Ivan Carlos Zheral’dovich
Gay shame is the collective life experience around the oppression, humiliation, abuse, discrimination and invalidation of our sexual identity and orientation. It’s a response to gay stigmatization. It stems from our earliest experiences where we are were ridiculed, embarrassed, threatened, discouraged, criminalized, condemned, and often abused for our sexual identity, orientation, and/or practices. For many of us, this may have begun before we understood what gay meant; and, sex was something dirty.
Later in life, our gay shame overwhelms us; we try everything in our power to avoid it. Even when those around us accept us, we are so conditioned in believing we are seriously flawed, unworthy, and unlovable, that we rage at their acceptance.
In the Gay Shame Workshop, we will explore the roots of gay shame, how we were overwhelmed and compensated for it, and lastly, what we can do to cultivate authenticity and self-acceptance – put shame in its place.