What are gender, sexual, and relationship minorities?
“Gender, sexual, and relationship minorities” is an umbrella term used to recognize anyone who does not identify as heterosexual, cisgender, monogamous, and “vanilla”. Here is a non-exhaustive list of those we serve who are affiliated with these identities:
- Friends and family members
All of our therapists are LGBT-affirmative. This differs from being LGBT-friendly, which means “accepting” your sexual orientation or gender identity. Being affirmative, conversely, means that we move beyond acceptance and approach our work with members of gender, sexual, and relationship minorities from the perspective that your experiences, families, and identities are equal in value to those of your heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. We also understand that heteronormative standards don’t apply to every relationship or individual. While some LGBTQQIA people may want similar things to their straight, cis counterparts, many do not. As with any population, our guiding principle is that if you aren’t hurting anyone and you feel good on the inside, you’re probably doing okay. Living outside the mold of mainstream culture can be fraught with challenges. From managing relationships with family members to workplace stress to internalizing harmful messages that a heteronormative lifestyle is somehow “better,” we can help you to navigate this.
Identities as Non-Binary and Fluid
We understand that gender identity and sexual orientation are non-binary constructs, meaning that they fall on a continuum rather than two check-boxes. For sexual orientation, this means that while some people identify as 100% heterosexual and others as 100% homosexual, bisexuality and pansexuality are legitimate sexual orientations. For gender identity, this means that while some people identify as male and others as female, many people identify as genderqueer, male or female of center, or agender, or have a more nuanced and complicated relationship with the idea of gender than can be captured in a single word or phrase. We have worked with many people who can’t simply “check a box” and we will never ask you to “choose one”. We also understand fluidity of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. What this means is that you may feel more attracted to one type of person on Tuesday and another on Thursday. It also means that you might identify more with male characteristics one day and female characteristics another day, and on a third day feel decisively in the middle. The way you express your gender may vary from moment to moment. We believe in your right to describe your identity or identities in whatever way feels most comfortable to you, and will honor your pronouns and your self-selected labels (or lack of labels). If you need help to figure out what fits or feels best, we can help you navigate that journey, but we will never stick you with a gender or sexual orientation label that does not feel authentic to you.
We have extensive experience working with clients who have nontraditional relationship structures, including polyamorous and kinky relationships. In some cases, we have helped clients to navigate the intricacies and complexities of polyamory and find safe resources to learn about and practice BDSM. When working with kinky and polyamorous clients, our goal is to support your relationship style while helping you to navigate it safely and with consent of all involved parties. Often, clients who identify as kinky or polyamorous come to see us for concerns that are unrelated to navigating nontraditional relationships in a safe, affirmative environment. Our office is a safe space to work on other therapy topics, such as self-esteem, anxiety, depression, stress, dating, trauma, family relationships, and general identity questions, without having your relationship viewed as a form of pathology.
To meet with a gender, sexual, and relationship minority affirmative therapist, schedule a free phone consultation now!