When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision,
then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
We've lived with stigma and discrimination our whole lives. Our community faces violence and prejudice all around the world. Even here in the progressive bubble of the Bay Area, we sometimes face outright rejection or hostility. Perhaps more often, we experience smaller insults or invalidations that don't feel good but are hard to call out. The chronic stress of these experiences builds up over time, and it may take its toll on our personal growth and development. It’s not uncommon to experience problems with sex, substance use, your emotions, or your relationships with other people. And since many LGBTQ+* folks have internalized shame and self-hatred, we sometimes feel isolated and struggle to find a sense of belonging–even within our own community.
On the other hand, our LGBTQ+ experiences are also a great foundation for resilience and personal growth. We have unique opportunities to cultivate pride in who we are and what we've overcome, to increase our awareness and compassion for the injustices others face, and to commit to making a positive difference in the world. The rapid changes in popular culture and public policy over the last 10 years are a testament to our resilience and determination.
As a gay man from the rural South, I've been organizing and providing services for LGBTQ+ communities for the last 15 years. With offices in SF and Oakland, I work for the personal growth and development of individuals, couples, and groups throughout the Bay Area. I draw on my own personal experiences and on minority stress theory, which links experiences of social inequality to chronic stress and difficulties with emotion regulation. While I aim to create a safe and inclusive space for all members of our community, I’m especially attuned to gay men’s issues related to shame, internalized homophobia, sensitivity to rejection, sex and intimacy, aging, and living with HIV/AIDS. Check out the posts below to hear some more of my thoughts on LGBTQ+ resilience and wellbeing.
*Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and others who identify as gender or sexual minorities