Understanding Shame and its Impact on the LGBT Community
The Orlando Massacre: A Deep Emotional Stirring in the LGBT Community
I woke up to the news of the Orlando massacre. For many in the LGBT community, including myself, this event resonated deeply. While tragedies are unfortunately common in today’s world, this particular incident at a gay club evoked feelings beyond the obvious.
The days that followed revealed I wasn’t alone in this sentiment. The LGBT community has faced numerous challenges recently. From plebiscites and reversed laws to government-led bigotry and cherry-picked bible statements. But the Orlando massacre felt like the last straw, a culmination of the shame and discrimination we’ve faced for years.
Perhaps we’ve reached the point where we are being subtly (and not so subtly) told that we’re viewed as second class citizens, or worse, that we’re being viewed as ‘wrong’ or ‘defective’ or ‘faulty’, and we’ve reached the tipping point where we’ve had enough.
Feeling the Impact of Shame and the LGBT Community in Australia
There was something about the Orlando massacre that took things to a new level though and created a impact greater than some of us could imagine. How could a horrific event in Orlando provoke feelings of shame within the LGBT community in Austrlia?
It’s not like those of us in Australia knew those people in the club nor was it happening here in our country. We’re far more rational in our thinking than that. This is probably why our reaction here, and in fact many other countries, comes as such a surprise.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen a few people who have come to me to deal with their reactions to Orlando. It seems to have caused people to feel many things which have caught them off guard, ranging from anger to fear to guilt. All of them have been looking for a while to understand these feelings more fully and to be able to have the opportunity to express, resolve and let go.
Shame and the LGBT Community: A Deeper Look
Shame plays a significant role in the lives of many LGBT individuals. It’s crucial to distinguish between shame and guilt. Guilt is about actions, thinking “I’ve done something wrong.” Shame is more personal, feeling “I am wrong.”
As LGBT children, we become aware of the fact that we are different from the other kids. We often are unable to put our finger exactly on what it is. In my own case, I wasn’t even sexually aware until I started to piece together what my preference was; prior to that, it seemed to be a part of me that I had disowned.
Growing up LGBT often means realizing early on that you’re different. This realization can lead to feelings of shame, especially in environments where being different is stigmatized. As we age, this shame can linger, influencing our behaviors and beliefs, reminding us of times we felt “not right” or “wrong.”
Carrying the Shame As We Get Older
As we get older, that shame still sits in the background for us, often impacting on our subconscious to influence our behaviours and beliefs. It’s the gremlin voice in the back of our heads that can often tell us we’re not good enough, which in turn is greeted with emotions such as anger, anxiety, rage, remorse and even guilt for acting out on what feels natural to us but what we’re told is ‘wrong’.
Seeking Acceptance: The Gay Scene
The gay scene, despite its flaws, offers a haven for many. It’s a place where the LGBT community can be themselves, celebrating their uniqueness. Events like the Mardi Gras parade showcase this diversity and unity.
That’s why Orlando feels like such an invasion on a gay ‘sacred’ space. The club scene is meant to be safe. It’s a place, remarkably, of healing. It’s where we are brought together by what we have in common instead of so many other environments where we’re feeling so aware of how we can be different. Incidents like the Orlando massacre shatter this safe space, reminding us of the external world’s prejudices.
Emotions: Understanding and Navigating Them
All emotions have a purpose. While some are labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad’, each can motivate action. For instance, anger can drive change, but it’s essential to manage it healthily. Recognizing and addressing feelings of shame is equally crucial. It’s about understanding when you’re telling yourself “I’m not right” and finding ways to cope and heal.
The key is allowing yourself to sit with all emotions, to be aware of why you’re feeling that and to decide what action you should take that is aligned with your values and the kind of person you want to be.
Likewise, acknowledging that shamed part of you is important too. Noticing when you’re telling yourself ‘I’m not right” and feeling what emotions come up with that. Being able to talk back to yourself in the same way you would comfort a close friend and allowing yourself to feel the emotions fully before letting them go.
The Role of Hypnosis in Healing
Hypnosis offers a way to address the myriad of emotions the LGBT community faces. It can help express and release feelings, reframe experiences, and develop coping strategies. By focusing on love and gratitude, hypnosis can bring light into our lives, helping us rise above challenges and advocate for a better tomorrow.
Most importantly, it can allow us to let go of the things that unnecessarily occupy our minds, to focus on what we can do to help make tomorrow better and to allow us to turn off when necessary and take good care of ourselves.
A massive thank you to Paul Smith for allowing me to use his wonderful illustrations in this article post. You can find out more about Paul by going to his website at http://www.ballsycreative.com/ and check out his incredible prints for sale at http://www.ballsycreative.com/#!printsforsale/cbor.
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