What a LGBT day! Equal Marriage in England and Wales
July 2013 has been positively gay. We now have Equal Marriage in England and Wales after the bill was finally granted royal assent. There are few people around these days who would decry a woman’s right to vote; one could be left wondering how long it will take for gay and transgender people to live with the same acceptance. President Putin has banned the adoption of Russian children by residents of any country who allows equal marriage. He has also imposed a ban on public promotion of homosexuality.
This week has also seen the decision to pardon Mr Alan Turing. He was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 for time spent engaging in sexual activity with another man. He’d spent considerably more time cracking the Enigma Code, which brought the second world war to an early end and saved thousands of lives. Mr Turing was given the choice of a prison sentence or chemical castration. He chose to end his life. Who requires a pardon here?
So what does this have to do with coaching? Many gay people are courageous and resilient; however, years of derision and prejudice have a habit of sticking. Identifying with oppression is far from healthy - however, this could be the reason that some gay people are self oppressed and even homophobic. Tell a person they are beautiful enough times and they will eventually believe it; sadly, the opposite is also true. When we are capable of believing almost anything, why choose to believe the worst about ourselves? Perhaps the answer is simple; it’s easier to fit in. People are afraid of what they don’t understand and it’s a lot easier to make like everyone else than attempt to justify and accept our differences. Here’s the deal - we are all different. No two people are alike, even if those two people happen to be attracted to each other.
A number of members of the LGBT community could potentially see benefits from attending personal coaching at some point in their lives. So what areas of coaching are likely to best benefit this community? Coming out? Conflict with family, friends or religious leaders and doctrines? Perhaps it's about fitting in with accepted perceptions of normality, or even working out what our kind of normal looks like. There may be partners holding relationships together, where one or both of them are attracted to others. Are heterosexual relationship models appropriate for everyone? Surely there are more similarities to a coaching process with members of the LGBT community than there are differences?
Don’t we all need to feel loved and valued, especially by ourselves, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation? Do you love, value and respect yourself? Coaching is never more valuable than at a time of transition. When a person is striving to discover their true identity and live a full and authentic life, nothing can be more damaging to their process than listening to the misguided (but perhaps well-intentioned) opinions of others.
The NLP world offers a useful concept where misaligned perceptions and opinions are concerned. The presupposition is this: The map is not the territory. We create our own map of the world according to how we have experienced it. A heterosexual person who may have never had experience of the LGBT world could potentially believe that there is something wrong with this state of being, or otherwise have difficulty identifying with it - of course, this doesn’t make their opinion right. This is merely an opinion based on their particular world view. A gay person’s map would have significant differences, of course, but the destinations would be pretty much the same; to be loved, valued and respected. This is not a case of who’s right or wrong; more a case of whose voice should be listened to in this situation - yours or theirs?
If you are facing difficulty around your sexuality, relationships or associated cultural identity, coaching can help. Coaches accept and celebrate without judgement. You can create the life you want and become your true, authentic self. Furthermore, you don’t have to achieve this on your own.