“Nature loves diversity. Unfortunately, society hates it.” This quote from the grandfather of gender diversity Micky Diamond summarises so much about the unnecessary damage done to many in our LGBTIQ+ communities.
Gender and sexual diversity is in our species DNA. However, sadly, our brains also hard-wired wariness of others who seem different to ourselves.
Consequently, people become stigmatised and misunderstood. Many of us grow up believing that there is something wrong with us. We think that we need to hide who we really are.
Otherwise, we will suffer hurt and rejection from the people closest to us and shame from others.
That can lead to deeply held beliefs that impact our mental health and wellbeing. Dealing with these issues is often central to many in our communities.
Coming to terms with and transitioning to living as your authentic self is a bloody tough process. Fortunately, we have low and no-cost resources in Brisbane to assist.
Messages that young people hear at home, school and in the media do damage. “Boys should look and act like boys and girls should act and look like girls.”
Those messages can clash with a kid’s sense of who they are. They can cause a deep sense of shame. Finally, it can lead to a suppression of the self. It can steal the joy that comes with a carefree childhood.
Children can fear that expressing their real self is somehow wrong, disordered, disgusting, defective and in some families sinful.
Young people adapt by creating an avatar that looks and acts like everyone else though sadly, not their authentic self. This doesn’t only apply to gender. Many gay, lesbian and bisexual people share the same experience.
Additionally, people fear rejection by the people that matter most to them. This fear can lead to people not coming out as gender diverse until later in life.
Another possible impact is a deeply held belief that no matter where they are, they will never fit in, belong or feel valued.
Many can end up isolated which can increase the risk of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
How gender diverse people can overcome these challenges
An effective way to overcome this damage and move towards an integration and expression of the authentic self can include understanding these underlying issues, gaining support both individually and in groups, with counselling, peer and social supports.
Centre for Human Potential provides a low cost/cost-free program that provides this type of support for up to a year.
Call 07 3211 1117 or go to the website at cfhp.com.au to obtain information about this program.
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