Take a moment and close your eyes. Imagine a normal person. How do they look? What do they like? Who do they like?
More likely than not, you pictured a heterosexual, or straight, person. That’s what we’re trained to think is normal. Being straight is average, it’s inside the box, it’s unproblematic.
Being considered “normal” comes with privilege that many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and additional communities (LGBTQ+), do not have. In fact, LGBTQ+ individuals often experience discrimination, violence, victimization and denial of their civil and human rights. These can have long-lasting effects on the individual and the community .
In addition, if there is a lack of personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity, it can affect the mental health and personal safety of LGBTQ+ individuals .
Research shows that discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide .
Click here to view a helpful resource guide from the Center of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) with health concerns and services available to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Our Provider Search Tool has an option to identify behavioral health specialists with LGBTQIA specialty. From the Provider Search Tool site, enter location, select network (POS II for all US but Guam), select “Behavioral Health,” then select “Behavioral Health Professionals.” Scroll to “LBGTQIA” to filter for providers who “have experience and familiarity with the challenges of the LGBTQIA” community.”
Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) members have access to myStrength™ which provides you and your covered dependents, age 13 and older, personalized, web-based resources to help overcome obstacles associated with depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder. The program uses mental wellness models such as cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindfulness acceptance.
If you would like to enroll in the program, visit mystrength.com, select “Sign-up,” enter the access code “FSBP” and complete the myStrength™ sign-up process with a brief Wellness Assessment and personal profile.
FSBP members are also covered for gender reassignment surgery to address gender dysphoria. For more information, please see section 5b of the FSBP brochure.