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–e PRIDE Institute specializes in addiction treatment for the LGBTQ community, and Gilbert says a lack of understanding or awareness by treatment providers can create barriers for people seeking treatment. Even for organizations that seek to become “inclusive” communities, they may not set up a program that accurately addresses LGBTQ concerns, or providers may not realize how they are doing harm to LGBTQ individuals, transgressions known as micro-aggressions. “Micro-aggressions occur daily towards the community and educating heterosexual colleagues, supporters and the rest of society is key in helping to diminish these daily slights and harm,” Gilbert says. Education first To improve treatment outcomes and the experiences of LGBTQ people in general, advocates say it’s vital that treatment providers, physicians, and social service

employees educate themselves on some of these unique challenges and barriers. But they also say LGBTQ people need to educate themselves as well. “Educating the LGBTQ

community on the dangers of abuse of alcohol and drugs, and the fact that the

community is actually being targeted by

institutions such as big tobacco, alcohol companies and drug manufacturers is key,” Gilbert says. With very few LGBTQ-speciƒc treatment centers across the country, advocates know many

LGBTQ individuals will end up in heteronormative treatment facilities. And while that can present problems, Gilbert says with the right education and the right system in place, recovery is attainable. “With the right therapy coexisting with a mainstream treatment center, we believe it is doable.”

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