Are you looking for a queer support group? Are you queer and in need of a peer support group? Do you know someone who can benefit from joining a queer support group? Are you looking for information about queer 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 queer support groups. Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ, have a queer relative, or know someone who is queer, joining a support group gives you the opportunity to learn more about sexual orientation advocacy, queer rights and meet like-minded people while at it.
In this article, you will get all the information you need about queer support groups and why every queer person needs one.
Table of Contents:
What Is a Queer Support Group?
A Queer support group is a type of peer-to-peer meetup and discussion group for people in the LGBTQ community who identify as queer. This is a supportive environment that offers the right knowledge education and consideration in reference to issues faced by queer people, including the issues they face in their day-to-day life.
Queer support groups like PFLAG and the Trevor project can be great for queer community members and family members to queer people. However, this is only possible if queer people come out and ask for help and support.
On average, a queer or non-binary, and any other person questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation are almost 3 times more likely to suffer from mental health issues and substance use than the general population. The fear associated with coming out as queer, coupled with the fear of discrimination and bias often drives young people into depression, PTSD, and even suicidal thoughts for being queer.
One of the greatest hindrances for queer people, bisexual people, transgender people, people in intersex relationships, and generally the LGBTQIA community, when it comes to seeking support or coming out, is the feeling that the people around them may not understand, and may even distance themselves, which can affect their wellness. Most queer people choose to remain closeted when it comes to gender expression for fear of being judged harshly by society and being isolated from the people in their life. This fear of expressing themselves freely is often detrimental to their well-being.
Fortunately, queer support groups are available in different parts of America to ensure queer individuals have access to support and help to live a happy and fulfilling life. These support groups work to help queer people through challenges associated with their lifestyles like discrimination and stigma.
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Types of Queer Support Groups
Queer support groups are often part of a larger LGBT support group targeting specific groups of people in this community. Some of these targeted groups offer support for queer teens, university/college students, adults, family members, and friends of queer people as well as men and women.
When looking for a queer support group, you have options between either an online group or an offline group.
Offline/In-person queer support group
Offline or in-person queer support groups take place in predetermined locations such as queer support centers 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 queer support group, it is important to keep an open mind and try a few to get a feel of different options before choosing the best one for your needs.
A major drawback of in-person queer support groups is that members do not enjoy the possibility of anonymity since the meetings require the members to attend physically and register or rsvp. This is a major disadvantage to queer men in need of support but who prefer to remain anonymous or are not ready to come out.
The other drawback of in-person meetings is accessibility. They are scheduled weekly, bi-weekly, or even once a month. This makes it hard for members to get the support they need outside the group meeting timelines.
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Online queer support groups
Online queer support groups are types of support groups that meet on internet platforms including websites, and social media sites. There are numerous online queer support groups to choose from A quick search on google will give you a list of online queer support groups on platforms like Facebook and Reddit. Like mensgroup.com, some are open forums that encourage peer support and education, while others are moderated by queer support experts.
Some online queer support groups allow open sharing amongst members as they seek advice and assistance. Others meet on a schedule and follow a preset structure.
The best benefit of an online queer support group is the fact that it is available round the clock, there is always a support group you can drop in at any time. Whether you are in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States, you can zoom in and join virtual meetings from anywhere.
Online LGBT groups offer anonymity since the members do not need to show their faces or even talk while in attendance. Online queer support groups are the best way to get support when facing queer-related issues, especially in these pandemic times.
Without the necessary support, life can be difficult for queer 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 queer. The journey of self-acceptance is easier when you have a group of people supporting you, and this is why Queer support groups exist.
In these support groups, queer individuals get all the help they need to overcome the challenges they face when it comes to stigma and discrimination.
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What Does a Queer Support Group Offer?
A queer support group can help anyone dealing with issues anywhere along a continuum – from questioning their sexuality to dealing with the challenges associated with coming out and even issues about being in queer relationships.
Support groups for LGBT people often do this through peer support. Most of these support groups are led by other members of the LGBTQ society, more specifically queer individuals who are not necessarily professionals. This makes it easy for queer people to support each other through life’s challenges.
Some queer support groups may be run by professionals, usually a group facilitator or even a mental health professional offering support services. Even so, it is important to remember that being queer is not a mental illness. However, having a professional in the group can be of help to members having a hard time with their mental health in relation to coming out or living as a queer person.
Queer support groups for families and friends of queer people can offer help with:
- Information on how to help a queer loved one through the process of coming out
- The coming out process of the family member or friend
- Parenting a queer youth
- Coping with changes in expectations due to sexuality for families.
- How to handle stigma and discrimination
- Inclusivity and normalizing minority sexuality
- Finding an accepting queer community
Some of the benefits of joining a queer support group include:
- Finding others “just like you”
- Accessing help in coming out
- Getting advice about dealing with religious, family or interpersonal rejection
- Resources about living life as a queer person
- Help with a workplace or school challenges
- Help to deal with internalized homophobia
- Help with homosexuality and mental health issues
Recommendations for the Best Queer Support Groups
The LGBTQ National Help Center
The LGBTQ national organization is a non-profit dedicated to addressing the needs of queer people, LGBTQIA, LGBTQ youth, non-binary 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.
Family Equality Council
This organization connects and supports queer parents and their kids. The Family Equality Council works to ensure equality for these families by influencing change in other people’s minds and building a community of acceptance for all families and caregivers.
Men’s Group Queer Support Group
Men’s Group is an online support forum with support groups specifically for queer men. The queer groups on mensgroup.com offer emotional support to create a positive community and start conversations and forums where queer men can share their life issues in a safe space.
As one of the most active online forums for men, MensGroup is the perfect place to interact with other members of the queer community who have gone through similar issues and have managed to find their way through.
A queer support group is a perfect place if you need to talk about gender non-conforming and gender-expansive ideas. It is also the place to share issues you are experiencing as a queer person with people who are not your family or co-workers.
During a group meeting, you join other members physically or on virtual chat rooms or forums where you can share your ideas, issues, and progress as a queer person. A queer support group like MensGroup connects you with other queer 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. LGBTQ Facebook support group offers stand-in families for major life events 2. COME ALONG WITH ME: LINKING LGBTQ YOUTH TO SUPPORTIVE RESOURCES 3. Typologies of Social Support and Associations with Mental Health Outcomes Among LGBT Youth 4. Support Groups with Ga oups with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Schools 5. Queer studies