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Indybay Feature
Thu Apr 30 2009 (Updated 05/16/09)
Transgender and Gender Queer Panelists Address Therapists, Mental Health Practitioners
Trans Clients Speak, Therapist and Allies Gather For Trans Education
On the warm evening of Tuesday, April 21st at 6pm, over 110 therapists, mental health practitioners, and therapists-in-training across the Bay Area filled Namaste Hall at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) to hear directly from transgender and gender queer clients and consumers of therapy and mental health services. Trans Clients Speak: A Transgender Educational Panel for Psychotherapists and Mental Health Practitioners created a rare opportunity for transgender and genderqueer people to speak about their helpful, insulting, insensitive, uplifting, pathologizing, plaguing, empowering, and healing experiences with therapists.

Among a multiplicity of important stories and statements, the four panelists addressed: why they've accessed mental health services, what has been supportive, what was harmful, and their ideal vision of therapy services for trans folks to come. Panelists addressed specifics such as: how to create respectful forms; making waiting rooms and offices more inviting to trans folks; the negative impact on the therapeutic relationship when therapists act as gatekeepers to hormones and surgeries; and a desire for therapists to give up assumptions around trans and gender queer identities and sexualities.

Several panelists spoke about their desire for non-trans-related therapy, just like non-trans clients receive. Inspired by the event, several audience members shared with event organizers ways they are now in the process of creating new programs and respectful practices in their organizations. photo Read more

photo 40th anniversary of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot | transgendered day of remembrance
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