The Need For Chronic Trauma Therapy: The Impact of Trauma on LGBTQIA+ Communities

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community will tell you that trauma is a part of their everyday lives. Many people have been victims of traumatic events, bullying, and harassment due to their identity or gender presentation. These traumatic events impact people of all ages and can have long-lasting effects. We will take a closer look at the impact of long-term trauma on the LGBTQIA+ youth and community and how the team at Healing Foundations Center can help those searching for chronic trauma therapy in Scottsdale.

LGBTQIA+ Trauma in Youth

Many in the LGBTQIA+ community begin to recognize and know their identity at a young age. This is when the traumatic experiences can begin. Children can be bullied and harassed at alarming rates. According to the Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey, 1 in 3 LGBTQIA+ youth have been the victims of physical threats or harm due to their identity. [1]

These physical threats from bullying and harassment are only a fraction of the trauma LGBTQIA+ youth can face. Other contributing factors include[2]:

  • Traumatic Loss
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Physical and Sexual Abuse
  • Bias
  • Rejection

Bias and rejection just don’t come from strangers. Many youths in the LGBTQIA+ community face this from their friends and families. The fear of how other people will react to their identity can be traumatic even before coming out. They may worry they will lose friends or their families will disown them.

For many, their fears of isolation and loneliness become a reality. Statistics show that 29% of LGBTQIA+ youth have been homeless, ran away from home, or been kicked out of their homes. [1]

Conversion Therapy and LGBTQIA+ Trauma

As some youth face rejection from family and the dangers of homelessness, others also find themselves forced to undergo conversion therapy. This is when methods are used to try to change a person’s gender or sexual identity to become cisgender or straight. According to the Trevor Project, around 10% of LGBTQIA+ youth have experienced some form of conversion therapy. [1] This type of therapy can be hazardous as statistics show that suicidal thoughts and attempts were nearly twice as high in LGBTQIA+ youth who had experienced some form of conversion therapy compared to those who did not.[3]

LGBTQIA+ Trauma in Adults

The trauma in the LGBTQIA+ community does not stop when someone reaches adulthood. Adults in the LGBTQIA+ community face experiences that also lead to trauma. These include:

    • Bullying
    • Harassment
    • Not having a safe living space
    • Losing a job or not being able to keep a job
    • Denied medical care
    • Physical assault
    • Sexual assault
    • Living in a place that doesn’t support LGBTQIA+ rights

Statistics highlight the dangers and trauma that those in the LGBTQIA+ community face. They are four times more likely to experience a violent assault than straight people. [4] These assaults can include anything from rape to robbery and aggravated assault.

Effects of Chronic Trauma on the LGBTQIA+ Community

The effects of trauma on the LGBTQIA+ community are profound and, too often, long-lasting. They impact all aspects of life, from relationships and family to school and physical health.

Mental Health

A history of trauma can increase the risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Statistics show that members of the LGBTQIA+ community are twice as likely as cisgender and straight people to have a mental health disorder. [5] The more trauma people experience, the more shame they may feel, leading to an increased likelihood of mental health problems that only a comprehensive chronic trauma therapy plan can help with.

According to the Trevor Project, 68% of LGBTQIA+ youth had anxiety symptoms within two weeks. [1] Research also shows that LGBTQIA+ adults are 2.5 times more likely than straight adults to have depression or anxiety.

Post-traumatic stress (PTSD) is another mental health condition that people can experience as an effect of long-term exposure to traumatic situations. Symptoms of PTSD include invasive thoughts that won’t go away, flashbacks to traumatic events, mood changes, angry outbursts, and issues with sleep and focus.

Physical Health

The impact of trauma is also seen in physical health. Children with a history of trauma are twice as likely to have chronic health conditions compared to those who do not experience any trauma.[6]

Suicide Rates and LGBTQIA+ Trauma

One of the most troubling effects of trauma on the LGBTQIA+ community is seen in high suicide rates. According to the 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health done by the Trevor Project, 42% of LGBTQ youth considered attempting suicide in 2020. [1] This includes more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.

In a 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 40% of transgender respondents reported attempting suicide during their lifetime. [7] That’s nearly nine times the rate in the U.S., at 4.6%.

Recognizing LGBTQIA+ Trauma & Preventing It

All of the statistics we’ve shared with you show the need for more to be done to recognize trauma within the LGBTQIA+ community and prevent it. Here are some things that can be done:

Create Support

Creating support for those in the LGBTQIA+ community is essential. When people are supported, they can feel safe being who they are.

Raise Awareness

Raising awareness of the LGBTQIA+ community and its challenges can help prevent trauma, harassment, and bullying in all age groups.

Be Understanding

Being understanding of the challenges those in the LGBTQIA+ community face can help not only recognize trouble but also prevent traumatizing events from happening.

Practicing Self-Care

Those in the LGBTQIA+ community can help mitigate their trauma by practicing self-care and wellness. While they may not be able to control the actions and thoughts of others, they can promote better health within themselves. This includes regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and a good night’s sleep.

What Chronic Trauma Therapy at Healing Foundations Center Entail

Healing from trauma can be difficult for those in the LGBTQIA+ community when you consider that 46% of youth report wanting emotional counseling but being unable to get it. At Healing Foundations Center, we offer chronic trauma therapy in Scottsdale for people who have experienced various traumas.

Our team helps patients dealing with PTSD, acute stress disorder, and many other types of traumas. At Healing Foundations, we use various techniques to help patients deal with the effects of chronic trauma and mental health disorders. Different types of therapies, eye movement desensitization, reprocessing, and somatic experiences are among the techniques our team uses. If you are experiencing trauma and are seeking treatment options, call us today to find out how we can help you.