So here you are, reading a blog about being an LGBTQIA+ woman. Do you already identify as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community? Or are you considering the idea of “maybe I’m not straight?” Wherever you’re at on the spectrum of identifying, we’re glad you’re here.
Did you know that LGBTQIA+ folx are three times more likely than cis-gendered and heterosexual individuals to experience mental health conditions? Additionally, more than one in five women experience a mental health concern. When you take both of these statistics into account, it’s clear that women who identify as LGBTQIA+ are more likely to suffer from mental illness. When you consider all the reasons why a person with these intersecting identities may encounter so many internal battles, it makes sense.
Expectations of Women
Women are held to high expectations. Go to school, become a wife, have children, manage a household, sustain a marriage. Oh! And you need to have a high-level career while you do all those things. Sounds easy enough, right?
Nope! It’s not easy. And you’re not weak for feeling frustrated about all the burdens you carry, or counseling for women. These may be the burdens of your parents, children, spouse, or boss. And now, you may be feeling free from these burdens. You’re considering your true identity, beginning to come out, or have been living authentically as an LGBTQIA+ person for years. But, you may feel more pressure than ever to be perfect. Many factors play into why LGBTQIA+ women often feel unsupported.
Without a sense of community, humans often feel isolated and unsupported. For those in the LGBTQIA+ community, support and validation are very important. And when you frequent a community that you don’t feel comfortable in, it can create lots of internal confusion. This may even be like the one you may be in now.
Even if you have the best allies for friends, they may not get it as a queer friend might. They will not understand what it’s like to be holding hands with your partner of the same sex and get dirty looks. And they won’t recognize the pain when your mutual friend makes a derogatory comment towards trans+ folx. Maybe your friends have supported your coming out. In fact, they’ve been awesome at asking thoughtful questions. But, likely, you’ll still feel weird talking about your first hookup. And that’s okay. It makes sense. When we try to fit the molds of those around us, we shrink ourselves down. We take up less space to make others feel comfortable. This is a shared experience among women and LGBTQIA+ identifying folx.
I’m not telling you to ditch your straight friends. But, what I do encourage is for you to find a community of people in which you don’t have to fit a mold. And if you’re not ready for that step, that’s okay. LGBTQ therapy offers support as well. Working with an LGBTQIA+ affirming therapist can help support you while you navigate this time of transition.
LGBTQIA+ Women and Coming Out
While you’re trying to figure out who you are and what this new understanding of yourself means, you deserve nothing but support. You should be proud of yourself for looking inward to question anything at all! Self-reflection is a large part of growth and working toward mental wellness. We can’t change what we don’t know, right? When you begin LGBTQ therapy at Moxie, we encourage you to explore all the parts of yourself that make you unique. Including your sexual orientation and gender identity.
LGBTQIA+ Women Coming Out to Family
When you begin sharing about your identity or partner, you may experience resistance. Family and friends may question you. Your mom may not stop calling your partner your “new friend” and you feel like you’re going to lose it sooner or later. Or you’re anxious because you know your homophobic uncle is going to be inappropriate at dinner. Even with all the progress made over the past few decades toward equality. The sad reality is that some people will not like that you’re stepping outside of the “box” they’ve put you in. Again, this is a common experience among both women and LGBTQIA+ individuals. Only heightening the intersectional experience of those with both identities.
LGBTQIA+ Women Coming Out Later in Life
Coming out later in life can be daunting. All of a sudden, you’re questioning all your past relationships. On top of that, you may feel uncomfortable in your skin because of the feeling that you’re being inauthentic. Plus, let’s not forget about all the pressures you’re already under due to the pressures of being a woman.
You may have been married to a man for decades. You may even share children with him. But, you’ve known for years this relationship wasn’t working because of your sexual orientation. Or, perhaps because there are finally trans+ people in the media, you feel confident enough to identify as non-binary, gender non-conforming, or trans. But, what does this mean for the life you’ve lived up until now? And where do you go from here?
Just Know, You Are Not a Fraud
Your life until now has not been a lie. Instead, you are right where you need to be. All your lived experiences are still as beautiful as they were before you came out. Now, you have the opportunity to create a beautiful life with new people in it moving forward. Remember when we discussed community? You’re going to need one of those!
Whether you find a group on Facebook, fire up Bumble, or call up your local LGBTIQA+ organization. Finding a community is so crucial during this time. If you’re not quite ready to be all-in on this community thing, that’s okay too. Find at least one safe person to talk to, like a friend. Or, even a therapist counseling for women. Unfortunately, you will likely encounter microaggressions or discrimination as an LGBTQIA+ identifying person. And you deserve to have an outlet for all the situations and questions that arise during this time. We offer an outlet for your questions and concerns through counseling for women and LGBTQ therapy.
Parenting for LGBTQIA+ Women
So many questions come up when we enter the realm of LGBTQIA+ folx parenting and creating families. These situations can exacerbate the anxiety you may already be experiencing about your identity. For LGBTQIA+ women looking to create a family, there are questions about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and adoption. And, the answers to these questions all depend on you, your partner, and your values. Counseling for women can help you hone in on what’s best for you and your future family.
On the other hand, when women come out later in life, there are parenting adjustments that must be made. If children are young, what will co-parenting look like? How will your partner or ex respond to your coming out? Of course, the hope is that they will be supportive and encouraging. But unfortunately, this may not be your reality.
Plus, what about dating? There are now questions about how to introduce new partners and install boundaries. You and a new partner may pursue living together and later on, having children. As with any heterosexual relationship, these situations create added pressure for women.
Support for LGBTQIA+ Women in California
Women are expected to be glue. The thing that holds together not only themselves, but families, organizations, and communities. It is assumed that women operate to please others and be selfless. Here at Moxie, we can confidently share that others’ happiness is not your burden. You deserve to live your life authentically. Yes, there will be challenges. However, our LGBTQ therapists are here to listen, validate, and support you through them. Our affirming therapists are understanding the impactful intersection of being a woman and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. We want to help you understand and channel your power into becoming the most authentic version of yourself.
Begin Counseling for Women in Orange County, CA
You deserve to have a community of support. We would be honored to be part of that community. Our caring therapists offer LGBTQ therapy from our Orange County, CA-based therapy practice. If you would like to start your therapy journey, follow these simple steps:
- Schedule a free consultation
- Meet with someone from our team of caring therapists
- Begin counseling for women and become your most authentic self
Other Services Offered at Moxie Family Therapy
LGBTQ therapy isn’t the only service that we offer in our Orange County Counseling Practice or via Online Counseling. Other services Moxie Family Therapy provides include counseling for women, counseling for young adults, counseling for college students, couples counseling, counseling for teen girls, counseling for children, play therapy, art therapy, and family therapy. Contact our therapy practice to work on the issues that matter most to you, so you can get your moxie back