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 difficult to name and describe. The chronic stress and trauma of these experiences builds up over time, and it negatively impacts our health, our personal development, and our overall sense of wellbeing.
It’s not uncommon to struggle with anxiety and depression or to feel like you’re barely surviving. These emotional challenges, coupled with an actual history of judgment and rejection, can make it very difficult to trust and feel close to others. This often leads to unhealthy coping through sexual compulsivity, substance misuse, lashing out at other people, or other risky and harmful behaviors. 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 liberate ourselves from the limits of heteronormativity and the gender binary, to increase our awareness and compassion for the injustices others face, and to commit to making a positive difference in the world. With time and practice, we can learn self-care and self-compassion skills that reduce our dependance on unhealthy coping strategies. This work is necessary to move from surviving to thriving. It’s not easy, but help is available.
As a gay man from the rural South, I have a special commitment to LGBTQ+ health, wellness, and justice. I've been organizing and providing services for LGBTQ+ communities for the last 15 years. 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, complex trauma, social isolation, aging, and problems with sex and intimacy.
With two office locations and outdoor services in the Oakland Redwoods, I work for the personal and spiritual development of LGBTQ+ individuals, couples, and groups throughout the East Bay. I draw on my own personal experiences and Minority Stress Theory, which links social inequality to chronic stress and difficulties with emotion regulation. Please contact me to discuss services or to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.
*Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and others who identify as gender or sexual minorities