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Microaggressions: Understanding their Impact on the LGBTQIA+ Community


Microaggressions: Understanding their Impact on the LGBTQIA+ Community

What are Microaggressions?

Microaggressions are subtle, often unconscious, insults that are directed towards members of marginalized communities, including the LGBTQIA+ community. They can take the form of comments, behaviors, or language that stem from harmful beliefs and biases. These seemingly small acts can have a big impact on the mental well-being and self-esteem of those targeted.

Overt and Covert Aggression & Dangers

While overt acts of homophobia and transphobia are more easily recognizable, covert microaggressions can be even more harmful as they are often disguised as jokes or well-intentioned comments. For example, asking someone from the LGBTQIA+ community invasive questions about their sexuality or gender identity, or assuming they will only be in a relationship with a partner of the opposite gender in the future, are examples of microaggressions that can be damaging.

It is not the responsibility of those who experience microaggressions to educate others on their effects, but it is important for everyone to be aware of their behavior and the impact it may have on others. Microaggressions can contribute to a society that is increasingly hostile and discriminatory.

Examples of Microaggressions Targeting the LGBTQIA+ Community

How Therapy Can Help

For both privileged individuals and members of marginalized communities, therapy can be an effective tool in understanding and dismantling microaggressions. It can provide a safe, supportive environment to process experiences, validate feelings, and develop coping strategies or boundary setting to promote both psychological and physical safety. If you're feeling overwhelmed by microaggressions or any other challenges, don't hesitate to seek out the help of a trained professional.

Siena Vaccara, MHC-LP Siena Vaccara received her master’s in Mental Health & Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. Siena believes in encouraging personal growth through education, cultural awareness, and building trusting relationships. She utilizes Feminist and Narrative treatment plans, as well as Cognitive Behavioral and Person-Centered techniques in session to incorporate an integrative psychotherapy approach that honors the unique needs of individuals. She understands the importance of the collaborative therapeutic space being non-judgemental, unbiased, open-minded, and strength-driven. Siena treats individuals with concerns ranging from personal transitions to family planning, identity, mood fluctuations, and stressful life events.

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