Susan B. Winston LMFT

Shift Happens

June 26 and the LGBT Phone Explosion

June 26 was a day to cheer, and, for many, a day to ask, who am I?

Posted Jul 05, 2015

June 26th was a monumental day for many in the U.S. and perhaps worldwide, but it was also a monumental day for my practice. As a therapist I get my fair share of calls each week with prospective clients, but on this day the calls exceeded anything I expected. With the Supreme Court’s announcement of making same sex marriage the law in all states, it unleashed a new group seeking discussion with a professional—people who wanted to make this their time to come out as well as those who thought they might be gay.

Since the aids epidemic reared its ugly head, many people have expressed their personal confusion over their sexuality. LGB, now LGBT became the accepted acronym that tied the gay, lesbian, transgender, and bi communities together in their fight for acceptance and equality in all rights. The recent marriage law, while confirming the long overdue rights of same sex couples has created a psychological opening of confusion for many. 

It is not unusual for teens or those in their twenties of this generation to experiment sexually. (Sorry Mom and Dad, but this is a fact.) Our kids have access to hundreds of TV shows and movies with celebrities who have outed themselves. It is very natural to them (and many others). But because you daughter may try kissing her best friend or your son has a “Brokeback Mountain” it does not mean they are forever changing their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is how you see your attraction romantically to someone. Gender identity is whether you define yourself as male of female regardless of your physical gender at birth. Here, we are talking strictly about sexual orientation.

Many teens and twenty-somethings say that they just want to know what same sex relationships are like. Other state that they are not sure about their orientation and need to test it. And then there are those who are legitimately gay or lesbian and have chosen this momentous time to make that known.

I have received calls from couples who question the proclivities of one another and want proof or truth of heterosexual fidelity. Others have called wanting to make confessions about past lives and relationships. I have also received more than the usual number of calls from parents asking to bring in their children for sexual orientation evaluation. Parents, it is nearly impossible for a therapist to determine whether your toddler is gay or straight. Many youngsters experiment wearing opposite sex clothing or playing with what has been considered traditionally opposite sex toys.  But if your son has a favorite doll and your daughter loves an armored truck, this is not an indication of anything except "play toy of the week."

The Supreme Court decision was never going to be a one-day news story. The ongoing celebrations, the endless discussions on social media will keep this going.  Contesting the ruling in several states will keep this ugly. Homosexuality is as old as time. There will be a day when it does not even have to be questioned or reason for concern. It will just be. I hope I’m still answering the phone when that happens.