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Counseling the LGBT Population

            Just as counseling theories have changed over the years, so has the population of people that seek it. One population that often turns to counseling is the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, or Questioning (LGBTQ) community. Many in this population have suffered public scorn that has had a negative impact on their self-esteem which has led to feelings of self-worth. Only recently have alternative lifestyles been accepted by large numbers in society. .
             For counselors to effectively treat the LGBTQ community, they need a general idea of the client's history - including the level of scorn and humiliation they've suffered, the paths they've taken to accept themselves, and any positive strides they've made along the way. Counselors should adapt their therapy techniques to meet the unique needs of the LGBTQ population, and focus on common co-occurring conditions, including low self-esteem, guilt, identity issues and the struggle with telling family and friends of their sexual preferences. .
             History of LGBT.
             Over the years, gay people (whatever their age) have been ostracized and treated like second rate citizens. It was not until 1999 that things began to turn around - but that is not to say that gay and lesbian individuals no longer feel the sting of humiliation.
             A brief look back into the history of the United States tells the true story (PFLAG, n.d.). In 1556, the first recorded execution of someone who engaged in same sex activities occurred in Florida. This was followed years later by a law in 1610 that made sex between two men a capital crime, punishable by death. In 1777, Thomas Jefferson, who was considered a liberal, proposed to change the law and make the punishment for same-sex encounters castration for the men involved, rather than death. This law never came to be. By 1860, small pockets of gay communities emerged in the larger cities, making it easier for gay men and women to meet one another, but at the same time, risk the consequences of being caught.

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