Potential problems with people as a lesbian Potential problems with people as a lesbian
Even though people say the world has become more tolerant, there still are numerous problems faced by people identified as LGBT. In some... Potential problems with people as a lesbian

Even though people say the world has become more tolerant, there still are numerous problems faced by people identified as LGBT.

In some countries and states we still can’t marry, in others it is illegal to even be out while in some places being an LGBT could get you killed. Even in more accepting countries, there can be difficulties: Family members can be against the “lifestyle choice” as some still call it; Bosses, colleagues and neighbours can still be judgemental or even hostile.

This can be difficult.

The acceptance of parents and siblings mean the world to most people, and this includes their acceptance of your choice of partner. Sometimes, though, a parent (or sibling) can dislike the love you choose. The reason for this, of course, does not have to be because of their gender. There is no easy way to solve this problem, as human emotions are not a computer file that can be re-written. Often the tension eases over the years when parents see how much your partner means to you and the partner learns to deal with the parents. Don’t pick sides and try to avoid arguments.

Trouble with neighbours is the worst, as it is not something you can walk away from easily. If you are facing hostile neighbours and are actually scared of them, don’t do anything that could aggravate the situation or that could point any blame your way. Try to get evidence of what they do: save any letters/e-mails/social media threats, or maybe try and capture their behaviour on camera. Also, ask for help and protection, be it from the police or social welfare support groups.

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If you are forced to put up with people at work, there is merit in the old practise of “letting them talk”. As long as someone is not harming you or has it in for you personally, let people spill their bile and ignore it. This one might seem odd: why would you tolerate those who do not tolerate you?

Well, it just makes things easier. Often people are so fixed in their opinions that it is a waste of time to get upset about it or to try and change them. Smile, think of something positive and then carry on with your day. It might be hard, but sometimes a positive attitude like that can help turn people around.

Another important thing: if you are living in a country where LGBT people cannot get legal partnership, make sure that you create a legal document where your partner has access to you when something happens and they have to go to hospital or vice versa. This is a problem many LGBT have faced and it affected their lives significantly. Get something legally documented, in order to make sure you do not get separated in times of need.

When faced with these or other difficult situations, the most important thing is finding people who are supportive of you. Try to find a support group. In some places, these are not easily available, though. This is why LGBT people often have to build their own social support networks whether in physical form or through the Internet. The difference a friendly person in a chat-room or an understanding e-mail can make must not be under-estimated.

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The other important thing is inner strength: when faced with disapproval and homophobia from people around us, don’t let it drag you down mentally. Build your self esteem by positive affirmations. Search for positive quotes, poems and songs about gay life or simple general positive affirmations from books and the Internet, and repeat these to yourself daily or as often as you feel necessary. Memorise them if needed. If you believe that you matter, that you are a worthy person, and practice building your inner strength daily, other people will not be able to break you.

Dannii Cohen

Dannii Cohen

Dannii Cohen is a psychologist, counsellor and author specialised in LGBT issues.