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Breaking the Stigma: Opening Up About LGBTQ Mental Health in Texas | GLAAD

Updated: May 24

By Jacob Reyes, News & Rapid Response Coordinator, GLAAD - May 16, 2024

WAITING ACTION (Discernment) by Romulo Martinez

LGBTQ organization Pride Frisco is hosting a forum Friday covering the topics of mental health in the LGBTQ community, the organization said in a statement this week.

The LGBTQ Mental Health Forum will discuss LGBTQ-affirmative mental health practices that range from stress management, affirming care for transgender veterans and support for the asexual community, among other topics.

“Very rarely, if ever, do we have a judgment-free safe space where mental health professionals and the lay public can have candid conversations about mental health, let alone LGBTQ-affirmative therapy, which is a lifeline to marginalized communities grappling with devastating legislative attacks on our existence,” Pride Frisco co-founder Jon Culpepper said in a statement.

The forum, headed by a local LGBTQ organization, comes at a time when studies show that members of the community, particularly young folks, are at risk. According to a 2023 study by the Trevor Project, 41% of LGBTQ young people seriously considered suicide in the last year. Additionally, young folks of color and those who identify as transgender and nonbinary reported higher rates than their peers. 

Brian Kennedy, a Dallas-based therapist and one of the panelists for the forum, said that heteronormativity is often something LGBTQ folks have to be mindful of and even at times, unlearn. This stems from LGBTQ folks experiencing traumas growing up that tell them their identity is wrong. 

“Is there any other population that gets told the word ‘abomination’ when they’re eight years old?” Kennedy said. “Yet so many of us as LGBTQ people carry all that weight and anxiety and we can’t talk about it. So we live with it and it becomes part of our personality, to some degree.”

Self-acceptance and embracing identity through sexuality and gender is part of mental health and need a space for affirmation from like-minded members or allies of the community, Kennedy said.

The LGBTQ Mental Health Forum, in-person and virtually offered, is free to the public and will be located in the Frisco area from 9 am to 3 pm. Participants, ages 18 and up, are welcome to attend. The location will be shared with registered attendees.

Established in 2021 by Culpepper and his partner Justin, Pride Frisco is an LGBTQ resource center based in Frisco, though its services are offered across North Texas. The organization provides year-round support through social events, educational programming and more.

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