It’s Not Easy Being Gay

Although it has become increasingly more accepted by our society over the last few decades, it’s definitely still not easy being gay.

People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, continue to suffer from discrimination and stigma due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

it's not easy being gay

And yet – same sex attraction is more common than most people realise:

  • In Australia, 9% of adult men and 15% of women are attracted to the same sex, although only around 2% of people actually identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
  • Transgender people account for around 1 in every 500-11,500 people.
  • Intersex people account for around 1 in 200-2,000 people.

Why It’s Not Easy Being Gay

Research shows that members of the gay and lesbian community are almost twice as at risk of discrimination and social exclusion, compared to non-LGBT people. This means that they are also more vulnerable to mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety disorders, suicide and self-harm.

Here are just some of the reasons why it’s not easy being gay:

  • you are more likely to become a target of discrimination due to your sexual orientation or gender identity. Discrimination can be both obvious and subtle in work, school and social situations.
  • Because of the fears of discrimination, you may find it is not often easy to disclose your sexual/gender identity.
  • You cannot be who you really are in many settings, which causes a great deal of psychological stress.
  • Because of discrimination, chances are you will experience reduced access to employment and educational opportunities, creating further stress and difficulties in daily life.
  • You are more at risk of being isolated because of difficulties in disclosing your concerns to other people – it can be tough to find somebody you can relate to.
  • You will likely avoid certain situations due to fear of discrimination, and become socially isolated.
  • Not surprisingly, you are at increased risk of turning to alcohol and other substances, which only creates further problems.

Taking Care of YOU

Your mental health is important! Build resilience by making sure that you:

  • Have emotional connection with other people in the community;
  • Know where you can seek professional support when needed;
  • Make a point of learning stress and anxiety management skills while you are still psychologically healthy, to prevent mental health concerns down the track.

Counselling with a psychologist or other mental health professional can be a source of vital social support that can potentially bring you the following benefits:

  • Skills to better handle stress and anxiety;
  • Better self-esteem;
  • Improved mood;
  • Better able to explore and understand your own identity;
  • Strategies to help you get good quality sleep, diet and exercise;
  • Help with any issues you may have with drugs or alcohol.

It is important for LGBT people to receive extra care and support in the community. Here are some organisations that you can contact for resources, information and support:

If you have been finding that life is a struggle, and it’s not easy being gay, please take care of you by making an appointment to see a psychologist soon.

Yu Takizawa psychologistAuthor: Yu Takizawa, B Sc (Hons), M Couns, M App Psych.

Yu Takizawa is a Brisbane psychologist, fluent in both English and Japanese. He is particularly interested in offering counselling and psychotherapy services to people who are facing cultural challenges (such as being LGBT), and problems with anxiety.

To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Yu Takizawa, you can try Online Booking – Mt Gravatt or call Vision Psychology (Mt Gravatt) by freecalling 1800 877 924.