The Trauma of Growing Up LGBTQ

(2 CEs)


It’s not enough to be LGBTQ -friendly. Even the best intentioned therapists have some level of homophobia to overcome. From birth, heterosexist culture imprints us to think that heterosexuality is primary, and that any other orientation is inferior.

It’s not even enough to be gay yourself. LGBTQ or straight, we’re taught the homo-negative belief that the “alternative lifestyle” of being LGBTQ is a more difficult way to live. But the “alternative” of living heterosexually is actually harder for LGBTQ, and can lead to depression and self-defeating, or even self-destructive behaviors.

Growing up LGBTQ can be traumatic. Covert cultural sexual abuse is the foundation for many (if not most) problems for LGBTQ individuals. Covert cultural sexual abuse is chronic verbal, emotional, psychological, and sometimes sexual assaults against an individual’s gender expression, sexual feelings, and behaviors. Conceptually, it is similar to sexual harassment in that it interferes with a person’s ability to function socially, psychologically, romantically, affectionally, and sexually. Its effects persist into adulthood and wreak havoc in people’s lives—as does sexual harassment. The dynamics of being a LGBTQ child are similar children growing sexually abused.

Learning objectives:

  1. Assess gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning clients for psychological trauma to assist in informing treatments interventions.
  2. Describe mental health disorders that mimic the effects of the trauma from growing up LGBTQ.
  3. Utilize at least 2 specific clinical interventions and assessment tools to more effectively treat LGBTQ clients.