The Family Institute at Northwestern University is committed to providing support and resources to members of the LGBTQIA+ communities and their families.
The Family Institute at Northwestern University joins in this month’s celebration of Gay Pride. We unequivocally support and honor the dignity and equality of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, as well as people with differences in sex development and others under the umbrella of sexual and gender minorities.
At The Family Institute, we know that pride does not emerge in a vacuum. Individuals are powerfully and inescapably impacted by their relationships (family, friends, peers) and the experiences they have in larger systems (e.g., schools, neighborhoods, churches, political and legal systems). Interactions in these contexts have the power to validate or invalidate identity, facilitate or impede self-understanding, support or undermine pride.
Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is health-promoting. The minority stress model explains that the unique, persistent stressors experienced by sexual and gender minorities are a significant contributor to documented health disparities, such as higher rates of depression, suicidality, violence, and substance use disorders. The American Psychological Association has identified a host of recent public policy developments that have influenced the fundamental rights of sexual and gender minorities. Such policies contribute to the LGBTQIA+ communities’ experience of minority stress.
While members of the LGBTQIA+ communities do suffer from significant health disparities, this fact belies their remarkable resilience as well as the joys and triumphs they manifest every day. Most LGBTQIA+ people become healthy, thriving members of society, despite widespread discrimination. The strength and courage of sexual and gender minorities who actively resist structures and definitions that fail to include and respect their experience is inspiring. Their resistance and their joy are a mirror that expands our understanding not only of LGBTQIA+ people, but all people.
The Family Institute is committed to supporting members of the LGBTQIA+ communities and their families. Here is an extensive list of resources and publications from the American Psychological Association, and if we can be of direct service, our therapists are here to help.