Chapter 3: Trauma and grief in 2SLGBTQ+ communities
When you hear about homicides on the news, it’s like, “Oh, that’s sad,” but when it’s someone you know, it’s a whole different story. It made me and my partner really rethink things. We used to take our safety for granted, but after that, we were both really looking over our shoulders for a while.
It’s hard to fully articulate how traumatic events have shaped our lives. Many nights, I have nightmares about someone I love being killed.
Trauma is a normal response to any event or experience that is highly distressing and overwhelms your ability to cope. You may be left feeling unsafe, disoriented, or numb.
As a 2SLGBTQ+ person, you may have had several traumatic experiences. Some may have affected you directly, such as a personal assault, while others may have affected you indirectly, such as when others in your community were harmed or killed.
This chapter explores some potential sources of trauma in greater detail. These include intimate partner violence, suicides, and violence and hate crimes.
A note about trauma: Any new trauma can stir up thoughts and feelings from earlier ones. For example, the death of someone who abused you in the past may bring up old feelings of powerlessness and being overwhelmed. Sometimes you can become “stuck” with these feelings. You might experience disturbing images, have nightmares or night terrors, or continue to feel vulnerable and unable to trust yourself or the world. If this happens, it’s important to seek professional help.