Queering DBT – In Honor of Pride

Queering DBT Skills

Queering DBT – In Honor of Pride

June is officially Pride Month and with the current political climate in the country making laws to restrict our very existence, I am proud to be a Queer therapist supporting Queer youth.

I am also proud to work for and alongside such supportive people at Hartstein Psychological Services.

Just a Little History

Pride was a protest and continues to be a protest. Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson and other Queer and Trans* people of color led the revolt against police officers harassing queer folks and invading spaces that were inclusive and welcoming. It was the first time queer people really disrupted the status quo—the riot lasted 6 days starting on June 28th, 1969. This event transformed the Gay Liberation Movement and a year later in 1970, the first pride marches happened.

“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” – Audre Lorde

Our very existence is a radical act and as Queer people, we have so many obstacles to overcome, which can really be dysregulating. Queer young people are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and self-harm (just to name a few).

Why is that? Over 540 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures, over 220 bills specifically target transgender and non-binary people, and 45 anti-LGBTQ bills have been enacted. That’s a lot of effort for such a small percentage of our population. According to the Human Rights Campaign in 2021, approximately 8% of the United States identified as LGBTQ, or something other than heterosexual.

So, how do we take care of ourselves?

How is it possible to be loud, proud, glittery and SAFE?  The radical approach is taking care of yourself. I’ll say it again, “take care of yourself.” Be yourself and do what’s comfortable for you. Some situations require safety first. Some situations allow us to be unapologetically ourselves.

Let’s look at some skills we can use to make this Pride Month colorful, radical and positively fabulous.

  • Emotion Regulation — Accumulate Positive Experiences.
    • Short term: increase pleasant events like pride marches or hanging out with your friends. Do one thing each day, practice opposite action and be mindful (even though June is Pride Month, we can celebrate all year long).
    • Long term: build a community—online, in person or both! Find a space that makes you feel comfortable.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness — Getting others to do what you want (DEAR MAN), maintaining self-respect (FAST), and building and maintaining relationships (GIVE). Be unapologetically you, learn to love yourself (flaws and all) and surround yourself with people who respect you as you are.
  • Mindfulness — ‘What’ Skills; observe, describe and participate. Be present, focus on yourself and what you’re doing. Being present can be rewarding and a safety skill. Building memories with others that support you so that one day you can share your story.
  • Distress Tolerance — S.T.O.P. Stop, Take a step Back, Observe, Proceed mindfully. Be aware of what you’re feeling and what’s going on around you. Peer pressure is no fun, only do what you are comfortable with at that moment. You always have time to grow.

Parents, Guardians & Supportive Adults

How can you support your kids? Be supportive, be curious and be open! You don’t have to fully understand—walking the middle path allows you to have a conversation with love and support even if you don’t quite get it. Identity is complicated. For too long, we’ve been expected to fit into a nice little box. Well, that box isn’t big enough for all the gorgeous personality that your kids have to offer. Listening is a powerful tool.

As always, talk with your therapist for resources to make this month extra special for you. Be safe, be aware, and be you.

“Hope will never be silent.” – Harvey Milk

Authored by: Tyler Diaz, LCSW