Meeting Mental Health Needs Of A Queer Community

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Despite growing cultural acceptance of diverse sexual and romantic orientations and gender identifications, oppression, marginalization and discrimination of LGBTQI or “queer” people persist. I will use the inclusive term “queer” throughout this paper to encompass the entire non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming community (Coulter & France, 2013; Martin, Shepherd, & Lehr, 2015). Common among the queer community is their historically marginalized social status relative to society’s social norm of heterosexuality. Their status as “other” is the basis of stigma, prejudice, discrimination and violence (Lefler, 2012). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the vital role counsellors play in meeting the mental health needs of queer clients …show more content…

Homophobic beliefs lead to prejudiced actions at work, school, in families and communities. Homophobia is an irrational fear and hatred of same-sex attractions that do not conform to rigid sex-role stereotypes (Coulter & France, 2013). Homophobia is expressed through prejudice, discrimination, harassment or violence. Transphobia is when this prejudice and discrimination are directed at transsexual and transgender people. Homophobia and transphobia are not just experienced by people who are queer, but by people who are thought to be queer because they do not necessarily fit into assigned gender roles. Homophobic views directed at homosexuals often stem from the perception that homosexual activity is immoral, sinful, and wrong. Homophobia makes people think they are superior to homosexuals. Heterosexism is the assumption that everyone is, or should be, heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the only “normal and correct type of lifestyle” and “superior to alternative relationships” (Coulter & France, 2013, p. 24). Heterosexism is the systematic and institutional oppression of queer people (Coulter & France, 2013) therefore, people who identify as heterosexual have certain privileges that queer people do …show more content…

Queer people face higher rates of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and phobic disorders, suicidality, self-harm, and substance use, as well, are twice as likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Queer youth and trans people face increased risk. Queer youth face approximately 14 times the risk of suicide (DeAngelis, 2002) and more likely to suffer substance abuse than their heterosexual peers. According to an Ontario-based survey, 77% of trans respondents have seriously considered suicide and 45% had attempted suicide (Lefler,

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