Understanding Trauma & Violence


I was sexually harmed by someone of my own gender and now I identify as LGBTQ+, does this mean my experience made me gay?


Abuse can disrupt our sense of identity, the relationships we have, and how we feel about our sexuality, particularly when the person who harmed us is of the same gender. Despite this, while your sexual preferences may be influenced by your traumatic experiences, being harmed by someone of the same gender cannot “make” you gay, bisexual, or transgender. Abuse interrupts our natural development and understanding of ourselves. Therefore it is not uncommon to feel confused about sex and sexuality after experiencing sexual harm.

It is important to note that there are good reasons for this confusion outside of the survivor experience. Research has unfortunately shown that LGBTQ+ youth are more likely than their gender-conforming, heterosexual peers to experience childhood abuse. This is commonly attributed to, however, the fact that being a part of a marginalized group in general makes you more likely to be targeted by predatory individuals. This does not mean that these experiences “change” you from straight to gay, or from cisgender to transgender. 

Laura McGuire, certified sexologist, scholar, and subject matter expert, states: “Abuse cannot make you into something you weren’t born to be. Yes, abuse confuses everything and can make us question who we are and what we want, but it doesn’t change the core of who we are. Being LGBTQ+ is just as natural, normal, and healthy as being cisgender and heterosexual. Live your truth, fight to overcome the world’s biases, and help continue to educate your colleagues and peers so that this myth can be eradicated, once and for all.”

Safety Exit