Sexual orientation is the term used to describe what gender(s) you are sexually and/or romantically attracted to. Gender identity is how you feel about and express your gender. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not mental illnesses.
Gender dysphoria is listed as a psychological condition in the DSM-V to account for the significant distress a person might experience when their gender identity or expression does not correspond with their gender assigned at birth.
Despite rapidly growing cultural acceptance of diverse sexual and romantic orientations and gender identifications, oppression, discrimination and marginalization of LGBTQIA still persist. Coping with discrimination and oppression, coming out to your family and sorting out an authentic sense of who you are while dealing with social expectations and pressure can lead to higher levels of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health concerns.
Youth who identify as LGBTQIA are at increased risk of suicidal ideation and self harm, particularly when they also experience discrimination based on their sexual or gender identity. They are ten times more likely to experience bullying, twice as likely to consider suicide, and are subject to discrimination, harassment and other violations of basic human rights.
Whether you are trying to determine where you are on the sexual orientation/gender identity spectrum, or want to focus on changing yourself to better represent your internal reality, through a change of name or dress, or the use of medication or surgery, I will help you develop clarity around these issues, and offer support to help you manage discrimination, rejection and harassment. I maintain a list of resources for anyone dealing with gender issues.