Thursday, April 3, 2014

Exploring Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

The most challenging part of our 14th Annual Education Conference on Saturday, April 12 is choosing which of the six workshops to attend in the afternoon. With the theme Young Adults and Mental Illness: Voice for Hope, each of the workshops will address a different issue affecting young adults, known as the Millennial Generation.

We've reviewed two workshops, Treatment in the Millennial Age and How Young Adults Can Afford the Affordable Care Act. Today we are highlighting a workshop that will address gender and sexuality among young adults.

Exploring Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

The Millennial Generation is seeking to honestly and openly explore gender norms and traditions. What does it mean for young people to identify their sense of gender as different from their assigned gender? How do those with an LGBTQ orientation gain acceptance in a society where heterosexuality is the cultural normative? Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ) is NOT a mental illness. However, LGBTQ people often face societal stigma and resulting prejudice and discrimination. For some individuals, this can impact wellness and exacerbate other signs and symptoms that might lead to depression, substance use and anxiety. This workshop is designed to give participants a basic understanding of sexual orientation and gender differences in today's young adults and how these traits might impact mental health.

Presenter: Sarah M. Rosso, Director of Public Education at Mental Health America of Allegheny County, and Trainer at Persad Center, Inc.

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