Inspired by this photography project about racial microaggressions, Kevin Nadal, associate professor of psychology at CUNY’s John Jay College, asked some of his friends to share the microaggressions they’ve experienced as members of the LGBT community.
Borrowing from the scholarship of Columbia University professor Derald Sue, Nadal defines a microaggression as:
“The everyday encounters of subtle discrimination that people of various marginalized groups experience throughout their lives.”
Nadal, who has researched and written a book about LGBT-based microaggressions, spoke to BuzzFeed about the inspiration for the project:
I started this project because I wanted the concept of microaggressions to be discussed in more meaningful ways and to be made available to all kinds of audiences. It’s a concept that is heavily discussed in academic circles, social service organizations, and among college students. However, people in general society may not be aware of the term at all. We need to teach more people about microaggressions, in order to educate people about how hurtful microaggressions are and how they negatively affect people’s lives. We need to people to be mindful of their language and the little things they do and say that harm people’s lives.
In his research on LGBT microaggressions, Nadal has found:
All of these microaggressions have a significant impact on people’s lives. While some of these experiences may seem brief and harmless, many studies have found that the more that people experience microaggressions, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression, psychological distress, and even physical health issues.