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    Other Frequently Asked Questions for LGBTQ

    What is the Counseling Center’s philosophy in serving LGBTQ-identified students?

    The staff of the Monmouth University Counseling Center strive to affirm, promote, and celebrate diversity. We are committed to be aware of and understand diversity in its broadest sense. Prejudice and discrimination are detrimental to our students. Counseling Center staff strongly support the American Psychological Association (APA) view that homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender identity represent healthy variations of sexuality and gender expression.

    I’m feeling bad about being gay or transgender. Is this normal?

    Unfortunately, it is common for LGBTQI-identified people to have negative thoughts and feelings about their sexual and gender identifies due to societal homophobia and transphobia (negative feelings and thoughts directed toward yourself regarding your gender identity). A visit to the Counseling Center may help you achieve greater self-acceptance.

    I just came out to one of my friends, who is having a really hard time dealing with it. How can I help my friend?

    Explain to your friend that you’re the same person you were before coming out. The only difference is that your friend has discovered something about you that was not known before, and in fact, your friend now knows you more authentically. It’s important to give your friend permission to ask you questions. Regardless, it might take time for your friend to adjust, just as it probably took some time for you to adjust to your sexual identity. Seeing a counselor can help you clarify your thoughts and ways to respond to your friend.

    Is being transgender a mental disorder?

    According to the American Psychiatric Association, a psychological condition is a mental disorder only if it causes distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their transgender identity and expression to be disabling or distressing. For transgender people, the significant problem is finding resources, such as hormone treatment, surgery, and social support, in order to express their gender identity comfortably and reduce discrimination. However, some transgender people do find their transgender feelings to be distressing or disabling. This is particularly true of transsexuals, who experience their gender identity as incongruent with their birth sex or with the gender role associated with that sex. This distressing feeling of incongruity is called gender dysphoria.

    According to the diagnostic standards of American psychiatry, as set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, people who experience intense, persistent gender dysphoria can be given the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder. This diagnosis is highly controversial among some mental health professionals and transgender people.

    Will a counselor help me to change my sexual orientation?

    No. Consistent with the views of the American Psychiatric, Psychological, and Counseling Associations, the Counseling Center believes that homosexuality and bisexuality are not mental disorders and are healthy forms of human sexuality.

    Even though most homosexual and bisexual people live satisfying lives, some may try to change their sexual orientation through conversion psychotherapy, often persuaded by family members or religious groups. The reality is that homosexuality or bisexuality is not an illness. At the Counseling Center, we do not provide or believe in conversion therapy.

    Research studies have not demonstrated the effectiveness of conversion therapy, and some studies suggest that it may be a harmful form of treatment. In contrast, therapy that is affirming of sexual orientation has shown to help people lead more fulfilling, satisfying lives.