Coping With Gay Microaggressions
In a previous post, I talked about what gay microaggressions are with some examples. Understanding your experiences on an intellectural level, while helpful in gaining perspective, is still very different from actually coping with them when they happen.
In this post, I want to go over how to actually deal with and teach you tools for coping with gay microaggressions. These unfortunate (abusive) experiences that unfortunately many gay men and people in the LGBTQ community face aren’t going to go completely away in our lifetimes.
Hopefully, in the near (ish) future, the world will become an even kinder and more understanding place to all people who society deems as “different”.
While gay microaggressions may not be going away anytime soon, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways to deal with them effectively. Here are some tips on coping with gay microaggressions and microaggressions against the microaggressions against the lgbtq+ community.
1. What People Say Is A Reflection On Them (Projections)
This is so important to remember, no matter if you are gay or straight, or bi. What people say about you and to you is a reflection on them and where they are at (or aren’t at). It is their projections and their opinions that they are voicing, not reality or the truth. But for those in the lgbtq+ community, the harsh opinions of others is exhausting to deal with at best, and feels traumatic and unsafe at worst.
It’s exhausting and demoralizing (and again traumatizing) to have your truth and reality and mere existence be put into question all the time. To feel the insults and what people think the truth is about your life, when they really know nothing about it. But these opinions are not your reality. They are not your truth, because your truth is yours and yours alone. Remember this!
2. Consider The Source
Who is saying it? Is it a family member? A friend who meant no harm, not realizing what they were saying? A stranger who’s uncalled for opinion was voiced? A mean spirited bully who finds it fun to attack people?
Considering who is voicing these microaggressions won’t exactly make them easier to deal with. Or make them feel less insulting. It also does not, by any means, excuse them. But sometimes if you consider the source, their upbringing or background, it can lessen the feelings of hurt that you are feeling and go a long way in developing up a supportive and helpful mindset for coping with gay microaggressions when they do occur.
The most important thing to remember here is that once again, these are their opinions and biases, not yours and is in no way a reflection on you.
3. You Don’t Have To Respond, If You Don’t Want To
There are some people whom you just can’t win an argument with or even get along with. No matter how hard you try to educate them or to let them know that their words and behaviors are uncalled for and hurtful – they just won’t get it. It can feel very frustrating when you are so insulted by their words that you just want to correct them or defend yourself.
But in the long run, it’s much better for your own mental and emotional health if you walk away and do not respond. Of course, this is an occurrence where considering the source will help you make that decision. If you feel that maybe you can get through to them, then by all means, go for it (as long as it is safe in every way to do so).
However, don’t feel as if you need to try to educate them if it will end up turning into a yelling match or even more hurtful words being thrown around. You can also go with the approach of keeping your response simple. “What you just said was really hurtful and I think it’s best that this conversation ends here.”
4. Additional Ways For Coping With Gay Microaggressions
Learning to protect your own mental health is so important, no matter your sexual / romantic orientation. But especially for gay men and those in the LGBTQ+ community, it is crucial. We are attacked (or ignored – which is another form of attack) daily and sometimes in the most subtle of ways.
But ensuring that you find ways to honor your truth and protect yourself is going to be very beneficial for you in the long run as a strategy for coping with gay microaggressions. Here is where not talking about self care but actually doing self care is very helpful. Doing things that help you feel soothed and nurtured, as well as connected with the best of humanity is really a wonderful way of staying grounded in kindness and staying away from other people’s toxicity.
As a licensed therapist who also identifies as a gay man, I understand personally how painful it can be to experience gay microaggressions and the importance of understanding the dynamics behind gay microaggressions as well as gaining tools / strategies for coping with gay microaggressions effectively.
I specialize in providing therapy for gay men which can be a big help for first understanding the dynamics behing and then coping with gay microaggressions. If you are looking for support from a gay therapist, who is also a gay life coach, and does his best to walk the walk he talks, please feel free to contact me at my Honolulu or London clinic for a test drive session to learn more how gay therapy can help you.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the USA and an Accredited CBT Therapist in the UK with over 16 years of experience, my expertise is providing therapy for gay men and the lgbtq+ community. I also completed advanced training in using Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy