Reclaiming June: Navigating Faith, Identity, and Mental Health in Queer Communities

with Shannon Culkeen

In a world where faith and queer identities often seem at odds, navigating the complex intersections of being both queer and spiritual can feel overwhelming.

For many LGBTQIA2S+ individuals, religious spaces that should offer solace and community instead often become sources of hurt and exclusion.
As we close out the vibrant celebration of Pride in June, it’s crucial to reflect on the importance of inclusive care and queer-affirming therapy; explore the challenges and healing possibilities within these overlapping aspects of identity.

Shannon Culkeen is an experienced RN, Psychotherapist that aims to offer a safe, therapeutic, and confidential space to explore spirituality, religion, and faith deconstruction. 

She works with clients 14+ years old, and especially enjoys working with queer folks navigating their relationship with their faith. 

Read more about Shannon HERE!

Photo of Shannon Culkeen smiling widely wearing a rainbow bead dangly broach
I remember casting my eyes down and shifting uncomfortably in the pew.
My heart sank when I heard the clergyman’s words ring out from the pulpit:

“We need to take back June. We need to reclaim it for the family, for truth, and for our children. The forces that would confuse and harm children must be stopped, with prayer, every day, until June is reclaimed forever from the darkness, from the sin of Pride, for God.”

The preacher gestured forcefully to an image of a flaming heart. When I glanced up from the wood grain of the pew in front of me, I saw people nodding. Even though I was only here for a visit, I realized that I had made a mistake.
I should not have come here.
I am not welcome here. 

Like so many LGBTQIA2S+ people, I have felt years of hurt and exclusion from the faith communities of my youth. In the minds of many religious groups, my identity is aligned with evil and harm to others. I have often been told that my identity is antithetical to family values. During the service that morning, I wondered how this community might receive my beautiful family, waiting at home for my return from church.

I walked out of the front door with a heavy step, reflecting on my desire to be accepted for who I am in all spaces, especially faith spaces.7

What happens when people – especially youth – come out as themselves in faith communities?

Data shows that one in five queer youth identify their religion or spirituality as “very important” to them. This same cohort of LGBTQ youth experiences lower rates of depression than their non-religious LGBTQ peers but faces more discrimination and thoughts of s*icide (The Trevor Project, 2022). 

For many young queer people, the tension between support and harm in belief/faith is hard to navigate.

Navigating faith and queerness can have a significant and profound impact on your mental health.

Often, people disentangling or deconstructing their beliefs about their faith and identity experience pressure from all sides. Who can you trust when you’re worried that God is angry with you?
Are your mental health symptoms coming from a broken identity and “sinful” behaviour or from rejection and misunderstanding by the people you love most?

When I first started reaching out for therapeutic help and support, I was afraid that no queer people, clergypeople, or therapists could listen to what was important to me and understand. Thankfully, I learned that there are thoughtful and understanding healthcare professionals across all identities, providing queer-affirming care and LGBTQ+ mental health support.

Shannon Blog Post (2)

As a Nurse Psychotherapist, I believe it is crucial to have a safe space for all of you in your therapy experience. 

It’s okay to prioritize faith, and it’s okay to take the time to discover yourself. It’s okay to step away from beliefs and communities that have hurt you. It’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to change your mind.

I invite you, like the preacher I heard years ago, to reflect on the meaning of June. As we transition into balmy weather, families running around, and rainbow flags exploding in colour, I encourage you to reclaim this time for yourself. Prioritize your wellness, your spirit, and the relationships that cherish you best.

If you need a special, safe, therapeutic, and confidential space to explore what that means, I am here for you.

I offer LGBTQ+ therapy, inclusive care, and a supportive environment. Whether you’re seeking LGBTQ+ spiritual support, faith deconstruction therapy, or general therapy for LGBTQ+ individuals, I can help.

I can’t wait to meet you.

Get in touch with us

Ready to Begin Your Healing Journey?

Ready to Begin Your Healing Journey?

Get in touch with us

Seeking support for your mental well-being? Our psychotherapy nurse is here to help. Fill out the contact form now to take the first step towards healing and self-discovery.

Our team at Acceptance Nurse Psychotherapy is ready to support you every step of the way. Reach out to us and begin your journey toward a happier, healthier, and more engaged life. Let’s embark on this transformative adventure together. Your well-being is our priority, and your healing can begin here.


Get known to our associates

Get to know our associates

Shannon Culkeen
Hey there! I’m Shannon. I’m thrilled that you’re here, taking the first courageous step on your mental health journey. I aim to build a therapeutic relationship with my clients that is collaborative, creative, and most of all, client-centred. I can’t wait to work with you!


Rate: 1hr appointment $150
Rate: 1hr appointment $150
Sheena Howard
Hello! I’m Sheena, a Nurse Psychotherapist and the owner and founder of Acceptance Nurse Psychotherapy.


Rate: 1hr appointment $225
Rate: 1hr appointment $225
Alexandra (Ally) Sanita
I’m Ally, a nurse psychotherapist. I am currently on maternity leave and I’m grateful for the incredible support I’ve received from my colleagues here at Acceptance as I prepare to welcome my new little one into the world.


Rate: 1hr appointment $150
Rate: 1hr appointment $150
Zara Fischer-Harrison
Hello! I’m Zara, and I am delighted you’re here!


Rate: 1hr appointment $150
Rate: 1hr appointment $150
Hey there! I’m Devon, a Nurse Psychotherapist that takes a compassion-focused, person-centered approach to therapy. My clients would tell you that our sessions will be non-judgemental, supportive, and encouraging of self-kindness and authenticity with a sprinkle of humour.


Rate: 1hr appointment $150
Rate: 1hr appointment $150
Luke French
Hi there! I’m Luke. An RN Psychotherapist who brings a diverse background and a wealth of knowledge to help you succeed, clarify your values, and see where change is waiting for you.


Rate: 1hr appointment $175
Rate: 1hr appointment $175


Choose the right therapy for you

Choose the right therapy for you

Trauma Therapy

At Acceptance Nurse Psychotherapy, we offer specialized in-person and online trauma therapy tailored to your unique needs. You’re not alone, and this burden isn’t only yours to carry. We are here to assist you in managing your emotions and overcoming past difficulties.

Individual Therapy

Welcome! If you’re reading this, you’ve already taken a big step forward by seeking help. To us at Acceptance Nurse Pyshcothearapy… that’s brave. We imagine you’ve been here because life isn’t going as you predicted. Maybe you’ve tried therapy before, but it wasn’t the right fit.

Family Therapy

In family therapy, a group can have many combinations, such as parents/guardians and their children, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and kinship caregivers. With patience, and understanding, we will assist you to simmer into a more harmonious family bond.

LGBTQ+ Therapy

With us, you will find sex-positive, inclusive, and queer-affirming care. Here, you’ll be listened to, understood, and cherished by simply being your extraordinary self. There is no need to hold back your emotions. It is your right to be yourself without apology.

Substance Use & Addiction Therapy

Everyone deserves to be accepted just as they are, without judgment or conditions. Struggling with addiction does not define you. Even reading this article shows strength for change. We can help define these skills, work with you and regain the balance you have lost.

Couple's Therapy

Couples Therapy is more than just one session; it’s a journey toward understanding and growth. Our approachable therapists are ready to guide you and help you learn the tools to work on your relationship together. You’ve committed to each other and we are here to help you share honestly and openly.


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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