The mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs last month was a traumatic event that sent shockwaves across the nation and around the world.The impact especially reverberated throughout the LGBTQ community as the attack, which left five people dead, occurred at a popular gay nightclub that served as a sanctuary for the city’s LGBTQ population.
or many, the tragedy was a painful reminder of the repeated traumas that queer people often endure and carry with them throughout their lives—from being bullied to being rejected to living a life of secrecy.
Though these may not be considered “big traumas” like the Club Q shooting, these “little traumas” can build up and lead to a lifetime of emotional pain and distress.
“Those little Ts, or those microtraumas, can often be the most insidious because they’re the ones you live with every single day,” says Kyle Bonner, Diversity Equity Inclusion Coordinator at Penn Medicine Princeton Health.
Bonner says that, while gay women and other LGBTQ people may face similar traumas, the manifestation of those traumas is often different, especially for gay men, compared to other subgroups.
“As with any trauma, it’s the behaviors that follow that are critical. In gay men specifically, sometimes those behaviors can manifest in extremely ineffective ways,” he says.
Research shows that compared to other men, gay and bisexual men have higher chances of major depression, bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Gay men are also at greater risk for substance abuse and suicide.
At Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health, gay men struggling with trauma and its effects have access to care that is inclusive and accepting of all patients regardless of sexual identity or orientation.
This care includes the Men’s Program, which serves as a safe, trust-filled environment for men who have experienced traumatic events that are impacting their well-being and overall functioning.
This story is by Kim Maialetti.