Learning more about the LGBT community
If you work with young adults in the state care system, you work with young people who may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or who have doubts about their sexuality or gender identity or you just happen to be around them at any time, it is only fair that you know and understand their position. The professionals and persons in charge of minors have the responsibility to care for the youth under their care with sensitivity and compassion. There are so many myths and stereotypes about LGBT people that all of us need to be aware of and know the actual truth. The first step to competent care is to understand the basic concepts about LGBT people and the challenges they face, which is exactly what we will tell you all about in this post. Keep reading!
What does LGBTQ mean?
In recent years, LGBT initials have been used to refer to all individuals and communities that identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender or those who have doubts about their sexuality and / or gender identity.
A woman who has an emotional, romantic and sexual attraction towards other women.
A man or a woman who has an emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction towards another person of the same gender; some people only use the term in reference to men.
A man or a woman who has an emotional, romantic and sexual attraction towards people of both genders.
A general term that describes people whose mental sex or gender identity, the internal sense of being male or female, is different from the sex assigned by the doctor at birth. Sex is determined by several factors, the most important is the information in the brain or mental sex. Gender transitions emphasize changing the body to align with the mind because the information in the brain will never change. We all have a sexual orientation and a gender identity, they are two different things. Transgender people can be identified as heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual or in doubt.
A person, often a teenager, who may have doubts about their sexuality or gender identity.
How many people are LGBTQ?
Approximately 5 to 10% of the general population is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
It is estimated that LGBT adolescents are a disproportionately larger part of the youth population in foster care and juvenile delinquency systems. Since much LGBT youth face disapproval and rejection from family members, they are more likely to be forced to leave their homes and end up in substitute or homeless care. Once in foster care, prejudice against them makes it more difficult to find permanent homes and prolongs their time in child protection systems
When is it defined?
Many LGBTQ people report that they knew about their sexual orientation from very early in their childhood, long before their first sexual experiences. Other people do not identify their sexual orientation or gender identity until later, in the teenage years or adulthood.
How to know if someone is LGBTQ?
Not all LGBT youth are considered as such, and many hides it worried about their safety or privacy. Some people who are perceived by others as LGBT, in fact, are not. The only way to know for sure if someone is LGBT is that a person communicates it openly. Until then, I never rely on myths and stereotypes about LGBT people to make assumptions about a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
What are the causes?
The reasons why some people are LGBT and others are not, are still not understood accurately. What is known, in general, is that sexual orientation and gender identity have proven to be unchangeable. In fact, "reparative" or "conversion" therapies to change the sexual orientation of a person who is attracted to people of the same sex have been criticized by all mental health organizations as ineffective and potentially harmful.
Furthermore, it is incorrect to assume that all LGBT people have been traumatized or abused, or that declaring LGBT is rebellious behavior. LGBT people have existed around the world throughout history, although the concept of identifying themselves as LGBT or LGBT communities are more recent developments.
Homosexuality is not a disease
Homosexuality is not a mental or physical disorder, and mental health professionals do not consider the orientation towards the same sex as something harmful, undesirable or something that requires intervention or prevention. It is an essential part of a person's identity, just as heterosexual orientation is for a heterosexual person. There was a time when homosexuality was mistakenly classified as a mental illness. Extensive empirical research showed that this assumption was false.
All the major health professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, have long recognized that being lesbian or gay does not produce inherent obstacles to a happy, healthy and productive life, and that the vast majority of lesbian and gay people function well in the wide range of social institutions and interpersonal relationships.
10 recommended LGBT books to add in your reading list
What a better way to learn about any subject than reading books? These 10 LGBT books will give you a much broader look at this topic. Check them out!
1. Lesbian Histories And Culture: An Encyclopedia
This encyclopedia offers an all-around book on lesbianism through the years. With anecdotes, personal stories, lesbian history, and data, this book will inform you and introduce you to the lesbian world and history.
2. The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister by Anne Lister
Through her life story, Anne Lister presents us with an extended summary of lesbian history and her journey through this community. It is quite an inspiring story you can’t miss if you are interested in this subject! Definitely, a must read.
3. The Apparitional Lesbian by Terry Castle
This book treats “ghost” lesbianism through history, which is the fact that lesbians have been ignored or ghosted since the beginnings of time. Making reference to many secret lesbian cases from the past, The Apparitional Lesbian gives a voice to the now stronger lesbian community.
4. Gay Histories And Culture: An Encyclopedia
This book offers you exactly the same as the lesbian encyclopedia one; anecdotes, history, and data for you to have an all-around look on this part of the LGBT community.
5. Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men's Lives by Walt Odets
Walt Odets, a psychologist specialized in the LGBT community, uses his gay patient's cases to show the rest of the world how the different difficulties of gay life can be overcome. This book also treats self-acceptance and learning to live independently from other opinions, which can be hard for many gay men. It will inspire and help you if this is your situation, be sure of that.
6. Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner
We can actually state that this book is a must-read for anyone who is bisexual or is looking to understand this orientation. It treats so many topics within the bi community, like monosexism and biphobia to myths about bisexuality and bisexual stereotypes. Defiantly check it out, it will leave you with no doubts about this part of the LGBTQ community.
7. Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out
This book is often known as the book that sparked up a national bisexuality movement in the US with its first edition in 1991. Its a compilation of more than 70 bi persons that share their journey as bisexual in prose, essays, poetry, or art. Beautifully inspiring!
8. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, & So Much More
Janet Mock’s memoir presents her journey as a black transgender woman in the United States. This book not only inspires, but informs on transgender healthcare, rights, and the transition itself. Absolutely worth the read!
9. Letters for My Sisters: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect
This amazing book offers a view of the transgender world that has never been seen before. With the question: "If you could write just one letter to someone who is beginning their gender transition or to your younger, pre-transition self, what would you say?” this book presents the advice, regrets, and journeys of 30 women who had a successful gender transition. There is literally no better way to learn about this topic!
10. Transgender History by Susan Stryker
This amazing book covers American transgender history from the mid 20th century until today. From persecution, creation of rights, acceptance, and issues, Transgender History leaves nothing out when it comes to the Trans journey in The United States. It is absolutely important to read if you really wish to understand this part of the community.
If you are part of the LGBTQ community, I’m sure this article made you way more involved, informed, and inspired about your community. If you aren’t part of the LGBTQ community, you are now informed and you understand what this community is and how it works. With these types of informational books and articles, we will end the misinformation and discrimination against this amazing community we must care for!