LGTBQ Related Concerns
‘We prided ourselves on being such good communicators in the beginning, two women who really knew how to sort things out. We were totally in love for 4 years ….now we act like two people who don’t even like each other and our prized communication skills have gone out the window’ . I don’t know if it’s salvageable or not. ‘
‘When we got together she identified as a woman and we were in a lesbian relationship. However, after a few years they disclosed that they had been questioning their gender identity for a long time and wanted to transition to male. That was a major shock, but of course I wanted to support them. They’ve been transitioning and I’ve been trying to be as supportive as I can, but to be honest it’s been rather rocky for all kinds of reasons. They are so much happier, and I really love them, but this is not what I signed up for. I just don’t know what to do.’
‘I have known since I was a very young that I was attracted to boys, but I heard how my parents talked with such hatred about gay people and how they acted towards the gay couple down the street. I knew I couldn’t tell them. So I moved to Vancouver to come out and have been with the sweetest man for over 5 years. He is out to his parents and they are supportive of him, so he keeps pushing me to come out too. I know I should, but I am not sure my parents will be as supportive, in fact there is a real possibility they will not want anything to do with me. I am not sure I’m ready for that on one hand, but on the other I just am tired of hiding who I am , and don’t really see why I should anymore. I’m really conflicted.’
‘Being with her is really wonderful!! She’s like my best friend, confidant and lover!! We just love being together and I feel guilty even saying this…., but I just want time to myself sometimes. We do everything together, except work, and sometimes I even help her at work. It was great for the first few years but now I am starting to feel a bit suffocated. I’m afraid I will really hurt her feelings if I tell her I want some space. I hate conflict and I am terrible about saying no, so I do things indirectly to get space, which causes other problems. I want to feel okay about saying no and being more assertive.’
‘I have been with my husband for over 35 years but I’ve always known I was attracted to women. I swept it under the rug as it was totally not the ‘acceptable’ thing to do. I grew up in an era where there was no support for being LGBTQ. My parents were very right wing and religious and I would have absolutely been disowned if I came out when I was young. So I followed the ‘proper’ path. I don’t regret it, I love my husband and we have a great life together. The problem is that I have a persistent desire to be with a woman. There is no one in particular; I just want to be who I think I really am. I would lose a lot if I came out at this stage of the game and devastate my husband. I am just not sure if it’s worth it .It’s very scary really. I’ve never talked to any about .’
‘‘I transitioned from female to male over 12 years ago and had quite a lot of support but I’ve never had anywhere to really talk about some of the hard parts of my transition, both physically and emotionally. I felt I had to be nothing but strong and positive. I have no regrets; I just want to talk about some of the struggles I’ve been through.”
I have been helping LGBTQ individuals and couples with issues like these for over 23 years. I’ve witnessed many social changes for the better for our communities and within our communities, yet still for too many, homo/transphobia looms large as life. Some people have stayed away from counselling as they’ve had negative experiences with ‘straight’ therapists who either didn’t quite understand their experience, or who blatantly suggested that they should be straight, and/or accept the gender they were born with. Others have taken a long time to get the support they need for fear that they would experience the above.
Also, my experience working with people in both heterosexual and LGBTQ relationships has pointed to many relationship differences and similarities. I find that LGBTQ people deal with a number of complexities that are not as prevalent in heterosexual relationships. It is important to address those particular complexities rather than fitting them into a hetero-normative model that doesn’t always work.
Whether you are questioning your sexual orientation or gender identity, or you have been out for years but want to sort through some other issues that are holding you back, or are in need of couples counselling, I can offer you a safe and well-informed space, or point you in the right direction.