Did you know that June is National Pride Awareness Month?! At Sunflower Counseling we strive to provide a warm, welcoming, and inclusive place for people of all backgrounds, races, sexual orientation, gender identity, religions, disabilities, and other factors that make us each unique and beautiful. To support this, we are launching the PRIDE Processing Group for Adults this month!
So, why choose PRIDE Processing Group?
Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender can be an isolating experience. We may or may not be accepted by the family that raised us. We may or may not be accepted by our neighbors, or colleagues, or at our places of worship. Religion may have taught us that it is “wrong” to be gay. We may have even been raised with threats of “going to Hell.” Coming out is not a one-time experience. It may be a daily process for some, especially for individuals who are often misgendered. Even at Pride events in our city, there is always a small group of protesters who are often yelling into a megaphone making threats of eternal damnation.
What can we do?
1. We can SAY SOMETHING when others are making jokes or derogatory statements about people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
2. We can BE OUT and reference a significant other if applicable.
3. Although it is not our responsibility to explain ourselves, we can ANSWER QUESTIONS about our experience if open to it. Sometimes others are genuinely curious, especially if children are involved.
4. We can find our OWN GROUPS that are accepting of us and create our own chosen family that is accepting and appreciates us.
5. We can find a religious COMMUNITY that is affirming our gender identity and/or sexual orientation.
6. We can ask questions regarding ACCEPTANCE when seeking out groups for children. Are there other queer families that attend this daycare? Are children being taught that being LGBT is wrong?
7. We can speak up and ADVOCATE if the teachers of your children or others make negative comments about queer families/queer identity.
8. We can read books that are written by people within our community to help NORMALIZE our identity. We can have books that have LGBT characters that our children can read or be read to as well. We can also watch movies or television shows that have LGBT individuals. We can listen to music by LGBT individuals. We can listen to PodCasts by and about people in our community.
9. We can make POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS about ourselves and our identity. Being LGBT may be a part of our identity but it is not everything about us. We are also parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, cousins, children, teachers, nurses, doctors, social workers, salespeople, ect.
10. We can do our best to LOVE one another and BE THERE for each other, however we can.
What are other steps you can think of? What do you do to help embrace your identity and support one another? Let us know what things you do to help make a difference?
The PRIDE Processing Group can be a powerful tool for individual growth and support. You are not alone in your experience, and there are others who have been through similar events that can help you grow and offer support.
The PRIDE Processing Group for adults starting in June and will be held via telehealth on every other Wednesday at 6pm. We would love for you to join us for this hour to receive support, process your experiences, and share encouragement with one another. Please feel free to reach out to me directly at 901-300-0954 or via email at email@example.com if you have questions about the group or would like to sign up. We accept Cigna and BCBS insurances as well as offer a sliding scale rate as well. We hope to see you there!
Written by Amanda Gitomer, LCSW
Therapist, Sunflower Counseling Services