A briefing paper introducing the eQuality Project, and research which informs the need was written by consultant psychotherapist Dr Maeve Malley in the beginning stages of this project.  A segment of this paper is shown below:


Discussing LGBT populations as though they define their identity consistently and share characteristics and attitudes is necessarily over-simplistic - it is self-evident, that lesbian, gay male, bisexual and transgender (after referred to as 'trans' - given their chosen term) populations do not form homogenous groups.
Wide-ranging research suggests that many LGBT people are reluctant to access mainstream advice, support or therapy services or are unwilling to disclose their sexual orientation in case they are misunderstood or experience discrimination. More than thirty years ago Tripp  (1977) was warning against 'the new liberalism' of toleration and 'surface acceptance' (p.1) of homosexuality within the mental health system and he was one of many to voice such anxieties over the years. The basis of the anxiety is generally the same - an apprehension of tolerance equating with assumptions of 'sameness' and consequently, a need to pathologise manifestations of 'difference' (Proctor, 1994; Shelley, 1998).  Kitzinger and Coyle (1995) summarise such anxieties,
' This prevailing liberal humanist perspective [within psychology] has led to a heavy emphasis on the similarity between homosexual and heterosexual sexual relationships. While this is obviously an improvement on research which simply pathologises such relationships, it has led to inappropriate attempts to force lesbian and  gay lifestyles into those patterns supposed typical of heterosexuals and to the eradication or pathologisation of those aspects of lesbian and  gay relationships which do not conform to the heterosexual model.' (P.65)

Later discussions in the area of therapy with trans populations (Lev, 2004) similarly point to the dilemma of simplistic 'either/or' dichotomies in working with these clients - male/female, gay/straight, pre-op/post-op.

To read more on this, download an electronic copy of this document by clicking here.