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  • Amanda Earle, MA, LAC, LPC

Here & Queer: Suggestions for Finding a LGBTQ+ Affirming Therapist

Updated: Jun 7

Thanks to Queer Nation, the following slogans became popular in the 1990’s as the LGBT activist organization worked towards their mission “to eliminate homophobia and increase LGBT visibility”:

We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.

We’re here, we’re queer and we’d like to say hello.


Over the past three decades, significant progress has been made towards securing queer rights, such as the June 2015 US Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriage, and the June 2020 US Supreme Court ruling that decided the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. LGBTQ+ visibility and representation also continue to increase among all reams of society.


Examples?


Art & Media

Sports

Business

Education

Politics

… to name a few.



Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.


– Barbara Gittings, prominent American activist


As the fight for true equality and social acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community continues, the culture of the United States still remains predominantly heteronormative and cisnormative. By this statement, I mean that a human baby brought into this world is, more likely than not, automatically assumed to be cisgender (i.e., the person’s gender identity is automatically assumed to match the biological sex recorded at birth) and expected to be heterosexual or straight as they grow older and seek out romantic, sexual, or other intimate relationships.


Assuming or placing expectations on one’s gender and/or sexual identities can feel minimizing, disparaging, emotionally damaging, and even traumatic to that individual. Furthermore, serious threats of discrimination, psychological and physical violence still exist for LGBTQ+ humans within family systems, United States institutions, North American culture at large, and around the globe.



Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start.


– Jason Collins, first openly gay male athlete


In regard to counseling services for the LGBTQ+ community, a provider’s openness is very much just the start. Feeling physically and emotionally safe, as well as trusting of one’s therapist and setting is crucial for participating in the counseling process, progressing towards one’s goals, and experiencing the full benefits of therapy. Consequently, many LGBTQ+ individuals specifically seek out clinicians who are either also members of the queer community and/or, at the very least, have specific knowledge and are affirming of LGBTQ+ concerns and lived experiences.


For help in this search, please review the following LGBTQ+ affirming resources:


National

"A mental health directory and resource made with love. Our mission is to make finding the right therapist or counselor as painless as possible."


"We provide mental health services including therapist referrals, education and consultation. Our members offer a wide range of specializations, allowing us to serve as a unique resource both to the LGBTQ communities and to other service providers... We work to promote awareness of the special skills our members have to offer LGBTQ communities and the general public." Also referenced as the Psychotherapist Association for Gender and Sexual Diversity.


"Therapy for Queer People of Color (QPoC) is a mental health network based in Atlanta, Georgia. Check out the QPoC Directory to connect with affirming services."


"National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN) is a healing justice organization committed to transforming mental health for queer and trans people of color (QTPoC)."


"Pride Counseling offers private, affordable online counseling when you need it from licensed, board-accredited therapists. Get help, you deserve to be happy!"



Colorado-specific

"The Center on Colfax will be a collaborative leader in creating a safe, healthy, inclusive, equitable, and affirming Colorado for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. We will engage the individual and collective strengths of our community and its allies to promote and develop leadership, unity and pride. We will connect the community through diverse communications, vibrant programs, essential resources, and creating opportunities for LGBTQ people to be seen and heard."


"The Transgender Center of the Rockies provides holistic gender-affirming services to support transgender and gender-expansive individuals. Our goal is to empower them to live full and authentic lives."

Check out more impactful quotes (in addition to the two listed above) from other influential LGBTQ individuals found in this Human Rights Careers article.

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