Archive for November 2011
While the majority of our calls, chats and emails deal with coming-out and the related feelings that arise from this process, we also receive a large number of contacts from people who want to talk about problems they are having in romantic relationships. These callers often are not out to their friends and families or have been rejected by their families for being gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgendered, and so they can feel extremely isolated.
These callers want to talk about issues that can arise in any romantic relationship: In-laws, household chores, miscommunications, etc. But because of the pronouns (he/she/his/her), they are unable to share these otherwise run-of-the-mill discussions with anyone in their lives. It is a true reflection of how alone individual members of the queer community can feel when they cannot share with others such a fundamental aspect of themselves like sexual orientation or gender identity. It results in not being able to discuss one’s partner, spouse, date or boyfriend/girlfriend.
Do you need to talk about a problem you’re having with a significant other or romantic interest? Please get in touch with us. Our volunteer peer-counselors can help.
In many places, job discrimination remains a big issue for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Many people are afraid to be out for fear that they will be fired and/or subjected to a hostile work environment. According to our callers, bullying for being different doesn’t necessarily end at high-school graduation. No one deserves to lose his/her job or have an uncomfortable workplace because of sexual orientation or gender identification. As incredible as it seems in 2011, the majority of states have NO state-wide law the prohibits discrimination in the work place because of sexual orientation or gender identity. Nor does the U.S. have a federal law the provides equal protection. In some places, individual cities have provided protection, but if you travel outside of that city, you might just have lost your ability to work.
That’s why it is so critical for Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that will protect all members of our GLBT community.
For legal advice, the following organizations can be helpful:
- Lambda Legal
- The American Civil Liberties Union
- In the Washington D.C. area, GAYLAW
- In the San Francisco area, The Legal Aid Society
For more links, please also see the Out & Equal website.
Although they cannot dispense legal advice, our peer-counselor volunteers are happy to listen and discuss the feelings surrounding a discriminatory work environment. Please let us know if we can help.
The next Presidential election is now one year away, but already things seem to be in full swing. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered issues (including “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Defense of Marriage Act, marriage equality in general, etc.) remain hot-button topics for political campaigns, and that can be emotionally troubling for members of the queer community.
Many GLBT people intellectually recognize the importance of having discussions about inequality and acceptance on a national scale. But intellectually knowing this doesn’t stop them from experiencing hurt, anger, and sadness when politicians openly discuss their equality rights and whether or not their sexual orientations or gender identifications are choices.
In one study, University of Kentucky psychologist Sharon Scales Rostosky, PhD, surveyed more than 1,500 lesbian, gay and bisexual adults across the nation and found that respondents from the 25 states that have outlawed same-sex marriage had the highest reports of “minority stress”—the chronic social stress that results from minority-group stigmatization—as well as general psychological distress. The negative campaigning that comes with a ban is directly responsible for the increased stress, says Rostosky. Past research has shown that minority stress is linked to health risks such as risky sexual behavior and substance abuse.
See the American Psychological Association site for the full article.
If political events are making you feel anxious, or if you just need to talk about what you’re feeling, please call us, start a chat, or send us an email.