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I once found a good gay therapist

Oct 30, 2015

Being a member of a marginalized population within a marginalized population can be a pain in the ass. Whether dealing with daily microagressions, rejection from your own community, or just the lack of access to adequate, compassionate mental health care (which is an issue for many of us) - finding a therapist that clicks is hard work. Being underemployed and in a precarious financial situation makes this extra tricky.

About three years ago, by some magical stroke of luck, I found a great therapist at no cost (covered by my local health centre). He immediately understood my need for confidentiality: as a trans guy, I have a lot of experience with people disclosing my medical history and treating me like an interesting science experiment. He didn't have much experience working with trans guys, but had an open mind and when I told him I was gay, he got what that meant.

He was such an amazing, sweet man with a great sense of humour. His advice was always realistic, and took into account what it's like being a visibly gay man.

When I finally opened up to him about my insecurities around my body (despite being able-bodied and thin) and fear of not "fitting in" with gay men, he giggled. He told me : "My dear, I am a fat, older man. And that is all I am when walking into a gay bar. I can choose between being a Daddy, a Bear, but never just "me". Your experience is not because you are trans, sweetheart. It's because you are a gay man, and the ripple effects of hate and neglect have made us terrible to each other. Besides, you won't find community there. You have to make community happen."

Learning I was not that special, and that having body envy-hatred was, like, a totally boring normal gay thing was such a relief!

Having an older gay man with more experience in community doing therapeutic work with me was not something I would have sought out on my own, but it was what I needed. I am so lucky to have met this man who both got my apprehension, but also had the wisdom to know this would pass and give me the tools to deal with horizontal hostility in our community. Since starting therapy with him, I am more comfortable with myself and have realized that I belong. I can be a bit more vulnerable. The largely cis (non-trans) gay community doesn't need to universally welcome me for me to belong. I already do! I can also welcome men into the gay community, too. I can also say : "Hey, you can sit with us". And I have been.

Joël is a late 20s francophone gay guy living in an urban area of Ontario. He would describe himself as a cranky optimist, and is new to blogging and speaking about himself in the third person. horizontal hostility : behaving, saying, or otherwise being hostile or passive-aggressive towards people of the same marginalized group.

Definitions:

horizontal hostility: behaving, saying, or otherwise being hostile or passive-aggressive towards people of the same marginalized group.

micro-aggressions: small (often unintentional) acts of exclusion or hostility which, on their own aren't necessarily painful, but added together can really weigh on a person.

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