When vulnerability leads to microaggressions

All too often 2SLGBTQ+ individuals courageously share how they’ve been marginalized and erased in their community spaces (family, workplace, religious communities and ethnic communities) as a way to ignite much needed change. Sometimes it’s met with love, compassion and understanding. Other times it’s met with resistance, perceived as a threat to the status quo and dismissed through subtle micro-aggressions. You hear statements like, but ‘our community is inclusive’, ‘the leadership haven’t said anything bad against the 2SLGBTQ+ community’, ‘we are a community of love.’ Your lived experience tells a drastically different story.

When your experience is dismissed, you feel like you’re the crazy one for putting your needs of safety first, for choosing to be in spaces that accept all of you. You personalize the comments to mean that you made the wrong decision. You think that maybe you overacted or you misinterpreted how inclusive your community space really is. The guilt, shame, fear, hurt, betrayal and anger fill your body. Your mind goes crazy on replaying the interaction over and over again. This was my reality this week.

This isn’t solely a you problem. You may of personalized the other person’s comments, but it also speaks to a larger issue at play.

  • Some people want to hold on their rose coloured view of their community. They want their community to be perceived as perfect and not acknowledge the weaknesses. Know you’re experience is still valid.

  • Some people feel threatened when you point out things that need to be changed. Know you’re experience is still valid.

  • Some community spaces aren’t ready to evolve in their belief systems. Continue to do what’s right for you no matter what other people or community spaces tell you.

  • Some people and community spaces as whole are living in fear and believe that the acknowledgment of 2SLGBTQ+ folks within their community space will result in detrimental consequences. This is false. When you make space for everyone in your community, it becomes stronger and more resilient. The alternative is continuing to deny the issue and setting the foundation for the community to implode at some time in the future.

To those that are in a position of privilege by being part of the heterosexual majority:

  • Recognize your privilege as being part of the majority who feel safe, loved and supported.

  • Recognize the courage it takes for 2SLGBTQ+ folks to share their experiences when they are a minority within a minority.

  • Listen more.

  • Don’t invalidate the 2SLGBTQ+ person’s experience.

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