Our neighbor put up Trump flags. Our neighbors behind us clearly are also supporters they just don’t have the flags up. Our neighbors to our left are on the Blue team. Our neighbors to our right have never spoken to us…so assuming they are on the Red team. We’ve literally waved, run over to greet them, and our kids have tried engaging them, and nada. So we are assuming it’s homophobia and conservatism.
I’ve had to start turning away referrals lately because I’m booked; specifically teenage and kid referrals. I like to keep them at half or less of my caseload as they are more labor intensive (aka their parents are more labor intensive), and I’m finding the younger kids struggle with the telehealth. I also would rather invest my time and energy into the Queer folk.
I never want to have to turn away a Queer referral, so I have to turn away the hetero’s to keep some space.
Some people get salty. I get it. They want what they want, they’ve often been referred to me by some one they know, and have heard from some one that I know what I’m doing. All good things. But I have to set my own boundaries as a practitioner. I won’t be a good practitioner if I take on too many clients who require too much of my time and energy. New teens always require a lot of my time and energy. I need to reserve it for the Queer people.
I know that being very up front about who I’m reserving my time and emotional space for, especially when they don’t fit that criteria, rubs some people the wrong way. It rubs practitioners who want me to take referrals and patients the wrong way. Especially when they are white and straight.
I say this with love. Because I used to be white and straight. I get it.
What I’ve learned is that if a practitioner has basic training and skills they can treat any one who is white and straight. I’ve also learned that it takes more training, more empathy, and more skills to treat niche and minority populations. I reserve my time for Queer people because I know they are mistreated by the general medical and psychiatric community. I know this because I am a Queer person who has been mistreated and discriminated against by the general medical and psychiatric community in my area.
Some one asked me recently if I treat any #45 supporters. I responded that to my knowledge only 1 out of 500. They didn’t really believe me. I said it used to be more before I made clear my priorities to myself.
Let’s talk statistics.
Queers have up to 6-8 times more likelihood of committing suicide. I can cite about a dozen studies. Gay men have 3 times higher risk of suicide. Trans individuals up to 8 times higher liklihood of suicide attempts and completed suicide.
Gays, lesbians, and trans folk have 3-6 times higher rates of depression than the general heterosexual population. Again this is in multiple studies. I have a bibliography from a presentation I have on Queer mental health that I am happy to provide.
13 states do not recognize crimes perpetrated against the LGBTQ population as hate crimes and they all have actively voted down legislation to say otherwise.
5 states have “Don’t say gay” education laws and policies
2 states do not allow changing your gender on your birth certificate. Period.
About 50% of the LGBTQ population is protected by current laws. Meaning 50% of the Queer population have NO legal protections related to discrimination.
Make no mistake the Queer population faces violence, murders, rape, and many other overt and covert aggressions on a daily basis no matter where we are located geographically.
So when I say I keep room open for my Queer folk this is why. Because we are put down, we are killed for being who we are. Why would I not prioritize the mental healthcare of my own minority status community?
Knowing three out of my four neighbors support our current administration makes me feel unsafe and unsupported. Every Queer person living with a Red flag next door is feeling unsafe and unsupported. My Queer clients are cutting off family members or being cut off by family members during this election year. My Queer clients are cutting themselves with self loathing and abusing substances at higher rates, and are homeless at higher rates than their heterosexual peers.
I shouldn’t have to justify prioritizing a minority population that is suffering. But I find myself doing just that.
Recognize your privilege and stop. Stop and think. Do you need specialized care? Are you a minority? Do you have minority stress on top of baseline mental health issues?
I’m not trying to minimize the plight of the white heterosexual who suffers from mental illness. I’m pointing out that your needs may be met at any number of practices and with any number of practitioners. If you try to insist on seeing a practitioner who specializes in any minority when they have explicitly said no, just stop. Ask for referrals to other providers. Recognize that you do not need a specialty provider.
If this makes you uncomfortable it’s because you have not examined your privilege and are guilty of acting out with entitlement.
I’d suggest you examine your privilege and stop acting out of entitlement.