LGBTQ Support Group: 3 Best LGBTQ Peer Support Communities [2021]

Are you looking for an LGBTQ support group? Are you looking for LGBTQ help? Do you know a man who can benefit from joining an LGBT support group? Are you looking for information about LGBTQ support groups? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have come to the right place.

Hi, my name is Sean Galla, and I facilitate men’s support groups, including LGBTQ support groups. Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ or know someone who is gay, joining a support group is one of the best ways to learn more about sexual orientation advocacy and meet like-minded people.

In this article, you will get all the information you need about the LGBTQ community and living as a gay, lesbians, bisexual, trans, or queer person.

Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

What Is an LGBTQ Support Group?

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people are almost 3 times more likely to suffer from mental health conditions than the general population. The fear associated with coming out and fear of discrimination and bias often call depression, PTSD, and even suicidal thoughts.

LGBTQ support groups are a type of peer-to-peer crisis intervention therapy that can be helpful to people in this community. However, one needs to have the courage to seek help to be able to get it. An LGBTQ support group is a place that offers the right knowledge and considerations when addressing issues faced by LGBTQ people and how it affects their day-to-day life.   

LGBTQ support can be great for people in this community and families of gay people. However, this can only be possible if gay people are comfortable enough to ask for support. One of the greatest hindrances for gay people when it comes to seeking support is feeling that other people may not understand. This is why most gay people are still in the closet for fear of being judged harshly by society and the people in their life.

Fortunately, LGBTQ support groups are available in different parts of America, including New York and other parts of the world. These are support groups that aim to help members address the challenges they face when it comes to stigma and discrimination. LGBTQ support groups usually target specific groups. It is possible to come across LGBTQ support groups for young adults, LGBTQ youth, adults, men and women, and family members and friends of gay people.

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LGBTQ Support Group

What an LGBTQ Support Group Offers

An LGBTQ support group can help anyone dealing with issues related to being gay and their sexuality, from questioning your sexuality to dealing with issues about coming out to the people in your life and even struggling with gay relationships.

LGBTQ support groups usually use peer support in service delivery. This means that LGBTQ support groups can be led by other gay people or people with insight on LGBTQ issues. These leaders are usually not professionals. This gives the LGBTQ community a chance to actively support one another through different life challenges and stages.

Some LGBTQ support groups are professional guided outreach groups. The leaders of these groups can be professional facilitators or mental health professionals. While being gay is not a mental illness, most members of the LGBTQ community experience negative mental health issues because of the stigma and discrimination they face. According to studies, LGBTQ individuals are at a high risk of anxiety, depression, substance use, and addiction.

With the necessary support, life can be difficult for LGBTQ people. Being part of a support group is the best way to be reminded that you are not alone and that it is ok to be gay. The journey of self-acceptance is easier when you have a group of people supporting you, and this is what LGBTQ support groups offer.

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Benefits of Joining an LGBTQ Support Group

Acceptance

One of the things LGBTQ people struggle with is acceptance from themselves and the people around them. If you are struggling with coming to terms that you are gay, joining a support group can be one of the best ways to learn how to accept yourself. Self-acceptance makes it easier for you to open up to the people in your life about your sexuality.

In an LGBTQ support group, you will meet other LGBTQ people ready to offer help and accept you for who you are. This makes it easier for you to accept yourself.

Healing

Sometimes, gay people go through emotional and psychological issues from stigma, discrimination, and abuse as gay people. If you are struggling with issues affecting your wellbeing as a gay person, joining a support group is the best way to find healing.

In an LGBTQ support group, you can get referrals to stigma-free physical and mental health assistance in a supportive environment.

Resources

An LGBTQ support group is a resource center for all the information you need to have on the LGBTQ community. You will get information on how best to come out to different people in your life and how to deal with religious, interpersonal, and family rejection, as well as school or work challenges.

You meet others just like you

When you first find out that you are gay, it is easy to feel alone, especially if you do not know any other gay people. This often leads to self-isolation and self-stigma, which can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. Joining a support group for LGBTQ people is the best way to meet others like you. This reminds you that you are not alone.

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LGBTQ Organizations

LGBTQ Support Group for Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

Sometimes, gay people struggle with their sexuality because they do not get the family support they need. If you have a family that is struggling to come to terms with that you are gay, there are support groups for families and friends of gay people.

 These groups can help in different ways, including:

  • Learning to accept that a loved one is LGBTQ
  • Learning how to parent a gay youth
  • How to guide a gay member in their coming out process
  • Coming to terms with the changes in expectations due to a member’s sexuality
  • Handling stigma, homophobia, and discrimination because of a gay family member or friend.
  • Finding an accepting community
  • Feeling included and normalizing being gay.

Online vs. Offline LGBTQ Support Groups

When looking for an LGBTQ support group, you have options between online and offline support groups.

In-person/offline LGBTQ support groups

In-person LGBTQ support groups take place in predetermined locations like churches or community centers. In these types of groups, members meet physically in a group of 15 to 20 people. When choosing the best in-person LGBTQ support group, it is important to keep an open mind and try a few before settling for the best.

The main disadvantage of in-person support groups is that they do not offer anonymity. This is because you have to attend the meetings physically. It can also be difficult to find a meeting in this covid-19 pandemic because of the social distancing guidelines in place.

In-person meetings are not always available. They take place weekly, bi-weekly, or even once a month. This makes it hard for members to get the help they need outside the group meeting timelines.

Online LGBTQ support groups

Online LGBTQ centers are support groups that meet online. There are numerous online LGBTQ support groups to choose from. Like mensgroup.com, some are open forums that encourage peer support and education, while others are moderated by LGBTQ support experts. Some of these groups allow open sharing amongst members as they seek advice and assistance. Others meet on a schedule and follow a preset structure.

A quick search on google will give you a list of online LGBTQ support groups on platforms like Facebook and Reddit LGBTQ groups.

The best benefit of an online LGBTQ support group is the fact that it is available round the clock. This means that there is always a support group you can join at any time. Also, online LGBTQ support groups take away the issue of distance. Whether you are in the United Kingdom or the United States, you can zoom and join virtual meetings from anywhere.

Online LGBTQ groups offer anonymity where the members do not need to show their face or even talk while in attendance.

Online LGBTQ support groups are the best way to get support when facing LGBTQ issues, especially in these Covid times.

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LGBTQ Circle

Recommendations for the Best LGBTQ Support Groups

Family Equality Council

Family Equality Council connects and supports LGBTQ parents and their kids. The organization works to ensure equality for these families by influencing change in other people’s minds and building a community of acceptance for all families.

The LGBTQ National Help Center

The LGBTQ National Help Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of LGBTQ people as well as those still questioning their sexuality and struggling with gender identity. This organization has more than 15,000 local resources in different cities and towns all over the country.

Mensgroup

Men’s Group is an online support group specifically for LGBTQ men. It is tailored to offering emotional support to create a positive community and start conversations and forums where gay men can share their life stresses in a safe space. As one of the most active online forums for men, it is the perfect place to interact with other community members who have gone through similar LGBTQ issues and have managed to find their way through. 

Conclusion

An LGBTQ support group is the perfect place if you need to talk about gender non-conforming and gender-expansive ideas with people who are not your family or co-workers about the issues you are experiencing as a gay person. During the support group meetings, you join other members physically or on virtual chat rooms or forums where you can share your ideas, issues, and progress as an LGBTQ person. Here, you will find gay people facing the same unique challenges, and this takes away the shame that might hold you back from sharing and getting the support you need.

*Sources:
1. Studies: LGBTQ youths have higher rates of mental health issues, abuse
2. Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth
3. LGBTQ+ Communities And Mental Health
4. MENTAL HEALTH AND THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY
5. Research Brief: Fostering the Mental Health of LGBTQ Youth

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