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NALGAP: Killings in Orlando will profoundly affect clients, caregivers

June 13, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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The board of the national association representing LGBT addiction professionals issued the statement below in the aftermath of the June 12 killings in Orlando, Fla.:

The Board of Directors of NALGAP, The Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies, wishes to express its deepest condolences to family and friends of those killed or injured in the senseless attacks in Orlando, Florida.

As most of us were just waking up on Sunday morning, June 12, 2016, we heard of the tragedy that had occurred. Those in the Orlando area most directly affected will need a lot of support. We also wish to remind our colleagues and fellow addiction professionals of the devastating impact of trauma on many of our clients—specifically, many of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Gender Non-Confirming Clients will be profoundly affected. Interpersonal Violence and Community Trauma is unfortunately all too familiar to LGBTQ individuals as well as our allies, families and friends.

We are reminded that a gay nightclub like Pulse in Orlando is not just a bar. For many it was a sanctuary, a place to find community, to find others like yourself, to discover you are not the only one. This connecting can be experienced by many, and for persons in early recovery the connection can be very strong. Clients will experience a range of emotions following this tragedy. As addiction professionals we have become increasingly aware of the impact of trauma for individuals affected by addictions. We have been moved to the understanding that without trauma-informed care, many clients will not be able to sustain recovery. The principles of a trauma-informed approach and trauma-specific interventions have become necessary in assisting our clients to heal. Following the tragedy in Orlando, we need to be prepared to address the traumatic stress and unhealed wounds that will be experienced by our clients in the days, weeks and months to come.

We also need to be mindful of the effect this tragedy will have on our fellow NALGAP members. LGBTQ addiction professionals and our allies can also experience vicarious trauma during this difficult time. We need to create space that is safe for all to heal.

This is now the worst terrorist attack that has occurred in the United States since 9/11. As with other traumatic incidents, we often look to assign blame. While the shooter is accountable for his actions, far too often LGBT individuals can fall victim to self-blame, a belief that because of who they love and how they live, violence is to be expected. We need to be mindful of how damaging heterosexism can be.

NALGAP is here to offer our support to others. We will provide resources for others. Many of our board members are trained trauma counselors and are available to offer assistance. Together we will heal. Together we will stand strong. Together we will get through this.

 

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