One Equal World

A Traumatized LGBT Community

Posted on: August 17, 2016

lgbt-community

Image: Shutterstock

It is a fact of life now that the worst mass shooting in the past century has been against the queer community. It will be on record forever in the history books. For years, maybe decades, queer people will be asked by straight people if they knew someone there, if they’d ever gone to Pulse Nightclub. The tombstone erected by that tragedy in the public mind, in all our minds, has only LGBT written across it.

Is it any wonder that so many of us, so many who have never so much as been to Florida or to any gay nightclub, are still reeling with grief that feels all too personal? ‘It could have been me’ is a reverberation that reaches out across the whole community with any kind of violence like this, and Pulse was only the loudest gong in a whole bell chorus.

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 2015 saw 24 confirmed* hate violence homicides among LGBTQ people in 2015, a 20% increase from the year before.

We are traumatized.

Trauma is usually associated with injury, personal violence, or war. It’s easy, or perhaps only convenient, to overlook it in people whose injuries, violence and war happen at a remove like this. But the end results, the high rates of suicide among LGBT youth and adults, should be evidence for a definitive diagnoses.

That same population is at high risk for all of the other conditions often correlated with PTSD: diabetes, chronic pain or fatigue, addictions, heart or liver disease, and generally lower life expectancy.

A person does not have to be beaten or blown up to be traumatized. Living under the threat of a fist is inherently violent, and therefore traumatic. And in a country that has not even managed to wipe all of its anti-queer laws off the books, a country obsessed with where you go to the bathroom, a country that wants businesses to be able to refuse service to you, the entire community is, every moment, under threat.

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3 Responses to "A Traumatized LGBT Community"

We’re also still here and still moving forward.

Agreed!

Rachel Crowe, I am not gay myself, however, what happened at the Pulse nightclub was wrong on so many levels. What have gay people done to deserve any disdain from some people who are not gay?

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