Billboard

LGBTQQIA

CONTACT US

E-mail: counselor@csmd.edu


LA PLATA CAMPUS

Ann Penick, MA, LCPC, NCC
Administration (AD) Building, Room 205
Phone: 301-934-7577
Email:  APenick@csmd.edu


LEONARDTOWN CAMPUS

Jennifer Fossell, LCSW-C
Building A, Room 204E
Phone: 240-725-5328
Email:  jfossell@csmd.edu


PRINCE FREDERICK CAMPUS

Jennifer Fossell, LCSW-C
Building B, Room 109B
Phone: 443-550-6169
Email: jfossell@csmd.edu

Do you know someone who is gay or lesbian? Bi-sexual or Transgender? Are you questioning your own gender identity or do you already know your own gender identity?

What people in these groups all have in common is that they have been, for the most part, considered outside the mainstream of society.  They have experienced social, religious, economic, political and legal discrimination—much of it based on myths.

Research has found that the people who have the most positive attitudes toward LGBTQQIA people are those who say they know one or more LGBTQQIA people well. Often this is a friend, co-worker, or family member. However, this is not always the case. Educating all people about sexual orientation can go a long way to diminish prejudice. Accurate information about LGBTQQIA people is especially important to those who are discovering and seeking to understand their sexuality.  

Definitions and Types of Gender and Sexual Identity

L stands for Lesbians: Women whose primary emotional and physical attractions and attachments are to other women.

G stands for Gay: Men whose primary emotional and physical attractions and attachments are to other men.

B stands for Bisexuals:  Men and/or women whose primary emotional and physical attractions and attachments are to both women and men.

T stands for Transgender: A broad term that encompasses cross-dressers, intersexed people, transsexuals, and people who live substantial portions of their lives as other than their birth gender. A transgender person manifests a sense of self, the physical characteristics and/or personal expression commonly associated with a sex other than the one they were born with. A transitioning transgender person is one who is modifying their physical characteristics and manner of expression to, in effect, satisfy the standards for membership in another gender.

Q can stand for Queer: Historically this has been a negative term used against people perceived to be LGBT. For older LGBT people, this term may still be offensive. More recently, this term has been reclaimed by some people as a positive term describing anyone who does not identify along traditional  gender and sexuality orientations.

Q can stand for Questioning: Refers to people who are uncertain as to their sexual orientation or gender identity. They are often seeking information and support during this time of their identity development.

I stands for Intersex: An individual whose biological sex does not correspond with conventional male or female physical anatomy or genetics. Current research shows that this occurs in approximately 1.7% of the population. This term can also refer to the medical condition.

A stands for Asexual: A person who does not have sexual feelings or desires and who is not interested in sexual activity, either within or outside a relationship.

Heterosexual/Straight:  Women and men whose primary emotional and physical attractions and attachments are to those who are of the opposite sex.

Homophobia: The irrational fear and hatred of same-sex relationships.

Drag Kings and Drag Queens: A person who dresses and acts in a style or manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex. A drag king or drag queen can be Gay, Straight, or Transgender.

Types of Common Myths about LGBTQQIA people

Myth #1: People choose to be lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender.  Parents cause their children to become LGBT.  A wife or husband can cause his/her spouse to become LGBT.

Why a particular sexual orientation develops isn’t exactly known. Current research indicates that it is a very complex matter involving, in large part, biological and genetic factors. Sexual orientation usually develops at an early age.  But two factors are absolutely clear: 1) Being LGBT is not a choice! 2) A person cannot make or cause another person to become lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender! An LGBT person is born who they already are.

Myth #2: If a gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender person could just meet the “right one” of the opposite sex, then they could fall in love and become straight/heterosexual.

Many LGBT have dated members of the opposite sex but find it more fulfilling to date members of their own sex. Most LGBT, when they have come to terms with their sexuality, have no desire to try to change their sexual orientation and are honest about it. Those who do seek to change their sexual orientation, usually are reacting to negative societal and familial attitudes and stereotypes towards their sexual orientation. They struggle and agonize while trying to keep up the façade of being “straight” when they know otherwise. There are those, who in their struggle, marry someone of the opposite sex (who doesn’t know their “secret”) in the mistaken belief that they will become “straight” as a result. But the only result typically is disappointment, anger, resentment, and heartbreak for both spouses because the LGBT spouse is still who they are when they entered the marriage.

Myth #3:  Psychological therapies such as “Reparative or Conversion” therapies can change someone’s sexual orientation.

The answer is “No.” Sexual orientation does not require treatment and is not changeable. When an LGBTQQIA person seeks psychological counseling, what needs to happen is assistance with their discernment process if they are questioning and/or the coming out process with strategies to deal with prejudice as well as responses from their families and friends. As for “conversion therapies,” there have been few close examinations of these. Many times these “conversion therapies” are done by individuals and/or organizations who have an ideological perspective condemning LGBT orientations. Much of the time these particular therapies are poorly documented and treatment outcome is not followed up and reported over time. The few of these treatment outcomes which have been followed up, the results have shown that the individuals involved have eventually gone back to their LGBT orientations.  (This information comes from the statement issued by the National Association of Social Workers, as well as articles published in the Boston Globe, New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle.)

Myth #4: It’s OK to call LGBT people names like “faggot,” and “dyke” because they are “deviant.”

Sexual and affectional preference that is different from the statistical norm does not equal deviance. If it did, then blue-eyed people and left-handed people—also considered in the statistical minority would be considered “deviant.” To be called names like “faggot,” or “dyke” is considered derogatory and insulting.

Myth #5:  LGBTQQIA people are mentally ill and are not “normal.”

Just as heterosexuals can become mentally ill, so can LGBTQQIA people for all the same reasons! Sexual behavior and orientation exist along a continuum ranging from people who are exclusively attracted to members of the same sex, to people who are equally attracted to members of both sexes, to people who are exclusively attracted to members of the opposite sex.  In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders and declared that homosexuality is as healthy as heterosexuality.

Myth #6:  LGBTQQIA are few in number and “hide out” in careers like the theater, interior design, the fashion industry, cosmetology, and hair styling.

The generally accepted statistic is that approximately 1 in 10 persons is LGBT. (This statistic comes from the University of Buffalo, NY website on their “Counseling Services” webpage.) LGBTQQIA people are found in all walks of life and in all professions. Did you know that the group, Log Cabin Republicans, are a gay interest group within the Republican Party? Then there are the following professional associations: for lawyers—the National LGBT Bar Association, there is the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychologists as well as the National Gay Pilots Association, to name a few.

Myth #7: Gay men like to dress as women; gay men wish they were women and lesbians wish they were men.

Gay men and lesbians, for the most part, dress like their heterosexual counterparts. They don’t  desire to change their sex.

Myth #8:  LGBTQQIA people are a menace to children.

The overwhelming majority of child molestation and sexual abuse cases (both boys and girls under the age of 18) involve heterosexual men--95%. (Statistic is from the University of Buffalo, NY website on their “Counseling Services” webpage.)

Myth #9:  LGBTQQIA people are promiscuous!

In reality, they are neither more nor less sexually promiscuous than heterosexuals. Like heterosexuals, many LGBTQQIA people are involved in monogamous relationships, see themselves as partners and committed to each other for life. They get married like heterosexuals. They start families through adoption and are as committed parents as heterosexuals can be. Some LGBTQQIA people, like some heterosexuals, choose to remain celibate or engage in risky behavior by having multiple partners and unsafe sex

Myth #10: If a friend tells you he or she is a lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender, then that friend is coming on to you.

Being an LGBTQQIA involves way more than a person’s sexual activity. When friends ”come out” to you, they are essentially inviting you to know them as whole people. If a person chooses to come out to you, then that person has decided to share part of their identity with you. Such a disclosure only means that this friend trusts you, not that they would like to become sexually involved with you.

Myth #11: If you have friends who are LGBTQQIA, then that must mean you are also one of them.

Being a friend to someone or falling for someone who is LGBTQQIA does not make you any more an LGBTQQIA than being a friend to someone who has a different heritage from your own. Being a friend to or falling for someone who is African-American or Irish-American does not automatically turn you into an African-American or Irish-American person!

Myth #12: AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a gay disease.

AIDS is caused by a virus. Viruses infect all kinds of people, shapes and sizes, regardless of their sexual orientation. AIDS is spread through the exchange of body fluids, such as blood, semen, and breast milk. Some people, whether gay or straight, have contracted AIDS from sharing intravenous needles. While AIDS has been contracted by a large number of gay men, it also has been contracted by heterosexual men and women as well as children and even infants. Associating with gay people does not mean you will get AIDS.

Myth #13: Access to information and education about LGBTQQIAs and their communities will make more people gay.

Absolutely false!

Myth #14: All drag kings and drag queens are gay.

Drag kings and queens can be heterosexual/straight, gay, lesbian, or transgender in orientation.


LGBTQQIA Student Resources