It’s Pride Month, and we want to raise awareness of the discrimination that the LGBTQ+ population face in our nation. We realize this is a multi-faceted issue, so this is simply an introduction to the possible experiences of our clients and LGBTQ+ individuals within our community. Our hope at Heartland Therapy Connection is to shed light on what our clients and their loved ones face and to bring validation, support, healing, and advocacy to bring welfare and safety.
What Is Discrimination?
Discrimination, in essence, is an unjust treatment of persons based on ethnicity, sex, disability, and socioeconomic status. Discrimination can be expressed by denying business or service (even mental/medical health) to sexual minorities within the LGBTQ+ population. This denial of service takes a toll emotionally, physically, and financially and can affect a person’s socioeconomic status.
Denial of services makes access to helpful resources and services difficult, thus marginalizing LGBTQ+ individuals and communities. With the commonplace denial of services, there is also the assumption that LGBTQ+ persons can access alternative businesses or services within a metropolitan area. Although LGBTQ+ businesses and services may be more readily available to LGBTQ+ populations in large metropolitan areas, the problem lies in the fact that LGBTQ+ persons and couples reside in 99.3% of USA counties, thus exposing the truth that LGBT+ persons are not only in metropolitan areas but also in rural areas (Smith & Gates, 2001).
Factors of Discrimination
Research also shows that discrimination/stigma can contribute to adverse health outcomes such as low mood such as depression, anxiety and stress, substance abuse, and physical health problems. There have also been reports from a CAP survey that over two-thirds of LGBTQ individuals that have experienced discrimination have experienced negative effects on their psychological well-being. In contrast, approximately 50% reported that it affected their physical well-being (Singh & Durso, 2017). The American Psychological Association (APA) also surveyed in 2016 that LGBT persons who had experienced discrimination had higher stress levels than LGBT individuals who had not experienced discrimination (APA, 2016).
APA also reports, “Dealing with discrimination results in a state of heightened vigilance and changes in behavior, which in itself can trigger stress responses – that is, even the anticipation of discrimination can cause stress.” (APA, 2016)
We hope this short blog can bring awareness to the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals and couples within our community. If you or a loved one is experiencing adverse situations and discrimination, we offer services to all persons of any sexual identity or orientation at Heartland Therapy Connection. We would be honored to meet with you and provide the care you need and deserve. We are here to listen to your voice and your experience.
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, “The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding” (2011), available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64806/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK64806.pdf;
David J. Lick, Laura E. Durso, and Kerri L. Johnson, “Minority Stress and Physical Health Among Sexual Minorities,” Perspectives on Pyschological Science 8 (5) (2013): 521–548, available at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1745691613497965.
Sejal Singh and Laura E. Durso, “Widespread Discrimination Continues to Shape LGBT People’s Lives in Both Subtle and Significant Ways,” Center for American Progress, May 2, 2017, available at https://americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2017/05/02/429529/widespread-discrimination continues-shape-lgbt-peoples-lives-subtle-significant-ways/.
American Psychological Association, “Stress in America: The Impact of Discrimination” (2016), available at https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2015/impact-of-discrimination.pdf