Note from Esther: Patrick is a close friend of mine and an amazing therapist in Los Angeles. He specializes in traditional therapy for conditions like anxiety and depression, and is also an amazing choice for people that need LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy, hearing loss coaching, and more. I asked him to share some of his thoughts here for my readers.
My name is Patrick Tully, and I am a Los Angeles therapist serving the LA, Culver City, and Pasadena community – among many other areas of California. I also can offer teletherapy in Texas and Florida.
I am also gay. As a gay therapist myself, I recognize how important it is for people in the LGBTQ+ community to have someone they can talk to – someone that understands them. I also know that sometimes, what you need most is, specifically, to be seen and accepted. This is why one of my passions is known as LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy.
I am a gay cis man who has been oppressed by a society that has traditionally viewed heteronormativity as the norm. I am glad to see the messages around it changing, but it still is very much the case that life for those that do not identify as traditional “straight white males,” life for marginalized groups remains a challenge.
Much like when gay men were attacked in the 1990s, trans people are being targeted today by hate. It is scary to see. I have many clients who are afraid to live their everyday lives and I do not blame them. I chose to become licensed in multiple states to hopefully do something for more people in areas that needed help.
There are so many resources in SF public libraries, as Esther informed me, for LGBTQ individuals, and it has been thrilling to see that in liberal communities. It is wonderful to have places where there is access. But it’s important to realize that not every place has access to those materials.
We live in a time where trans rights are being targeted. We must continue to ensure that information about the entire community is protected, including those of different gender identities including but not limited to: cisgender, transgender, and genderfluid identities. There is an urgent need to learn about and protect those who are of various sexual orientations: gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, and other identities. There are people who may not fit into one binary box and there also needs to be appreciation for those people who do not feel as if they identify as any of these labels in terms of gender identity and/or sexual orientation.
I have spoken at conventions whenever I can. I have spoken about the intersections of various identities as they can collide so often, and more often than we think. This is not surprising. I am proud of the work all LGBTQIA+ Affirmative therapists and people do to further the education and reduce the stigma of being part of this community. I know the future holds better things in store, But we must focus on the here-and-now and how to make things better for people living in not great conditions and for people who are living in better conditions. It does not matter what type of advantages you have; you deserve therapy, and you deserve the insight and introspection a trained LGBTQ Affirmative therapist can provide.
It is also important to remember that gender identity and sexual orientation are distinct and not to be mixed. This is one of the most frustrating things that trans people must deal with in questions from their family and friends. Please do your research before asking them to do emotional labor for you. I would also ask you to please use the internet and utilize credible resources such as PFLAG’s incredible resources: https://pflag.org/find-resources/ to help inform yourself if a friend and/or family member has come out to you and you want to know more. You are likely coming from a great place, but minority stress and emotional labor is real, and searching online for answers is now so easy to do and quite fun!
I am thrilled to continue learning for the rest of my life as that is the only way I can truly remain validating to all people in the community. I encourage anyone, including those of a straight cis background, to do the same. Only by educating ourselves can be hope to combat the setbacks that are occurring all around us right now.
There is much more work to be done, and there are many continuing education resources that exist online for the public as well as therapists. I hope therapists will seek out those that are conducted by those with lived experience first.
In working with people in technology and creative fields, I find many LGBTQ individuals who feel misunderstood and need someone to talk to and process their feelings who understands these fields. I have a creative arts background having graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts acting conservatory before obtaining my SAG card and creating a SAG web series and creating a one-person show. I also have worked with many people in multiple roles in the tech industries and have a deepened understanding of that field as well. I consider myself lucky in those regards. They have translated well to the needs of today and my Post-master’s Certificate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. In technology, I have always found myself personally fascinated with technology in general, so it is no surprise I have an interest in working with individuals in this field!
LGBTQIA+ Affirmative therapy is always a needed specialization because there are so many groups that make up the community and intersecting identities as well. There are also groups frequently who do not feel safe either. I want my therapy space to be warm and inviting for people, and that makes my job worthwhile. I wish people knew that no matter what their concerns, they did not have to worry about whether therapy might help them or not. I try to be collaborative and flexible in my approach. I look at both patterns that have worked and those that have not worked and then examine what hasn’t worked to see how we can improve the client’s level of functioning so they can feel better! That journey looks different for everyone, and that is completely normal.
I am grateful to be able to work with the LGBTQIA+ community and continue my work and education and spread the word that there is a great need. Esther Oh has been an amazing colleague to work with. I thank Esther for encouraging me to write this blog, and please reach out if you feel that you would benefit from talking to a gay therapist that will make sure you feel seen.
Patrick Davey Tully, LMFT