While we have come a long way in our approach towards the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community, we still have a long way to go! In fact, a recent 12-year study conducted by the Gottman Institute has revealed that same-sex couples are often more resilient than heterosexual couples due, simply, to the cultural and social hostility to which they alone endure.
Through their findings, the Gottman Institute has gone so far as to say that straight couples may have a lot to learn from same-sex couples, particularly when it comes to conflict resolution.
Yet, the fact stands that the LGBTQ community remains a minority group judged harshly by the rest of the world. In the ever-growing effort to combat this, the month of June has been set aside as LGBTQ Pride Month as a commemoration of the Stonewall riots, which took place in June 1969. These were as a result of a group of members of the LGBTQ community growing sick of being mistreated and deciding to stand up for themselves and their sexual orientation.
Shame Versus Pride
Perhaps one of the greatest issues facing members of the LGBTQ community is that of shame. And, while many heterosexuals may fail to understand the significance behind Pride Month, for the LGBTQ community, pride is a crucial factor determining the success of their marriages amidst the ever-present outside hostility.
Contrary to the belief that Pride Month has been put in place in order for the LGBTQ community to flaunt their sexuality, pride for same-sex couples is not the opposite of humility. It is, rather, the opposite of shame. In reference to the external hostility mentioned previously, most LGBTQ people have spent their whole lives being told that being gay, bisexual, or trans is shameful.
As a result of this, many LGBTQ members bring an extensive amount of shame into their relationships. Shame, in any marriage, often becomes like a dormant virus that can be triggered at any moment with, often, fatal consequences. Therefore, in order for a same-sex marriage to succeed, the individuals within that marriage need to, first and foremost, free themselves from any shame before entering into that relationship. They need to learn to love themselves and be proud of who they are. Hence, the importance of Pride Month.
“Gay and lesbian couples, like straight couples, deal with everyday ups-and-downs of close relationships,” Dr. John Gottman observes. “We know [however] that these ups-and-downs may occur in a social context of isolation from family, workplace prejudice, and other social barriers that are unique to gay and lesbian couples.”
In September of 2017, Certified Gottman Therapist Salvatore Garanzini and Alapaki Yee, MFT, along with Drs. John and Julie Gottman, published the results of the first outcome research study on couples therapy with gay and lesbian couples in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. The results proved that Gottman Method Couples Therapy is incredibly effective as an evidence-based therapy for gay and lesbian couples.
Our staff at Mind and Body Counseling Associates (MBCA), Reno, Nevada, are directed by the only certified Gottman therapist in Northern Nevada, Diana Wright. All of our staff, however, have various levels of training in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Furthermore, MBCA is committed to developing staff and services directed at serving the LGBTQ community for children, teens, adults, and couples. Call us or get in touch through our website for more information!