As many of you likely know, June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. ️
I feel it’s important to state that, at Motivo, we reject discrimination in all its forms and proudly advocate for equal rights in healthcare, housing, employment, public accommodation, and every other area for LGBTQ+ individuals, without exception.
While it’s critical to advance and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights throughout the year, I think it’s also important to have a month set aside to raise awareness and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Our profession, unfortunately, doesn’t have the best history with LGBTQ+ affirmation. The American Psychiatric Association treated homosexuality as a mental illness till 1973, and “gender identity disorder” wasn’t removed from the DSM until 2013. (source: The Trevor Project)
Sadly, there are still 30 states where therapists can legally practice conversion therapy – a practice that is dangerous and has been professionally discredited. Additionally, a 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, found that youth who reported undergoing conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not.
As mental health professionals, these are important statistics to be aware of. It’s also important for us to be aware that, currently, the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals are under attack. This year alone, more than 250 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislature, with eight already being passed into law. States like Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota have passed anti-trans sports bans, anti-trans medical care bans, and religion refusal bills.
Recently, I watched an Apple+ episode where Oprah interviewed Elliot Page. Elliot Page is an actor, activist, and transgender male. Elliot came out as a transgender male in a beautiful and heartfelt Instagram letter to his followers in Dec. 2020. Check out a clip of the interview below, or watch the full episode right here.
Elliot bravely shares his experience growing up, knowing that his outsides did not match his insides. He also shares how, when he came out as gay in 2013, he still was not fully in alignment with his truest self.
He shares the beautiful moment when he was able to look at himself in the mirror and finally say, “Oh, there I am.”
One of the first places that an individual who is questioning his/her/their gender identity might go is the therapist’s office. For this reason, it’s so imperative that we are educated, informed and ready to provide a safe place for hurting individuals.
Elliot states that 80% of the country doesn’t know or have a relationship with a trans person. This, Elliot says, is one of the core reasons that dangerously harmful bills are able to be passed. He says, “Because only 20% of people know a trans person, people don’t know about these issues. They don’t know the real information.”
Elliot’s interview inspired me to make sure I remain well informed and up-to-date on harmful legislation – and that I do everything I can to do advocate for important legislation like The Equality Act, which will provide “consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.”
This month, I’ll just be over here wearing my rainbow shirt (and dressing Lucy in her Pride costume) because I believe that our world is stronger, better and more beautiful when every single person is able to celebrated for exactly who they are.