Joseph Contorer LMFT provides all therapy sessions virtually. Telehealth options may include Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, or telephonic appointments.

For more information and appointment scheduling please contact the office at any time at:
310-486-0087 or you may also email directly:

LGBTQ Clients
(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transgender and questioning)
Helpful Definitions for LGBTQ

“Is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others." Bullying is a term that describes a nasty destructive, hurtful action or set of actions aimed at hurting someone else. Bullying can occur in various capacities for different reasons and causes.

Gay children/LGBTQ children and adults are particularly susceptible to bullying. As children, the insensitive, ignorant little peers perceive LGBTQ to be different, which they are sometimes; therefore LGBTQ children are an easy target to be potentially relentlessly harassed and attacked. Fortunately, in recent years the extent of bullying (mainly in schools or similar settings) has received much more public attention and awareness. However, a higher likelihood of bullying, shaming and harassing LGBTQ children and also adults, may always be present. Some who insensitive, ignorant and just don't know any better or really care might presume that bullying and "school yard taunting" is just something that always happens and is part of growing up.

Without significant awareness and premeditated, executed interventions and plans, bullying violations are a likely despicable encounter that LGBTQ children, youth, teens and adults can potentially be confronted with at some point or many points in their childhood. Sadly even with the elevated awareness and intervention, and regardless of more awareness and prevention efforts, collective levels of bullying and shaming towards LGBTQ youth remains a chronic problem. Suicide risks are much higher for LGBTQ youth and adults too. Therefore, identifying bullying, and victims of bullying, which can be a precursor to LGTBQ youth attempting and succeeding at taking their own lives, must be taken very seriously and intervened upon as much as possible.

Bullying is most commonly associated with children being abusive to other children usually in school or educational settings. Bullying might consists of “getting picked-on,” being threatened, abused, harassed, shamed, physically beat-up, assaulted, subjugated and humiliated. Bullying is an abuse that can be verbal, psychological or often times physical. Bullying is an abuse that is not just committed by children; it is also a “style” of communicating and or controlling other people by certain adults. We see bullying on all levels, such as within the family/family systems and family dynamics and also in the workplace. Bullying is particularly relevant in politics or similar situations, like in the workplace at times. It is fairly well documented that the typical prototype of a (childhood) bully is one of a person who is insecure, self-loathing, feels powerless and is projecting their inadequacies on to other victims.

Special Considerations/Therapy Sensitivities for LGBTQ clients LGBTQ- INFORMATION FOR AND ABOUT THE GAY COMMUNITY
(Gay and bisexual Men, Women, Transgender or “Questioning.”)

LGBTQ people have a harder life thanks to many factors; they frequently have a common battle with overcoming a sense of shame. The majority of complications stem from the effects of an overall experience of being discriminated and collectively criticized by and from a variety of sources and movements; no, this is not to suggest that everybody hates all LGBTQ people. However, the levels of actual and potential negativity, ignorance and toxic vitriol against many LGBTQ people at one time or another, is definitely much higher than the general population / heterosexuals.

Things may have improved considerably for LGBTQ communities over time and particularly with gay-affirming legal and political mandates in recent years (such as marriage equality and other anti-discrimination more protective, affirmative laws and policies.) However many LGBTQ persons will continue to report an extensive history of experiencing the ramifications of a destructive, homophobic/anti-gay/ anti-LGBTQ part of society; this was and is damaging, invalidating and shaming.

The actual or potential pervasive anti-LGBTQ/disrespect and negative bias comes in different forms and capacities. It may be either blatant, overt, less obvious or more insidious, covert implications and pressure to be "normal" and not be gay/LGBTQ. Parents, family, religions, schools/teachers, employers, fluctuating, ongoing legal developments can be very influential in different directions and in flux. Therefore, it is no surprise that  LGBTQ persons are highly prone to various forms of depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, addictions and dysfunctional relationships.

In addition to deflecting the negativity, LGBTQ individuals will frequently experience a “Coming-Out” process. Initially, they have to navigate their own personal understanding and process. Later, they will explore disclosing what was previously a much more repressed part of themselves. Coming out and sharing their true selves can be a delicate, humiliating, challenging, yet also empowering process, especially to those closest to them, such as family, friends and peers.

When you have a more difficult life, you likely have more problems and adversity to overcome.
We have the choice to continue to work towards a sense of empowerment through overcoming subjugation and adversity.


May incorporate the following aspects of care or insight and various relative portions of the following:

  • Ultimate Goal: Improved capacity for unconditional self-acceptance with decreased focus on a need for external approval and healing and resolving a history or present level of shame and invalidation.
  • LGBTQ-affirmative approach (referred to by some as “gay-affirmative”) Understanding the unique issues that apply to LGBTQ clients; Treating depression, anxiety, personality issues and other diagnoses with LGBTQ focus in mind.
  • Identifying and resolving a presence of internalized homophobia or other similar variations of self-loathing issues.
    Coming-out/being out/needing to fully come out, or dealing with staying "on the downlow" (The DL) / in the closet.
  • Defense Mechanisms: Identifying projection, repression, displacement, reaction- formation and other walls built up. How to unblock after having numerous experiences of being and or feeling a sense of emotional, psychological, physical and sexual blockage or blockage from other gay men.
  • Understanding how and why personality disorders like narcissism or similar traits are manifested and may be more prevalent.
  • Family of Origin Issues/Family Dynamics: Exploring the influence of past experiences/possible PTSD and other shame and abuse.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral: Focus on healing historical wounds/damage and reprogramming faulty thinking.
    Fostering empowerment, self-esteem, self-confidence and self-efficacy- the belief that I can and I am doing_______.
  • Boundaries to go: Identifying and improving healthy boundary-setting with self and others vs. potential incorrectly learned dynamics from the past (i.e. persistent need to accommodate others and their comfort levels vs. being true to yourself and at the expense of being your true authentic self.)
  • Addictions/Chemical Dependency and Alcoholism:
    Addressing higher likelihood of addictions, codependency or similar compulsive behaviors.
  • Interpersonal-Relationship, intimacy and trust development as indicated in all types of relationships: friends, family, romantic, casual or sexual. HIV/AIDS and the impact historically and presently in the LGBTQ and specifically the gay male community.

Alcoholism and Addictions within the LGBTQ Community

Some reports over time have suggested that the alcoholism/addiction rate among (particularly) gay men in the LGBTQ Communities is as high as 30%. I would be inclined to say it is at least 30% and likely even higher; probably closer to 40-50%. Again, being exposed to toxic negative reinforcements and a lack of safety from many directions and sources creates extreme stress for LGBTQ individuals. To cope with stress they will self-medicate with substances.

Being a closeted young gay child who is busy pleasing and appeasing everyone else, like manipulating, boundary-violating and demanding, intrusive parents, churches and schools, for example, places the child at much greater risks for mental health issues as well as addictions later on. While we might conclude the majority of LGBTQ children and young adults eventually *choose to come out of the closet, *(as opposed to choosing their sexual orientation or gender identity) some gay men and women or trans men and women choose to stay closeted or repressed in some manner, however nobody chooses their sexual orientation they are born with or their gender they are assigned at birth.

Furthermore, nobody really chooses whether they are addict, alcoholic or have an addiction of some sort. They may make choices as to how to respond to their addictions, such as whether to acknowledge the problem and seek some type of treatment. Basically moving towards some degree of sobriety means elevating their awareness of what addiction is and how they are impacted by their various conflicts to and with substance. So, sometimes as with several other areas, addictions and alcoholism may be bigger problems for LGBTQ people.

Recovering from Anti-LGBTQ Abuse, Bullying and Boundary violations

The term “gay” is an accepted currently politically correct term that is used to describe those people who are homosexual. It is often used to refer to homosexual males, while homosexual women are sometimes specifically referred to as “Lesbians” as well as gay.

A brief explanation is as follows:

Gay/LGBTQ adults of today were once gay children, which is the starting point from which much of complexity begins for gay people/LGBTQ. Conditions have improved to some degree over the years for gay children and youth because there is increased awareness, more tolerance and additional legal and political protection for minorities; this includes LGBTQ people and theoretically, gay children/youth, (who will be gay adults in the future.)

Regardless of these improvements, gay children continue to have and may always be faced with greater challenges than their heterosexual peers. LGBTQ children, teens, adults and young adults have/had a higher likelihood for experiencing an unpleasant time at home, school and other similar environments, which is just about everything in a child's world.


Gay children typically become aware of their orientation at different points depending on their physical and cognitive development. Most gay children will   exhibit some sort of signs of their differences in various capacities at various stages of their childhood and adolescence. For example, some gay male children are more noticeably gay (more effeminate) and are either less able or less willing to hide. Other gay children are less deliberate in their attempts to try to repress it. Other gay children make attempts in a variety of ways, to reveal their true sexual orientation at a younger age.

Despite society's gradually increasing LGBTQ awareness and tolerance, most all gay children are at risk for feeling that there is a limited sense of emotional and also at times physical "safety." Gay children are left to ask themselves a frightening question: Where am I  safe? Parents and family may be potentially unaware (or not wanting to be aware) of what is quietly going on with their child. Parents, families and schools/similar authority figures/leaders may also be ignorant, invalidating or profoundly anti-gay and even making this clear to the child if they suspect there is something gay about their child in other cases.

As the child matures, he or she becomes more clear about their innate feelings of being different; they realize that they feel a sense of same-sex attraction or that they may not feel like their assigned gender at the time of birth, if they are transgender. In the case of gay children, they are developing a slightly different mentality with potentially different interests or drives than that of their heterosexual peers.

A duality is created where the gay child grew up very quickly in some regards and is hyper-aware as they try to deconstruct a massively large issue at a young age. At the same time, they may also feel perplexed and thwarted by an anti-gay sentiment around them; they learn that they have next to no where "to go" with their feelings. These secret feelings and secret processes, plus the potential or actual bullying and negative reinforcements around them in their childhood world create a stifling effect.

There are numerous variables and scenarios that can play out in any child's life/history along the road to adulthood and even more variables to add on to that process with regard to LGBTQ children.

The tragic, yet relentless point here is that LGBTQ/gay children and later adults are inevitably going to have a harder life and have to overcome much more than their heterosexual peers. LGBTQ are a vast minority, who will never be fully accepted or fully genuinely, generally treated in the same manner by default, as frequently or as expectedly as the majority of other children, who are not LGBTQ; that is just the way it is. We can and will continue to work on educating and advocating all communities, groups and greater society about the importance of tolerance and being informed in a constructive way about gays and LGBTQ. However, at the end of the day, the reality is that as LGBTQ persons, you/we/they will likely still have to work a bit harder to achieve a happy balance in their lives of self-acceptance and acceptance from others. 

We cannot confirm that there will ever be a genuine, widespread, systemic, judgment-free, naturally occurring sense of equality between gay and straight people. Therefore, while an overall general default acceptance from society would be ideal and more helpful to LGBTQ people  (and also actually to society in general in my opinion,) regardless, LGBTQ persons' level of self-acceptance can not be contingent upon the external approval and acceptance from the outer world.

Coming Out or Not? Pros and Cons of Staying “In the Closet.”

Closet Homosexuality-Some people identify as homosexual men or women (AKA "Lesbian," or "Gay." Others identify as bisexual, transgender or questioning (figuring it out.) The term or reference of being in the closet or "closeted," means that they have kept these various identities, genders and orientations or other similar variations of their sexuality very private, sometimes secretive and often times because of deliberate attempts to keep it hidden.

Sexual orientation is not a choice, however disclosing information about sexual orientation or gender identity is a choice. It is also a choice for anyone who wants to become properly informed and tolerant about LGBTQ.

The boundary to be mindful about is that it is up to the LGBTQ person to decide  how much of their private information and to whom it will be shared with. This is a delicate and individually determined choice. Why do some people choose to remain closeted? Pro’s and con’s of staying in the closet vs. coming out:

Gay Male Community (GMC) stringent standards,
Masculinity Obsession and pursuit of the perfect M-Ranking™

Because of societal pressure and many years of conditioning, beginning in childhood and adolescence, parts of the Gay Male Community, (GMC) within The LGBTQ, has developed what I refer to as The Pursuit of The Perfect M-Ranking.™ Some gay men subscribe to this either as it pertains to themselves personally, or as it relates to their pursuit of other men that they hope and expect to be able to relate to or with.

There are five (5) superficial M-Ranking Criteria; they are often stringent areas of scrutiny that combine to form a score or ranking. Some gay men have learned to emphasize these values or traits to assess and scrutinize other gay men and themselves.


  • Masculinity- The ultimate value for some gay men. Some perceive this as an ability to "pass as straight." This judging is sometimes a manifestation of underlying self-loathing and criticism of gayness.
  • Manhood- Penis size equates more power, by deeming a higher potential quality and caliper of maleness (outlier of masculinity).
  • Model Looks and Muscularity- "Above average" aesthetic appearance and physique is another superficial evalutation. Looking like a professional model would otherwise be limited to professional models. Having a chisseled ultra-fit body is not always obtainable by most people.
  • Money and Materialism- May be used in conjunction with material items, and offers a means to essentially purchase a way into various situations or status; it can compensate for other deficiencies. Power and connections may indicate status and thus a higher desirability. The trappings of materialism include beautiful cars, homes, clothes, trips, and sometimes associating with sex workers or escorts.
  • Mainstream Appeal- The ability to broadly and successfully blend in with both gay and straight environments/communities is an appealing trait in the GMC. Mainstream appeal also includes a favorable, above-average attribute of popularity, charisma, and likability, reminiscent of a more high school- or adolescent-like stage of development and social norms, where there is popularity competition.

*You've Been Blocked is an upcoming book that explores constructive criticism and analysis about dysfunction in the gay male community, coming in June 2024:

While there may be different interpretations of what The M-Ranking™ valuation is comprised of, the general flaw of the M-Ranking™ Pursuit by gay men, is that there is an over-emphasis on superficial, idealistic values and traits. The need for perfection and strict adherence to these expectations is what makes the M-Ranking™ pursuit a dysfunctional process with perpetually diminishing returns. The end result of the pursuit of perfection will create unfulfilling, disappointing, lonely self-defeating results, with the grand finale for too many gay men being a state of being alone and blocked.

You are responsible for un-blocking yourself and your life.

The M-Ranking™ variables create a paradoxical perfection THE OTHER FOUR M-Ranking™ VARIABLES contribute to THE BASIS FOR THE “M” OF MASCULINITY.

Male penis size and function serves as an particularly critical function in the impressionable, conforming minds of many gay men. Penis size may also be of interest and focus among heterosexual men and women. However, gay men are different from straight men, because they are actually seeking another man. Gay men tend to be constantly overly charged and hyper-aware about an idealization of a large penis size. The M-Ranking™ variable of Manhood is likely highly emphasized, because it is very closely associated with masculinity, which is generally the fundamental ideal to be obtained; in some sense, gay men will try to be perceived as less gay and strive to be with a man who is or acts less gay. As crass and shallow as it seems, gay men will glorify the superficial connotation of being "hung," because it equates some hypothetical pseudo-masculinity requirement; for some, this denotes a superior status of prestigious desirability. There is a superfluous, dramatic mantra about "who has a big dick." Focusing on the M-Ranking™ variables, such as Manhood, is predictable, but also juvenile, and perpetuates and promotes unnecessary insecurity among gay men.

Validation and Shame Is a Dangerous Game for LGBTQ Community

LGBTQ children growing up are less likely to be adequately naturally validated in the same capacity as their heterosexual counterparts. They may be growing up in more gay/LGBTQ-friendly or “affirmative” times (i.e. present times/2020s, vs. earlier decades with less and much less awareness, tolerance and political/legal protective functions present). Some may even have supportive, informed smart, pro-active, on the more liberal-sided parents and families.

They may live in a more liberal community, city, state or part of town, for example. They may be a trailblazer, cutting edge, "No-BS" kind of highly confident kid. However, they may still not  be able to exclusively have the same default level of organic validation that occurs in a pre-fabricated, pre-established, presumed manner for straight, heterosexual boys and later men.

The world still predominantly caters to straight people, as they are the majority and the preferred majority by many; these factors will always be influencing parts of the mainstream perception.




  • Internal Satisfaction vs. External Approval
  • Insightful and Informed vs. Shallow, Detached and Unaware
  • Integrity and Humility vs. Insincere and Shallow
  • Independence and Individuality vs. Cloning and Conforming
  • Intimacy vs. Blocked Superficiality: Unblock to share your reality with another or others

This is a more constructive list of qualities to consider as opposed to the "M's of the M-Ranking™ pursuit for perfection. Individual or group therapy can offer a forum for discussion on how this different set of characteristics and values can positively deflect and off-set the tendency to gravitate towards what some gay men perceive to be a seemingly normal draw within the Gay Male Community (GMC) of the LGBTQ.

When reviewing the list of variables composing the U-Factor, how would they or could they apply to you in your life personally and also externally? Consideration could be given to enhancing awareness and connection to these goals, values and characteristics. This focus may be more beneficial than the more typical gay mainstream shallow values of the M-Ranking,™ regardless of what it seems that other gay men are involved in

*Also, if you are a gay man who already feels more evolved, you may have moved past the M-Ranking pursuit. Staying closer aligned with the U-Factor variables can be a useful tool; it can help to manage dealing with other gay men who are less able to contain their tendency to be consumed with the M-Ranking™ pursuit of perfection.