Those of us who lived through the 1980s and the AIDS epidemic are similarly marked. I am accustomed to it when first meeting another middle-aged gay man and our conversation takes an inevitable turn: “Where were you?” “What did you see?” “How many did you lose?”
Traumatic, painful events like our community has been through can manifest as PTSD.
I think of my fourth grade gym teacher who called me a faggot. I remember, not only all the deaths from AIDS, but the real and emotional armor we had to don every day to combat it. I think of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre, the epidemic of transgender people being murdered, the barbaric, state sanctioned torture method of conversion therapy. I think about how much time and energy we all spend on staying safe; the daily exhausting vigilance it takes to be LGBTQ and the constant fighting for our rights, the toll all this takes on all of us.
Read more about healing PTSD in the LGBTQ community in my latest Advocate column.