . . the stigma those choices may bring is a monumental part of the decision.
Mental illness can add a new level of stigma (double stigma) to one’s life that can be particularly painful and harmful, sometimes even
for those who actively seek treatment. Fear of ridicule, rejection and physical violence often keeps individuals from disclosing their
sexual orientation, even in therapy, which can negatively impact the outcome.
Fayette County Behavioral Health Administration is working to bring awareness and compassion to the LGBT population by conducting regular
trainings on the specific psychology, issues, and needs of the LGBT population with the hopes of addressing their unique needs and eliminating
the stigma. The Rainbow Heights Club (www.rainbowheights.org)
of Brooklyn, New York suggests the following steps to overcome Stigma:
• Think carefully about the labels applied to people, as labels can create further isolation and discrimination.
• Don’t assume someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity; also don’t assume what their treatment needs are based on stereotypes
of either LGBT people OR those living with mental illness.
• Empathize and validate LGBT persons’ experiences.
• Recognize that discrimination exists for LGBT persons and can affect access to many resources.
• Work in coordination with people with mental illness rather than assuming that providers have all the answers.
If you have questions about what FCBHA is doing to promote Mental Health for LGBTQI2-S individuals in Fayette County, please call
Links and resources