Queer people face more overt and implicit discrimination than their straight counterparts.

The queer community has come a long way since the Stonewall Riots of 1968. But that doesn’t mean that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia aren’t still pervasive aspects of our culture. In an overwhelmingly cis- and heteronormative society, LGBTQ people face exhausting microaggressions and discrimination on a regular basis — which can result in mood disorders, anxiety, and depression.

We feel the struggle, and put together a list of 6 outrageously common and all-too-relatable reasons why queer people need specific LGBT therapy to meet their needs.

1. Because you’re gender nonconforming and people keep asking about your junk.

Gender nonconforming people are all too well aware of the cultural fascination with their genitalia. For some reason, cis people are still under the impression that it is acceptable to ask a gender nonconforming about what’s happening “down under,” as if they would ever feel comfortable asking a cisgendered person the same question.

2. Because you came out as bisexual five years ago and your mom keeps calling it a phase.

Few things in life are more hurtful than a loved one not accepting — or outright denying — your sexual orientation. Queer people often struggle with coming out — not just to family members, but to coworkers, friends, and professors. Having to constantly define and defend yourself is exhausting and uncomfortable.

3. Because your parents still introduce your partner as your ‘friend’ at the family holiday party.

You’ve lived together for five years and your parents are still calling him your roommate. Recurring microaggressions add up over time — and ultimately make people feel unseen. Not to mention it makes it extremely challenging to maintain a positive relationship with the “friend” or family member doling them out. LGBT therapy can help you cope with microaggressions and respond in a more productive way, so you can live your best life.

Read More: 7 Microaggressions Trans People Face in Health and Mental Healthcare Settings

4. Because people keep asking “Who’s the man in your relationship?”

Arbitrary gender roles are archaic and limiting in any setting, and going to LGBT therapy rather than working with any therapist takes that into account. Why do people insist on applying them to queer relationships? It may be easier for straight people to place queer couples within the familiar, heteronormative outlines of other relationships they’ve seen and experienced — but can we all agree it’s time to broaden our understanding of romantic dynamics?

5. Because you’ve been set up on too many dates with straight friends’ other gay friend.

Listen, straight people: while your intentions may be pure, the likelihood that the only two gay people you happen to know will hit it off and fall in love is fairly slim. Can you imagine if one of your friends set you up with, say, the only other redhead they knew? Or the only other republican, for that matter? You might think that, because two people are both gay, they’ll have a lot in common. But it’s important to ask yourself the same questions you’d ask before setting up two straight friends: do these people seem like they will genuinely get along? Do they share similar interests, passions, and values? Are they both looking for the same thing? Then, and only then, may you suggest a meetup. LGBT therapy is a particularly good forum to work through these frustrations.

6. Because you just spent an hour explaining PrEP to your doctor.

The average medical student devotes roughly five hours of classroom time to LGBTQ-specific health issues. As a result, many providers are not knowledgeable about PrEP, hormone replacement therapy, gender affirming surgery, anal sex, and other healthcare concerns relevant to the queer community. This can be alienating and depressing, which is why it’s important to find a health care practitioner who is well-versed in the terminology, health risks, and benefits of LGBTQ-related care.

Read More: Is Monosexuality Dead?

7. Because insurance coverage is that much more complicated

Institutionalized prejudices run deep in the insurance industry (see: United Healthcare). Navigating bureaucracy and trying to determine your rights can be frustrating — not to mention life threatening. Working with an LGBT-friendly therapist understands your needs and constraints, and may be able to work with you.

8. Because life is hard enough already!

From Presidential threats of nuclear war to the appalling implementation of the trans military ban, straight and LGBTQ people alike are flocking to the therapist’s couch. The benefits of therapy aren’t only for those with diagnoses — sometimes life is just hard to deal with. That’s why it’s important to make sure you find an affirming therapist who is knowledgeable about LGBTQ health issues, terminology, and lifestyles.

Lighthouse can help you find LGBTQ-friendly healthcare providers — whether it’s a therapist, primary care physician, gynecologist, or otherwise!

Click here to find an LGBTQ+ AFFIRMING Provider In your Area

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