Gaylesta's involvement in social justice issues is an important outgrowth of Gaylesta's charter, given our mission to serve the community, build awareness of cross-cultural issues and promote awareness of concerns impacting the mental health of the LGBTQ community.
As a professional association of psychotherapists, we understand the impact that social factors have on the well-being of our community, individually and collectively. Mental health and well-being cannot be understood outside of a frame of reference that includes such factors as minority stress, racism, inequities in social power and privilege, discrimination and violence, poverty and economic insecurity. This is why we have seen our mandate as challenging homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of institutionalized discrimination/oppression, promoting the recognition of alternative families and relationships, and working toward the inclusion of those who are disenfranchised. Our efforts to promote the mental health of our community are not limited to the work we do in our private practices and agencies -- they must challenge the social forces that impact minority stress. Hence, promoting health and resilience among the population we serve relies upon focusing on larger, systemic changes.
Gaylesta stands in solidarity with the organizations and individuals who are voicing their concerns about the social injustices of our time. Along with those who are nonviolently protesting, we grieve the early deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and other people of color who have died due to excessive force from the police. As LGBTQ mental health professionals, we know the cost of inequality and we acknowledge and honor the grief, anger, and frustration that is being felt at this time. We urge clinicians to educate themselves as to the institutionalized racism embedded in our society and to support the growing movement to demand its eradication. To find out more about the movement that is underway, go to Blacklivesmatter.com.