Beyond HIV counseling and testing: LGBT-targeted counseling and health services in Bangkok, Thailand

[Speaker] Ojanen, Timo T:1
[Co-author] Ratanashevorn, Rattanakorn:2
1:Mahidol University (Thailand), 2:Student Wellness Center, Chulalongkorn University (Thailand)

In Thailand, HIV counseling and testing is an established area, and what people might think of when counseling with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) clients is mentioned. However, counseling and mental health services also have the potential and responsibility to help LGBT individuals with issues like identity development, transitioning, coming out, non-acceptance, bullying and intimate relationships. In Thailand, evidence suggests that mental health practitioners do not consistently have appropriate knowledge and attitudes to help LGBT clients on such issues. LGBT-specific services have emerged in Bangkok to provide more appropriate assistance. We focus on peer counseling services operated by LGBT organizations and on a recently established, medical-professional operated clinic for gender variant youth at a public hospital. We compare these systems: How and why they were established, the kinds of issues and clients they deal with, types of staff, approaches used, challenges faced and how these are dealt with.
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