Understanding LGBTQ+, same-sex attraction the first question you need to ask yourself is, "Are You Safe to Talk To?"
We have learned a lot about same-sex attraction (LGBTQ+) and have much more to learn.
The fact is, there is no one answer to the array of questions surrounding the LGBT conversation. We know that the search for acceptance, connection, and love are universal despite one’s sexual orientation.
When we add controversy, shame, and confusion to the search for connection, the implications are astounding!
Sexuality comes from a natural, instinctual, part of the brain (the limbic system); It’s built-in to us, like the need for air, food, and water.
The logical part of our brain, the pre-frontal or cerebral cortex manages higher functions, thinking, and values: The Processor.
The Limbic brain does not process, it simply wants what is necessary to avoid pain and survive. ‘IT” wants to feel like things are ok and in a comfortable cycle.
When conflict arises between these 2 parts of our brain, we tend to go into fight or flight sequences.
Sexuality in and of itself is one the most conflict driven topics to humanity. Add the controversies of being LGBT to that conflict and it makes chaotic sense why the topic is so heated.
The reality regarding conversations regarding our human sexuality is that the majority of humans are conflict avoidant. Unless backed into a corner, we prefer resolution rather than a fight regarding our sexual natures.
If the answer were as simple as “just choose” don’t you think most LGBT individuals would have already done that?
Questioning Sex as Survival
Now some people would question,
‘Well, is sex really a survival requirement? Is it comparable to air, water and food?’
If you don’t have sex right here, right now, will you die? Of course not. However, the human race is designed to be sexual in order to survive as a race. The idea of the sexual drive being instinctive is very important for understanding our sexual natures.
Most of us desire sexual experiences, but as we add conflict to these sexual inclinations it gets extremely confusing. The vast majority who experience same-sex attraction are confused by it and fear to talk about it. They wonder,
‘Why is this my experience?’.
‘I don’t want to choose this. What is wrong with me?’
For almost all individuals in the LGBT community, they feel like ‘It chose me’, instead of them making a conscious choice to have the sexual orientation that they feel.
In fact, in our interviews with dozens of LGBT individuals, they report experiencing denial and self-rejection; Often to the point of wanting life to end due to feeling rejected by self and others.
When hundreds of humans are feeling the extreme “flight” response to end their lives due to something they can’t control, perhaps we need to ask if we are having the right conversations on the topic of LGBT.
The mere fact that sexuality is very powerful and drives us to seek out a mate helps, more fully, illustrate sexuality as part of survival.
Understanding the brain can certainly help us in realizing sexuality is literally an instinct and a survival type of an approach in processing experiences.
There are few questions more controversial than whether someone is LGBT, attracted to the same-sex, due to the environment or simply being born that way. In our experience, most LGBT individuals report having always felt that way.
The reality is none of us have control over another person’s emotions or sexual orientation, so in the end… it does not matter.
We have seen that the more conflict and negativity LGBT individuals experience, they are likely to flee. In many cases, they will fully disengage from contact and communication with these friends, family and social circles of conflict.
Most importantly, someone who is LGBT is NOT broken. In the way, society and culture have dealt with and communicated regarding the topic is what is broken.
Compassion and love are the most powerful antidotes in healing.
You just found out your child is gay what do you do?
This is the question many parents and loved ones ask themselves.
- The next question is how can I fix them?
- How can I get rid of, crush it, kill it and destroy this gayness?
With these questions asked so many times, we decided to address these questions here:
First, love your child.
We know it’s hard for you to learn this news, but also realize it was hard for them to tell you.
You may be thinking, “How did this happen? I must NOT have been a good parent. I must NOT of taught them well enough. I am a bad parent. I should of … “
You may be thinking that you should take your child to reparative therapy so you can fix them from having this same-sex attraction.
Again, love your child. Sit down with them, talk to them, discover how they are feeling.
Here is our philosophy towards helping those who are experiencing Same-Sex Attraction (Gay, LGBT, Homosexual)
- In short, we believe reparative or (gay to straight) conversion therapy is WRONG!
- We believe every child and adult is divine.
We believe that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. He does not make “mistakes”; God unconditionally loves us all.
When counseling LGBTQ+ individuals, we meet each client in a place of compassion and empathetic support based on their goals in life.
Our mission is to help families and their LGBT children connect and communicate; working through emotional injury, unhealthy coping mechanisms, or disconnection that have come from a result of trying to cope in the dark. (See the startling results of rejection below!)
LGBT teens and adults experiencing rejection in their families are:
- Nearly 6 times as likely to have high levels of depression;
- 8 times more likely to attempt suicide;
- More than 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs; and
- 3 times as likely to engage in unprotected sexual behaviors that put them at increased risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Working through this process can be a matter of life or death and we’re dedicated to connecting and healing your family. We are here to help.
We work with clients in:
- attaining deep self-worth
- and confidence.
We want you and your child to realize that you are of worth and add value. You are not broken. You each have different challenges and struggles, but we all do.
Learn to love each other for where you are at and who you are.
Our therapeutic process with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA, LGBT)?
A person with Same-Sex Attraction (gay, lesbian or LGBT) is not broken. We believe they must receive love, support, and compassion to find any form of healing, whatever healing may be to them.
We believe we must have a Christ-like love for all men and women, despite race, gender, or sexual orientation. Often we will have an individual experiencing same-sex attraction come into the office and just cry.
They feel so lost and alone in this world because of their desire to be with someone of the same gender.
It is hard for most people to understand why or how they could be attracted to the same gender. Don’t worry about trying to understand, just worry about loving them for who they are.
In summation of what you've read so far and to understand our approach to LGBTQ+:
We do NOT:
- do reparative or (gay to straight) conversion therapy.
- believe SSA is an addiction or disorder.
- use language like “Overcome SSA.” Such language creates an emotion of an individual inherently being broken and unequal.
- believe SSA is a choice someone simply does or does not make.
- BELIEVE that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father who does not make mistakes; He unconditionally loves us all.
- meet each client in a place of compassion and empathetic support based on their goals in life.
- help families and their LGBT children connect and communicate;
- work through emotional injury
- help manage unhealthy coping mechanisms
- repair disconnection that has come from a result of trying to cope in the dark.
- work with clients in attaining real value and self-worth,
- build connection, compassion, and confidence.
Why do you work with LGBTQ+ clients?
The primary answer is to save lives. We have worked with a lot of LGBT+ teenage and adult clients, most of them have seriously contemplated suicide before coming in. Over half of them have never told their parents about their contemplation.
Years ago I had a client who after a few months of therapy opened up about being gay. He didn’t know how to communicate with his parents, he felt alone and conflicted.
This individual was failing school and got into a dark depressive state where he was contemplating ending his life. The young man had become disconnected from social settings, was isolating, and coping with addiction.
Fast forward a few years later; this client is connected with his family, working, attending school, and thriving.
Can LGBTQ+ stay connected with their family?
Is it possible for LGBT teens to stay connected with families and prosper in today’s culture?
Without a doubt, YES!
However, getting the right kind of help is fundamental to long-term progress.
A few years ago, we had a conversation with a friend about a gay relative. The summary of the conversation went something like this,
“My parents and most of us don’t really talk to him anymore. I just don’t really know what to think. We love him, but… I mean, I don’t want my kids hanging around him.”
These kinds of stories break our hearts. Because there is a better way, a different way.
These types of emotions inspired us to implement LGBT Counseling at Utah Family Therapy.
We were seeing so many LGBT individuals isolating and not staying connected with their families; we had to do something. Too many stories of suicides and attempts were surfacing and continue to this day.
The ability to openly and honestly communicate is fundamental to individuals in the LGBT community and their families; in fact, it’s essential in all emotional health.
Same-Sex Attraction IS NOT a disease or illness.
They do not need a cure. What LGBT individuals need is their family and friends to treat them with dignity, respect, and love.
We all need love and connection; it is deep-seated to our well-being and survival as humans. Our goal at Utah Family Therapy is to help navigate the emotional waters of family, the world, and religious cultures when a family member comes out as LGBT.
Being a therapy clinic in American Fork, Utah, we are asked what stance the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes on being LGBT and more specifically if we feel we are in alignment with the way we do the treatment.
Here are a few excerpts, taken directly from LDS leadership.
“No one fully knows the root causes of same-sex attraction. Each experience is different. Latter-day Saints recognize the enormous complexity of this matter. We simply don’t have all the answers. Attraction to those of the same-sex, however, should not be viewed as a disease or illness. We must not judge anyone for the feelings they experience.” http://mormonsandgays.org/
Quentin L. Cook said,
“As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”
Yes we believe we are completely aligned with the Church’s stance, which is love, care and support them.
Our mission is to help you find healing, safety and a place of compassion and love.
*Utah Family Therapy is not owned, operated, or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Call Utah Family Therapy today to schedule an assessment, 801.901.0279
“My anxiety just melts away when I come here.” – J.P.
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