Gender and Sexual Diversities
Gender and Sexual Diversities
Gender and sexual diversity:
As therapists, we will see clients who have gender and sexual diversities (GSD). GSD includes identities such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual and/or queer. It also includes clients with other non-normative ways of living, such as those in non-monogamous (more than one relationship) or kink-based relationships.
Some of those clients are coming because of their GSD. Some are coming for whom their identity is relevant but not the point; a client might be in a poly (more than one love) relationship and wish to explore one of the relationships, but not their non-monogamous identity in itself. Others come for whom their GSD is irrelevant.
As a therapist, it is vital not to assume that because we are person-centered, that automatically makes us culturally competent to take clients wishing to work around their area of GSD. No doubt it takes us some of the way, but reading and education is vital. Pink therapy run training courses in London and other counselling (and other interested) groups and charities also run training in different parts of the country.
For LGBT+ counsellors and trainees.
Pink Therapy organises a mentor scheme for trainees who identify as LGBTQIA and or poly/kinky etc and who would like support, either with an aspect of their training, or with questions about post-qualification. Mentees are matched usually with someone in the same demographic, but can request the best match for them (so if you are a gay man, but want to talk about heteronormativity in your class, you may just want to talk to ANYONE who identifies as LGB; you may not necessarily want a gay man. Or you might have many intersecting identities; a trans kinky lesbian, and you just want to talk about the kink part. In that case, you might be matched with a straight therapist who is kinky - but you get to choose to a greater or lesser degree). For more information please click here
Pink therapy also runs a group for kink-identified therapists that meets three times a year in London. You can email Dominic for more information.
GSD and counselling:
A very useful book to read if you are looking for support with this, is Richards and Barker's (2013) 'Sexuality and gender for mental health professionals'. It covers different GSDs chapter by chapter, and seeks not to 'other' groups; heterosexuality is included as a chapter, and it's perfectly possible to read just a chapter or two.
Meg John Barker is a psychotherapist in London and lectures at Open University. They have written several papers on GSD, and many of those are freely available through the Open University website.
They (along with Dominic Davies) also have an article in the UKCP's 2015 summer edition of the psychotherapist
Dominic also has a paper from a person-centered point of view
The Pink Therapy website lists many resources for therapists interested in these topics. Aside from this, Dominic has USB sticks available for sale that have hundreds of papers around these topics.
More general resources:
Robot hugs comic. Yes, this really is a comic. They draw on sexuality, mental health, gender, lots of intersectional things. Many people will have seen the 'blanket nest' comic that has been very popular online. For those of you that have a news reader, they have an RSS feed that will give you new cartoons as they come.
Everyday feminism. It's feminist rather than LGBT specific but often writes on GSD topics.
Black girl dangerous. This is a webpage for 'amplifying the voices of queer and trans people of colour'. If you want to know about the intersections of race and queerness, this would be a great place to start.