ALL Black Men Can Have Space To Heal By Stephanie Barbee Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash
By Stephanie Barbee | May 1, 2023
Existing in the world today is challenging. It’s incredibly difficult for those individuals who live at various intersections – a place where there is sometimes privilege and sometimes oppression. For Black men (including trans-men) with gay or bisexual identities, finding an anchor can feel (and be) downright impossible. Here are some ways therapy can be supportive.
1) IDENTIFY NAVIGATION. Many of us have been taught that once we have a specific role or identity (male, female, straight, Christian, etc.), it stays the same throughout our lifetime. For some, this is true; for others, it’s not. Therapy can help men who have identities that they want to allow themselves more time to get to know in relative safety who they are (or may want to explore becoming).
2) IDENTIFY VALIDATION. Sometimes we know, discover, or suspect that we may be questioning things about ourselves. For Black men with these identities, sometimes it’s unsafe to be authentic. People with different gender ideas about themselves or who are attracted to people in a way other than what is assumed typical or that don’t fit into social norms face dangers. These include but aren’t limited to – verbal and physical harassment, virtual bullying, physical violence, exploitation, intimate partner violence, and more. No wonder some people don’t disclose their identities unless they trust someone. Once they do, like in therapy, they can be supported in their identity, even if they don’t live it out loud 24/7/365.
3) SUPPORT EXPLORATION. Finally, therapy can help increase essential skills, like listening, communicating boundaries, and knowing flags to look for. These skills can help black men understand and navigate relationships better. This allows men to learn how to receive support that is both in line with what they need and safe for them to grow and make
If you are a Black man with intersecting identities, you deserve support. You deserve to heal. There are therapists will support, educate, advocate, and hold space to heal. For therapists that struggle, I encourage us to continue to do our own work so we can show up for EVERYONE we’re supposed to.
About The Author
Stephanie Barbee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri. She serves primarily Black Queer people who seek to understand their identities, overcome traumatic experiences, or explore how to move through a world that sees them as invisible. She is also a speaker, trainer, and consultant. She can be contacted through her profile here: https://www.cliniciansofcolor.org/clinicians/spectrum-of-healing-llc/
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