I’ve been thinking about something lately. In fact, I’ve been thinking deeply about healing for Black LGBTQ folks. Many Black LGBTQ+ folks are trauma survivors. However, throughout my work with fellow queer folks, I’ve realized that many people are unfamiliar with EMDR therapy and are unsure if or how it could help.
If you’ve read previous blogs, then you’re already aware that EMDR therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic intervention to help heal trauma. Additionally, in healing trauma, EMDR therapy helps rewire your brain and body’s response to trauma. EMDR therapy can help queer folks store traumatic memories and ease bodily responses to trauma.
Black Queer Trauma Experience is Unique
It’s important to note that while Black folk experience many traumas, there’s a difference in the lived experiences of Black LGBTQ+ folks. This difference is increased marginalization. For example, straight black folks experience many isms but still have a level of social acceptance and privilege within their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. However, queer folks do not experience this layer of protection which leads to deeper levels of body-based trauma.
In fact, these deeper levels of body-based trauma lead to internalized homophobia, shame, guilt, worthlessness, loneliness, and hopelessness. Additionally, the feelings manifest in thoughts such as I am unlovable, I am unworthy, I am a mistake. These feelings lead to somatic symptoms such as increased heart rate, gut issues, muscle tension, and more.
The Impact of Trauma for LGBTQ Folks is a Big Deal
The Trevor Project completed a survey with LGBTQ youth ages 13-24 regarding their trauma experiences. The results of this study showed that 37% reported high levels of trauma and 60% reported moderate levels of trauma. This means a total of 97% of the LGBTQ youth who survived are being impacted mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally by trauma.
BIPOC Folks Experience Higher Level of Trauma
Additionally, in the same survey, the surveyors found that symptoms of trauma were higher among LGBTQ youth of color, multisexual youth, and transgender, and nonbinary youth. Furthermore, LGBTQ youth of color reported significantly higher rates of having high levels of trauma symptoms (37%) compared to White LGBTQ youth (36%). This means that Black LGBTQ youth are experiencing more trauma and by default more trauma symptoms.
EMDR Therapy is an essential healing tool for Black LGBTQ Folks
Black LGBTQ folks experience more trauma symptoms from a mind-body perspective. Which also means an increased risk for health concerns. However, EMDR can help decrease these impacts. Further, because Queer folks often experience high levels of trauma these traumatic memories may not be fully processed. This can lead to increased anxiety, difficulty trusting others, and being on guard. EMDR focuses on helping the brain process traumatic memories which can ease these responses and give you back the power over your body. EMDR can help with:
- Sexual assault
- Sleep disturbance
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Violence and abuse
Begin EMDR Therapy with a Black Queer Therapist in Pikesville, MD
Queer folks deserve deep healing. EMDR is a well known and well researched practice that can help you reach new levels. Furthermore, it can help your body relax and provide relief from stress response. You deserve access to quality trauma therapy that is proven to help. Please know that you are not defined by your trauma. I know you’re tired of being tired. I also know you’re tired of feeling defeated and confused when you’re triggered. Let EMDR therapy help re-story your experiences and shine more of the beauty that you are.
If you are ready to get started, follow these three steps: