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Sexual identity and gender diversity

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We believe that all individuals’ expressions of sex, gender and sexual identity are legitimate. Like all young people, same-sex attracted and gender-bending young people, need unconditional love, understanding, acceptance and support from their family and friends. LGBTI is an abbreviation that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. To help you to better understand the young person in your life who is identifying as LGBTI, we have defined these terms for you:

  • Lesbian: a female-identified person who is attracted to other female-identified people
  • Gay: a male-identified person who is attracted to other male-identified people
  • Bisexual (Bi): a person who is attracted to males/men and females/women
  • Transgender (Trans): a person whose inner sense of gender is different from his/her biologically-assigned sex
  • Intersex: a spectrum of people born with genetic, hormonal and physical characteristics that might be typical of males and females or people without clearly defined sexual features

Concerns for LGBTI young people

Although LGBTI people are increasingly accepted, LGBTI people continue to experience misunderstanding, prejudice, discrimination and social exclusion. Research has found that LGBTI people are up to twice at likely as heterosexual people to experience bullying, abuse and violence.

It is hardly surprising that as a result of discriminatory behaviour, abuse and violence, LGBTI young people experience depression and anxiety at higher rates and are at greater risk of self-harm and suicide. Further, LGBTI young people who have suffered homophobic or transphobic abuse, have an increased risk of feeling less safe, being an early school leaver, experiencing homelessness and engaging in risky use of alcohol/drugs.

Assessment of emotional concerns

During your first session we meet with you and your child and conduct a clinical interview to identify your child’s underlying emotional concerns and to develop a personalised, evidence-based treatment plan. For more detailed information on what to expect in your first session with us, please visit our Appointments page.

Treatment

Individual treatment

We can use a number of approaches to treat your child’s underlying emotional and social concerns, including:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (for treating anxiety, depression, self-harm and risk of suicide),
  • Exposure-response therapy (for treating anxiety),
  • Social skills training (intervention for social isolation), and
  • Assertiveness training (for bullying).

Parenting strategies

If your child is LGBTI and is experiencing anxiety, depression, self-harm or risk of suicide, we can help you to understand your child’s underlying concerns. We can also help you to develop parenting strategies to help you to understand your role in and the steps you can take to help to address your child’s concerns.

If you are concerned that your LGBTI child is experiencing depression, anxiety, self-harm or risk of suicide, and you would like us to help, please contact us to schedule an appointment.

‘Reparative therapies’

Same-sex attracted and gender-bending young people cannot be ‘cured’ of their gender or sexual identity. Services that claim to offer ‘reparative therapy’ that can change same-sex attracted people into heterosexual people do not have empirical evidence to support their claims. Same-sex attracted and gender-bending young people cannot be changed into something that they are not and it is unreasonable and unkind to suggest that they should do so. Same-sex attracted and gender-bending young people suffer greatly from such misunderstanding, unrealistic expectations and misguided beliefs from their family and friends.

If you need help to understand how to support a young person in your life who is same-sex attracted or gender-bending, please contact us to schedule an appointment.