Members of the LGBTQ community continue to face challenges every day. The Miami counselors at Psych Blossom tell us that even those that live in the most liberal states are not immune from the intolerance of others. The impact of this discrimination and hate can be quite severe and often lead some to develop mental health problems. So what are the biggest challenges facing the LGBTQ community in America today?
Crime is frequently committed by someone who wants what another person has. For example, someone might steal a beautiful piece of jewelry, or a car that belongs to someone else. But hate crimes are different. The motivation for the crime does not come from something that the person has, but rather who or what the person is. The LGBTQ community is victim to almost twenty percent of all hate crimes. According to Global Citizen, one of the most vulnerable groups in the U.S. is trans women of color who are often subjected to violent crimes. What is even worse is that many states do not include sexual orientation or gender in their hate crime laws. Some do not even have any hate crime laws in place at all.
It might be hard to believe, but in many states conversion therapy still exists (this is where many young people are sent to be ‘cured’ of their sexual orientation). There is no evidence to support this practice despite those who run these centers saying that their treatments have helped to turn gay people straight. Conversion therapy can be harmful for the individual and it can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Minors subjected to this type of treatment may even go on to develop suicidal thoughts. Some will end up living on the streets because they do not want to continue living with parents who cannot accept them for who they are. What is even harder to believe is that there are only eight states where conversion therapy is banned for minors.
Members of the LGBTQ community regularly face discrimination, some on a daily basis. Discrimination against the LGBTQ community comes in many forms. Some people have lost their job because of their sexual orientation, despite being hard working and having the required skills to perform said job. Discrimination in the workplace is common, but there are other areas where this can become an issue. Some landlords will refuse to house gay tenants for example, while some healthcare providers refuse to treat trans people. Even in the states with non-discrimination laws, where people cannot be fired for their sexual orientation, members of the LGBTQ can face discrimination in other ways such as regularly being passed over for promotion.
There is an expectation that parents will love their children unconditionally, but in some families the issue of homosexuality is a deal breaker. There are those who refuse to speak to family members if they don’t conform to the norm. This may be because they either don’t understand the individual’s sexual orientation or because they believe it to be wrong. This rejection can have a major impact on the individual and result in serious harm to mental health. Some members of the LGBTQ community live their entire lives lying to family members about who they really are to avoid the rejection they fear they will face.
Even though things have come a long way for the LGBTQ community, there are still many challenges they face every single day. They are often not treated equally in the workplace and face discrimination in other areas of their lives too.