"You don't seem gay"

Microaggressions--that is, everyday slights, insults and prejudices--are a fact of life for many members of marginalized communities, including persons who identify as LGBTQ+. Decades of research have shown that everyday slights and exclusionary acts have a big impact, with the "daily stress of feeling marginalized" contributing to significant health disparities, such as higher rates of anxiety and depression in the LGBTQ+ community (Woo 2021).

One of the challenges to combatting microaggressions is that they often reflect unconscious bias, meaning the person who is speaking or acting in a hurtful way--like using the wrong pronouns or making an assumption about a person's sexual identity--doesn't realize the impact they are having. Clinical psychologist Dr. Aaron Malark explains, "So many microaggressions can be unconscious and come from a well-meaning place but are still harmful" (Woo 2021).

Because microaggressions are pervasive and impactful, it's important to learn to recognize and combat them. This includes folks outside the LGBTQ+ community. "For too long," Dr. Malark asserts, "people relied on LGBTQ+ folks to speak up. Everyone needs to join in." Psychiatrist Dr. Jess Zonana calls this being an "upstander" rather than a "bystander" (Woo 2021).

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Learn how everyday interactions can be a minefield for folks in the LGBTQ+ community, and what you can do to help create a more inclusive society.

How microaggressions affect the LGBTQ+ community


Woo, Andrea (2021, June 15). How Microaggressions Affect the LGBTQ+ Community. New York Presbyterian/Health Matters. https://healthmatters.nyp.org/how-microaggressions-affect-the-lgbtq-community/

Gender Identity Gender identity icon Our core sense of who we are as a man, a woman, a mixture of both, or neither.

Gender Expression Gender expression icon How we show up in the world through choices like clothing, hair style, mannerisms or tone of voice.

Attraction attraction icon How we feel toward others sexually, romantically and/or emotionally.

Biological Sex Biological sex icon Physical attributes such as reproductive organs and genitalia, chromosomes, genes and hormone levels.

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