William Macaulay Counselling Perth
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"Life is not always easy being gay in a predominantly heterosexual society"
While a great deal of progress has been made in eradicating institutional oppression and discrimination over the last 50 years, social attitudes towards the gay community have been slower to change. Current research suggests that many gay and lesbian people still experience some social discrimination, humiliation and hostility in several areas of their daily lives. Incredibly, the World Health Organisation only removed homosexuality as a formal psychiatric diagnosis in 1992. Consequentially, for many gay and lesbian people, coming to terms with their sexual identity or disclosing their sexual preference is not an easy or straightforward process.
Gay Relationship & Social Issues
Gay men and lesbians often seek LGBT counselling services for various relationship-related concerns, including intimacy, sexual activities and communication. They may also face additional social stresses such as fear, secrecy, and shame due to discrimination and rejection. An individual may also be struggling with grief concerning the end of a relationship. Domestic violence can also affect individuals in same-sex relationships, causing abuse and power imbalances. These factors can significantly impact mental health and well-being. As an experienced gay therapist, I provide support and LGBT counselling to help individuals navigate and address these issues.
In terms of relationship types, gay and lesbian individuals, like heterosexual individuals, have diverse options that may or may not conform to societal norms. These include traditional monogamous relationships, relationships with partners of different ethnic backgrounds or age differences, long-distance relationships, caregiver relationships, open relationships with agreed-upon outside partners, and polyamorous relationships involving multiple romantic or sexual connections. Regardless of the type, essential elements such as honesty, respect, communication, consent and prioritising each person's well-being are crucial in all relationships
Mental Health and Sexual Orientation
Gay men and lesbians may access counselling services with a range of mental health issues. They are a diverse group of individuals with different sexual orientations, preferred identities, perspectives and life issues. They may experience great hardship concerning a lifetime of ongoing discrimination and social stigma because of cultural, religious and social norms. Consequentially they may become estranged from family and friends. Furthermore, constant exposure to negative messages about being gay may result in an individual involuntarily accepting and believing them, termed 'internalised homophobia'. These negative self-beliefs can have a devastating impact on a person's self-worth and well-being.
This harmful exposure, rather than sexual identity itself, may often result in people who identify as gay or lesbian experiencing higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance misuse, self-harm and suicidal ideation than those who identify as heterosexual. As an experienced therapist, I provide counselling services to resolve these issues and promote positive mental health.
Sexual Identity Labels
As with any identity, it's important for individuals to choose their own label. Also, the correct use and understanding of the language we use to describe others demonstrates respect and may be helpful towards making a positive contribution to other people's mental health and wellbeing.
The most commonly used labels are gay and lesbian. Gay mostly refers to males who are attracted to males. However, the term can also be used in relation to women who are attracted to other women, although many women prefer the term lesbian. The attraction may be sexual, romantic, affectionate or emotional.
Questioning is a term used by an individual who is unsure about or is exploring their own sexual orientation.
Queer is an umbrella term adopted by some within the LGBTI community, which includes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, intersex persons, and many other sexually transgressive explorers. It is a reclaimed word that for decades was used solely as a derogatory term, and may, therefore, be considered by some gay and lesbian people as offensive when used by outsiders.
Homosexual is a traditional term used to describe an individual who is attracted to people of the same sex. This term is considered stigmatising due to its history as a category of mental illness, the religious view that homosexuality is sinful and its historical use in criminal legislation.
Some people prefer to identify as heterosexual or bisexual as they are only occasionally attracted to the same gender. And, some individuals may not wish to label themselves at all.
Additional Articles About Gay Issues
Find out more about a range of gay issues and how talking to a gay counsellor can help:
Gay Counselling Perth
If you are concerned about any aspect of your sexual orientation or need support with how best to work through any social or relationship pressures, please contact me to make an appointment. Talking to a counsellor is an effective way to manage and gain a better understanding of your struggles. I offer a space that is warm and welcoming of gender, sexual and relationship diversity.