10 Ways to Resource Yourself and Others Post Anti-LGBTQIA+ Acts of Violence
After the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs this weekend – which killed 5 people and injured 25 others – the LGBTQIA+ community is understandably shaken right now. This is our reminder that in times like these, self-care can also be community care.
We don’t need to write about how this act of violence, which took place the night before the Trans Day of Remembrance (Nov 20th), is not an isolated act in 2022 where over 340 anti-trans laws have been filed this year alone. We all know it, and we can feel it in our bodies and our hearts are broken. In times of violence and oppression, often the most radical thing we can do is take a pause to support our nervous systems and resource ourselves and those we love. From that feeling of safety and connection, we can continue advocating for our rights.
Connection in times of collective trauma is an antidote to being swallowed whole by grief.
Supporting ourselves by engaging in activities that bring us pleasure in the aftermath of a traumatic event is activism! As Adrienne Maree Brown, Author of Pleasure Activism: the Politics of Feeling Good says in her book: “Pleasure activism is the work we do to reclaim our whole, happy, and satisfiable selves from the impacts, delusions, and limitations of oppression and/or supremacy.” Consciously choosing to stay connected to our pleasure in times of violence and oppression is revolutionary, and it is vital. It is how we free ourselves from the intended impacts of these acts of hate, and continue to build the loving and connected world we wish to be a part of.
Whether it is after a shooting that specifically targeted an LGBTQI+ safe space, or after a (not uncommon) hateful slur during daily life, here are 10 ways in which you can resource yourself and those you love in the face of hate:
1) Connect with Community
These acts of violence condemn people for expressing the fullness of who they are. That’s why being around people with whom you feel safe, seen and loved for exactly who you are is important. Connection in times of collective trauma is an antidote to being swallowed whole by grief. Just being in the presence of those you love will soothe your nervous system.
2) Talk About What Happened
When something horrible happens to one specific community, it is important to talk about it with those in our community that we love and trust. Share how this has impacted you and hold space for others to do the same. By continually checking in with each other, we are reminded that we are not alone, and it’s OK to verbally process what we’re going through as we’re going through it. As a community we are all processing this in our own ways as shaped by each of our personal histories – look out for each other.
Resting is totally underrated, especially in times where people might want to gather and rally in honor and support of victims of violence. There’s totally a place for that, as we said being with community is a huge support, but it’s also a good idea to rest as much as you can in times of shock and grief. There are huge things being processed under the surface so it’s no wonder you might be exhausted in the aftermath of something disturbing. If you can and need maybe take a day or two of time off to cozy up on the couch or snuggle into bed and get some z’s. Let your body process all that’s going on whilst giving your mind a break.
4) Actively Participate in Something That Makes You Feel Good
Intentionally centering pleasure and participating in pleasurable experiences in troubling times helps your parasympathetic nervous system to come online which allows you to digest all that has happened, and rest deeply. Pleasure doesn’t have to specifically be sexual, we might get pleasure from singing, eating delicious food, swimming, hanging out with our cat, hula hooping, you name it! Of course we can seek out sexual pleasure through sex or masturbation too 😉 If we consciously do things that activates our vagus nerve, we can reprogram the trauma in our bodies and heal whilst also feeling good… It’s a win win!
5) Switch Off From Social Media
Whilst we mentioned connection is important, doom scrolling on socials can very easily dysregulate your nervous system. When something collectively traumatic happens sometimes we can keep refreshing our feeds to find out more details about what happened. This is natural, but with social media constantly bombarding us with stimulation, we can very easily get over activated. Taking breaks from our social media apps can help our systems to get much needed downtime.
6) Get into Your Body
Whether it’s dancing your butt off to Bad Bunny, walking your beautiful pooch, receiving a massage, going to your favorite yoga class or skating in that beautiful park close to where you live, consciously inhabit your body in a way that is pleasurable. Keeping the energy moving instead of stagnating helps to stop from going into a freeze response after a potentially traumatizing event. Keep it light and playful, or let your rage rip (who knew punching a pillow could feel so good!?)… It’s totally up to you once you feel safe and contained, and don’t harm yourself or anyone else.
7) Welcome Physical Touch
On the body note, welcoming physical touch can hugely help our nervous systems to relax and make us feel resourced again. Hug your friends, family or chosen family. Snuggle your cat. Spoon your dog. Ask a loved one to stroke your back, scratch your scalp or gift you your favorite form of physical touch. You could play the 3 minute game so that you both get a chance to give and receive.
8) Get Out in Nature
Whatever nature spots you have access to – find them out and seek comfort in the arms of the Earth. Let the sun shine on your face, breathe in the fresh air, smell the roses, feel the breeze on your skin, taste the rain drops, walk barefoot in the grass; let your senses be tantalized by all that mother nature has to offer and remember that you are ALIVE and you are LOVED.
9) Express Yourself!
Expressing ourselves creatively is a powerful tool in building resilience, releasing stress, increasing self-esteem and feeling empowered. When the human brain processes a traumatic event, the event can be stored as pictures, emotions or sensations. Being able to freely express these trapped images or sensations through art, music, dance poetry, drama, or any other creative mediums helps to integrate unprocessed events.
10) Seek Out Professional Support
It’s OK to ask for help if you feel like you need more support than loved ones can offer. We all deserve to receive support from a professional whose literal job it is to support people who are experiencing difficult times. There are multiple services across the country that specifically support members of the LGBTQI+ community. A lot of organizations that support LGBTQI+ mental health are not-for-profit and offer free services.
We hope that you have the possibility to fill your cup once again in the face of violence and hate. Our fierce love will prevail. Our hearts here at #open are with every single member of the LGBTQI+ community and the loved ones of the shooting victims at this time.
Supports & Resources:
Trans Life Line: (877) 565-8860
The Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386
Pride Institute: (800) 547-7433