Life Supports provides nonjudgmental and affirmative counselling support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexuality- and gender-diverse people. Although many individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community lead happy and healthy lives, current research shows a disproportionate percentage experience poorer mental health outcomes than their peers. This isn’t specifically because of their sexuality or gender identity, but due to the unique experiences of prejudice, stigma, and discrimination faced on the basis of being LGBTQIA+. We understand reaching out can be daunting and anxiety-inducing, especially if this is your first time. In the midst of a heteronormative and cis-normative world, therapists at Life Supports are here to offer a safe, informed, and client-centred space for you to talk about whatever is going on.
Sociocultural shifts and legal reforms are slowly shifting toward a more progressive world, moving us into a more inclusive time for those identifying as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Still, we aren’t completely there.
Discrimination and stigma still persist, and being queer can mean being vulnerable to a unique set of stressors from living outside of the cisgender or heterosexual box. LaTrobe University’s Private Lives 3 study revealed 73.2% of LGBTQIA+ people report having been diagnosed with a mental health condition sometime in their life (compared to only 45.5% of the general population), indicating an excessively greater burden of mental health challenges and psychological stress compared to cishet Australians. A lot of these struggles can be linked to an increased risk of exposure to discrimination and marginalization, both through institutions (like in places of work, or healthcare) or interpersonal (in their friendships, families, or relationships).
These experiences may leave you feeling isolated, anxious, ashamed, or unheard. You might feel that no one is listening, or no one cares.
Life Supports counsellors and psychologists are trained and skilled at working with concerns and needs commonly experienced by people who identify as LGBTQIA+, their partners, and their families. An informed therapist means your therapeutic relationship revolves around understanding, growth, and affirmation, rather than starting from a place of uncertainty around acceptance, allyship, or inclusivity.
There’s no one-size-fits all when it comes to counselling in general, and the same is true for LGBTQIA+ counselling. Life Supports therapists are here for you to explore and navigate all of life’s complexities, building relationship skills, facilitating difficult conversations and transitions, and improving your overall wellbeing – with the assurance the space being held for you is informed, affirmative, and welcoming.
Maybe you’re still questioning, or maybe you’ve decided it’s time to tell others about your sexuality or gender identity. This can be an exciting, affirming, and freeing moment for someone! We also understand that it’s common to experience fear, alienation, or estrangement. Coming out is often accompanied by stress and anxiety around facing not only societal reactions, but also the responses of those closest to you. Everyone moves through the coming out process at different paces, in different ways, and to different extents. It can feel overwhelming trying to decide who to tell, how to tell them, and how much to share.
You could also want a safe space to discuss lived experiences in our hetero- and cis-normative world. LGBTQIA+ people may lean into families of choice and the community around them as safe, affirmative spaces; unfortunately, families of origin, workplaces, and wider society can create less accepting and supportive environments. Experiences of homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are a reality for many, and can represent significant trauma.
Life Supports counsellors are here to support you regardless of where you are in your journey with practical, meaningful strategies aimed at reducing chronic stress and anxiety, and promoting wellbeing, resilience, and connection.
Building strong, healthy support systems can be challenging for anyone. While people from LGBTQIA+ communities are often overrepresented in a range of poor health outcomes, we also know that connection to supportive relationships with peers, partners, and families helps people thrive. LGBTQIA-affirmative strengths-based counselling can help you to clarify your feelings and thoughts about your sexuality and/or gender identity, and navigate your way through the world living as your authentic self.
If you’re the parent, carer or family member of a young person who identifies as LGBTQIA+, you may be wondering how you can best support them. Whether you think your child may be LGBTQIA+, or they have come out to you as sexually or gender diverse, family and parenting counselling can help you process the thoughts and emotions you’re experiencing.
Although many parents experience a sense of relief when their child trusts them by confiding their sexual or gender identity, for some parents feelings of surprise, confusion, and fear for their child’s future safety and wellbeing may surface. LGBTQIA-friendly counselling can help you and your family to explore and process any concerns or fears you may have about your child’s identity. Counselling can also clarify practical, impactful support strategies that ensure your family is well- equipped and confident in navigating the future together.
Life Supports counsellors and psychologists can meet your needs wherever you are in your journey. Counselling with a therapist who specialises in LGBTQIA+ counselling can help you navigate the experience of living in a world you might feel like wasn’t built with you in mind. Our practitioners are affirmative, nonjudgmental, and informed regarding the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals seeking professional therapeutic support.
AFAB An acronym standing for “Assigned Female At Birth”. It is a term for a person of any gender identity who was given the designation of “female” when they were born.
AMAB An acronym standing for “Assigned Male At Birth”. It is a term for a person of any gender identity who was given the designation of “male” when they were born.
Ally An ally is someone who stands up for, supports, and affirms people in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Asexual Refers to someone who does not experience sexual attraction.
Biphobia The irrational fear of, aversion to, and/or discrimination against bisexual people.
Bisexual Refers to someone who is attracted to people of the same and opposite gender to themselves.
Cisgender Refers to someone whose gender identity aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth.
Cishet Refers to someone who is both cisgender (see above) and heterosexual (see below). This means they identify with their assigned sex, and are attracted to people of the opposite gender.
Coming Out A metaphor stemming from ‘coming out of the closet’ that describes the process of self-disclosure around someone’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Deadname A name someone, specifically within the transgender community, was given at birth and no longer uses upon transitioning.
Dysphoria The sense of discomfort or distress someone may have due to a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.
Gay Refers to someone attracted to the same gender as them.
Gender Refers to an identity tied to characteristics of an identity (traditionally man or woman, but can be many forms) that is socially constructed. Gender is often used interchangeably with sex - while there may be overlap, sex has a biological basis, while gender is socially-coded.
Gender identity Someone’s personal sense of identifying as a particular gender. Your gender identity does not necessarily correspond to their biological sex.
Genderqueer Someone who doesn’t identify as traditional gender distinctions (man or woman), but identifies as neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.
Homophobia The irrational fear of, aversion to, and/or discrimination against same-sex-attracted people.
Heterocentric Widely-held assumption (cultural, social, political) that heterosexuality and cisgenderism are ‘normal’ or the preferred sexual orientation and gender status.
Intersex Umbrella term for people born with a variance in their reproductive or sexual anatomy: they do not fit the typical definition of a ‘male’ or ‘female’ body.
Lesbian A woman attracted to other women.
LGBTQIA+ Umbrella term that refers to people who are sexuality, sex and/or gender diverse (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual).
Misgender To refer to someone, especially someone who is transgender, using a pronoun or form of address which does not accurately reflect the gender they identify as.
Nonbinary An umbrella term for gender identities that do not contrain to gender binary (strictly male/man or female/woman).
Pansexual Refers to someone who is attracted to people of all genders and biological sexes.
Queer A reclaimed umbrella term for people who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender.
Questioning Refers to those in the process of discovery/exploration around their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression.
Sex Refers to the anatomical, genetic, or physical attributes defining if a person is male, female, or intersex. Sex is often used interchangeably with gender - while there may be overlap, sex has a biological basis, while gender is socially-coded.
Sexual orientation Refers to someone’s identity in relation to the gender/genders they are sexually attracted to.
Transgender Relating to a person whose sense of personal and gender identity doesn’t align with their assigned sex at birth. Often shortened to trans.
Transitioning The process of changing one’s gender presentation or sex characteristics to align with one’s sense of gender identity.
Transphobia The irrational fear of, aversion to, and/or discrimination against transgender people.