Over the last few decades we have witnessed a move away from the binary view of gender. Nowadays, many of us have opened up their thinking about sexual identity and sexual orientation. And as these openings have been created, resistance has grown towards these openings, too. Unfortunately, discrimination towards individuals with a non-binary view of themselves and their own sexual identity has not yet stopped. Boys and girls, men and women still experience isolation and discrimination as a result of their own embrace of who they are.
I work with individuals who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex. Among them I have encountered great courage, great perseverance, great honesty and authenticity. But I also tasted the bitter fruits they have endured of isolation and rejection, hatred and violence, discrimination and exclusion. As a wise man in Botswana once told me: “Our sexuality touches every aspect of who it is we think we are.”
Finding the truth of who it is that you are, deep within yourself, is an audacious undertaking towards self-acceptance; an undertaking that needs safety and respect. It requires support and strength. Self-acceptance thrives on community and relating. Embracing yourself blossoms on moments of joy and laughter. And it prospers on the strength to process feelings of anger, sadness and fear.
Counselling: Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
For many individuals who (are made to) feel they’re the “odd ones out” it can be stressful and traumatic to live with your secrets, your truths, your views on life, love and sexuality. These wounds require care and attention. They require recognition. And eventually they require healing and personal growth.
How the process of counselling goes is fully dependent on your individual circumstances. It would not be wise if I were to provide a plan of action here before hearing your personal journey. For me to offer support, I would need to know how your environment handles your own discoveries.
Have a look at the information provided by the American Psychological Association on the themes of sexual orientation and gender identity; they ofer some very good starting points if you (or a loved one) is struggling with these very important aspects of our identity.