If you talk with mental health professionals and other helping professionals, including attorneys and doctors, you will sometimes hear that they get asked, “Why do you need to specialize in working with the LGBTQ+ community?” Some may be wondering why and how this is a niche. Listed below are a few reasons as to why working with the LGBTQ+ community is a niche and why this should be marketed as such.
Individuals who self-identify as LGBTQ+ just want someone to talk to who is non-judgmental, accepting, and affirming. Not all professionals provide a safe-space for this community. In fact,
some within this community have faced discrimination and unethical practices simply because that person identifies at LGBTQ+. Individuals within this community are looking to seek services from a professional who is affirming, and who genuinely cares.
In addition, individuals within this community are seeking out services from competent and affirming professionals. This means that the professional has received education and training in order to be competent and knowledgeable to work with this community. For example, a competent professional will ask what pronouns an individual uses, rather than assuming one’s pronouns and possibly even using the wrong pronouns. Also, an affirming professional often times displays signs and materials showing that the professional’s space is a Safe Space/Safe Zone. Individuals within the LGBTQ+ community may notice a rainbow flag or rainbow sticker displayed in the office, or they may notice language on marketing materials and websites that speaks to the individual that, “I am an ally, and I am competent to work with you.”
Lastly, I believe this niche is important because the LGBTQ+ community needs allies, advocates, and voices. For those of us who created this as our professional niche, we are allies, we are advocates, and we use our voices each and every day. We use our voices to educate the public, educate families, and educate institutions. We also use our voices to try to create change within policies and laws, and we are focused on fighting for human rights.
If anyone ever asks, “Why and how is working with the LGBTQ+ community a niche?” I would ask, “How is it not?”