Here & Queer: Suggestions for Finding a LGBTQ+ Affirming Therapist
Updated: Jun 27
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.
Art & Media
NBC News (Dec. 15, 2020): Presence vs. representation: Report breaks down LGBTQ visibility on TV
GLAAD (2019): Overview of Findings
New America (Jun. 15, 2017): Why Queer Representation Matters
Obama Whitehouse Blog Archives (Dec. 7, 2015): Making Art to Make a Change: Championing LGBT Artists Across the Country
Sportanddev.org (Jun. 3, 2020): LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports
Insider (Dec. 2, 2020): 21 professional athletes who identify as LGBTQ
Sports Media LGBT+ (Sept. 14, 2020): Sports Media LGBT+ in 2020
OUT Leadership (Mar. 16, 2020): LGBT representation on corporate boards: moving from the menu to the table
US Chamber of Commerce Foundation (Apr. 9, 2019): Business Success and Growth Through LGBT— Inclusive Culture
K-12Dive (Jun. 24, 2020): Improving LGBTQ representation in curriculum reduces stigma, bullying
Teach for America (Jun. 1, 2020): I See Me: Representation of LGBTQ+ Teachers in the Classroom
University of Colorado Boulder (Jun. 30,2019): Educator Advocacy for Queer Students in Schools
The Washington Post (Nov. 30, 2020): 11 openly LGBTQ lawmakers will take their seats in the next Congress. That’s a record in both numbers and diversity
NBC News (Nov. 12, 2020): 'A win for all of us': Over 220 LGBTQ candidates celebrate election victories
American Political Science Review (May 2013): Representation and Rights: The Impact of LGBT Legislators in Comparative Perspective
… 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., a person’s gender identity is automatically assumed to match the biological sex assigned at birth) and expected to be heterosexual 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 traumatic to that individual. Furthermore, serious threats of discrimination, psychological and physical violence exist for LGBTQ+ humans within their family systems, United States institutions, American culture at large, and around the globe.
Human Rights Campaign (Nov. 17, 2020): New FBI Hate Crimes Report Shows Increases in Anti-LGBTQ Attacks
PBS News Hour (Oct. 2, 2020): Study finds LGBTQ people much likelier to be crime victims
UCLA School of Law, Williams Institute: LGBT people nearly four times more likely than non-LGBT people to be victims of violent crime
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:
"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.
QPoC Therapist Directory: https://therapyforqpoc.com/qpoc-therapist-directory-1#!directory
"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: https://www.nqttcn.com/google-map
"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 (Online Only): https://www.pridecounseling.com/
"Pride Counseling offers private, affordable online counseling when you need it from licensed, board-accredited therapists. Get help, you deserve to be happy!"
Center on Colfax Directory: https://lgbtqcolorado.org/resources/
"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."
Transgender Center of the Rockies: https://www.transgendercenteroftherockies.org/services-tcr
"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.