Jeff Levy, LCSW
Mental Health, Relationships, Trauma, Identity
Jeff Levy, LCSW
(originally posted on Branching Out: The Live Oak Blog, March 2015, updated January 2019)
Almost 15 years ago, before ideas like intersectionality and microaggression were widely understood, and before Donald Trump assumed leadership in the Whitehouse, I was asked to write an article about my experience as a gay man in 2005 versus my experience as a gay man in 1995. The article was published and entitled: Talking Back to Heterosexism: A Decade of Lessons Learned. I shared some of my experiences of prejudice and isolation, and how these experiences shifted over the 10-year period covered in the article.
I didn’t know when I started writing the article that I was writing about microaggressions. When the editor of the magazine sent back my first version with her comments, she wrote a brief paragraph explaining to me that she thought I was really writing about my experience of insidious trauma; the accumulation of microaggressions over time which were having an impact on how I saw myself, my relationships and the world.
Jeff Levy, LCSW
(originally posted on Branching Out: The Live Oak Blog, July 2014)
Over the weekend, my partner and I were meeting with a man who was going to do some work on our home. After we talked more specifically about the work, we engaged in some casual conversation. This man shared he is in therapy (before he even knew I was a social worker!) and went on to share that his therapist is Jewish. In the same conversation, he said that when his office manager scheduled his appointment with us, she told him “you know they’re gay?” “I don’t care who they are,” he said he told her. “As long as they pay their bills!” And then he smiled and continued the conversation.
After he left, I looked at my partner, half amused and half incredulous. “What did you think of that?” I asked him. “Eh,” my partner replied, rather nonplussed. As I’ve gotten older and as some things have changed around accepting difference, I tend to be more surprised when someone makes statements like this. In some ways, I have been lulled into a place of comfort. I’m not as vigilant about how others may perceive me. I forget that aspects of who I am may carry judgment.
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