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Violence and Victimization of Lesbians and Gay Men:Mental Health Consequences

Violence and Victimization of Lesbians and Gay Men:Mental Health Consequences

Abstract

This article describes some of the major psychosocial challenges faced by lesbian and gay male survivors of hate crimes, their significant others, and the gay community as a whole. When an individual is attacked because she or he is perceived to be gay, the negative mental health consequences of victimization converge with those resulting from societal heterosexism to create a unique set of problems. Such victimization represents a crisis for the individual, creating opportunities for growth as well as risks for impairment. The principal risk associated with anti-gay victimization is that the survivor's homosexuality becomes directly linked to her or his newly heightened sense of vulnerability. The problems faced by lesbian and gay male victims of sexual assault, and the psychological impact of verbal abuse also are discussed. Suggestions are offered to assist practitioners in helping the survivors of anti-gay hate crimes.
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