Although a person’s sexual or romantic orientation or gender identity may not be a source of distress, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, or any other orientation or gender identity may find that the social stigma of living as a minority is a source of stress or anxiety.

Despite rapidly growing cultural acceptance of diverse sexual and romantic orientations and gender identifications, discrimination and marginalization of LGBTQ people persists. Coping with discrimination and oppression, coming out to one’s family, and sorting out an authentic sense of self in the face of social expectations and pressures can lead to higher levels of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health concerns for LGBTQ people.

Many of the concerns and life challenges LGBTQ people bring to therapy are those common among all people. All couples argue over many of the same things—money, sex, the in-laws, quality time—and all people are subject to the same kinds of daily stressors, such as mood swings, workplace concerns, or low self-esteem.

When seeking therapy, whether for issues associated with one’s sexual or gender identity or for concerns related to mental health, finding a qualified mental health provider who has familiarity and experience with the difficulties members of the LGBTQ community often face is critical.