LGBTQ+ People and Identity-Based Stress

Identity-based stress (also known as discrimination-based stress) among LGBTQ+ individuals and communities is an emerging area in the research around and treatment of traumatic stress. While the LGBTQ+ community has known for centuries that discrimination, exclusion, and marginalization are inherently stressful and traumatic, modern research has finally begun to incorporate these ideas into studies and solution-building.

Identity-based stress is a type of toxic stress that can lead to pre-traumatic stress, trauma, and long-term negative health and mental health outcomes. For LGBTQ+ people, identity-based stress is caused by discriminatory, hateful, othering, ostracizing, abusive, and violent experiences related to their orientation and/or gender. Identity-based stress can be caused by a single event, a series of events, ongoing circumstances, or witnessing others with similar identities experience harmful events—either in person or in the media.

LGBTQ+ people are known to experience abuse, violence, and trauma at higher rates than cisgender and straight individuals. Understanding identity-based stress and how it layers on top of other stressors and trauma is critical to providing culturally appropriate, trauma-informed services to advance the health of LGBTQ+ people.

To learn more, browse the resources below or continue reading the Intro to Traumatic Stress Series.

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