A new LGBTI family
Todd was a gay man in his mid-twenties, who’d grown up in a small country town. As he came to realise he was gay, on weekends he would go to the nearby city to meet other gay people.
Because gay and lesbian people are thought to make up about 10 per cent of the population, it felt like the number of people in his country town who shared his sexuality was few and far between.
From his life experience so far, he also believed that people in the country could sometimes be less accepting of those perceived to different. He felt he had to be careful about coming out to others.
After a few years of commuting to the big smoke for weekends of pubbing and clubbing, he decided to move to the city.
Todd found the experience of living in the city overall to be a positive experience because he didn’t need to self-censor his behaviour. He could be himself to a greater extent and could go to LGBTI venues seven nights a week if he wanted.
Yet among the fun, bright lights and hedonism, he felt something was missing.
By doing some research, Todd found a psychologist who was experienced in dealing with gay and lesbian related issues. The psychologist explained that it is common for LGBTI people to develop their own ‘family of choice’ as a support system of those who may have had similar experiences to his own.
Together, they worked out that Todd’s family of choice was overly associated with pubs and clubs, while Todd wanted to do other things as well; to find a bit more balance.
Between them, Todd and the psychologist were able to identify a number of social, sport and other groups where Todd could meet other people away from the bar/club scene to develop a wider circle of friends and potentially meet a partner for a longer-term relationship if he wished.
By Colin, APS psychologist