Thinking Queerly by Kristina Furia

At present, LGBT teenagers and adults experience mental illness at higher rates than the general population. This imbalance is due to the additional adversity that members of our community are likely to face at various points throughout both childhood and adulthood. Thinking Queerly is a mental-health column written by Kristina Furia (, a local psychotherapist, that focuses on the unique psychological and social experiences of LGBT individuals, couples and families. Each month's column highlights a specific aspect of being LGBTQ in the United States and the various effects it has on our mental health and overall experience in society.

I, along with several other fortunate women, had the honor of spending the better part of an evening with Edie Windsor last weekend while she visited Philadelphia for the 50th anniversary of the Annual Reminders protest. The anniversary celebration couldn’t have come at a better time given that, as we all know, the legalization of same-sex marriage occurred just one week prior. Windsor, whose lawsuit against the federal government led to the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was honored for her huge contribution to our community.

It’s not difficult to get wrapped up in the excitement of Pride weekend in Philadelphia: the start of summer, the glitter, the rainbows, the feather boas … what’s not to get wrapped up in?! Quite simply, it’s a definite formula for fun; however, the Pride events that take place all around the country surely don’t exist just for the sake of fun. What is the impetus for thousands and thousands of people to attend?

I had the opportunity to see “Kinky Boots” earlier this week at the Forrest Theatre. I knew going in that there was a drag-queen component that had our community especially engaged with the show. What I didn’t expect was the excellent job that “Kinky Boots” does of presenting the challenges of the trans experience.

As we all suddenly find ourselves existing in a reality of a proposed act to execute gays and of same-sex couples being legally denied service at a pizza shop, the assumption that the conservative right wing in this country is distinctly anti-LGBT feels like a safe one. In fact, their disdain for the LGBT “lifestyle” is far from a secret. Instead of quietly containing their hateful feelings with the awareness that it is conventionally wrong to express hatred towards an entire group of people, their hatred has been legitimized with religious justifications. The Bible and God have become your average homophobe’s first line of defense for explaining their phobia. Without further exploration, perhaps such defenses could sound justifiable but upon taking the slightest bit of a closer look, it’s easy to see the only real defense in play is hate.

Most of us identify as a part of the LGBT community. In more recent years, a “Q” has been tacked on to the end of that. For those who are really progressive, our community is summed up by the letters “LGBTQIA”: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer/questioning and intersex, with the “A” commonly thought to represent our straight allies, but also being representative of asexuals, aromantics and those who identify as agender. Is this suddenly sounding complicated?

We’ve all been through breakups. If you’re lucky, it’s just been one or two, or perhaps you’re someone who’s suffered more breakups than you care to admit. Regardless, you know the feeling: that deep pit at the bottom of your stomach, that painful heaviness in your chest that’s enough to make you want to cry (and

It’s 2015, and the average coming-out age in our country is around 16 — and it appears to be getting younger and younger with each passing year. While LGBT youth continue to face difficulties in light of coming out, it seems that, for the younger generation, the consequences of staying in the closet far

Yet another young child took his own life as a result of persistent gay-based bullying last week. Ronin Shimizu, 12, started being bullied at school last year after becoming the only male student on the cheerleading squad. While some of his friends described Ronin as seemingly impervious to this sort of mistreatment, it is

Bisexuality is often a point of speculation, confusion, inaccuracy and even judgment within our community. Some view bisexuals as having an advantage over the L, G and T members of our community: They aren’t limited by gender when looking for a romantic or sexual partner and therefore have better odds of finding a

OutFest is an opportunity for members of our community to come together, to celebrate each other and to show pride in our LGBTQ identities. Coincidentally enough, this year’s OutFest also marks the anniversary of two gay men having been physically assaulted and subsequently arrested by Philadelphia police officers for disorderly conduct and conspiracy, charges that they were later cleared of. Many of you may remember this incident, as it made headlines in our city; however, police roughing up and accusing a young gay couple of a crime they did not commit did not make national news, nor did it stimulate any major discussion around the need for more inclusive hate-crime legislation in Pennsylvania. Why? For that matter, why have none of the other crimes committed against LGBTQ individuals, especially transgender people, in our city become a cause for change?

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