Being a part of the queer (LGBT*QI+) community can be beautiful, validating, and healing and at the same time be a painful experience of prejudice, isolation, oppression, injustice, and danger. We do not have the choice to Not have the traumatic experience and suffering of oppression and bias from and within our society. This oppression and prejudice against queer people is woven into the fabric of the perspectives of the dominate group in power and how that power is used and often abused. We of the marginalized areas of society have been unjustly treated and acted upon by those from this ideological and institutional place of power and privilege. Often as children we have felt the cruel hand of prejudice without even knowing why we were shunned and picked on. This devaluing of who we are can be felt in the very atmosphere of our everyday society. The will and beliefs and actions of the dominate group often allow, condone, and collude with the overt homo and trans hate that is so prevalent and alive in our culture. It is also alive in the silence and non-action of those around us.
I do not use the phrase homophobia or transphobia for several reasons. One being that these people that hold such beliefs as homo(phobia/hate) are not actually afraid of or have a phobia (fear) of the queer community, no, they have hate in their hearts; it’s not a phobia. The use of phobia in this case seems disrespectful to those who actually struggle with phobias. Second: Saying these individuals have an anxiety-based illness against queer people makes the perpetrator a victim suffering with an illness and does Not acknowledge them as perpetrators and abusers who use their dominate positions to inflict harm upon marginalized people. Folks that struggle with fear of flying and airplanes do not bomb planes and murder pilots. Having a phobia does not cause such behavior and we know all too well the dangers of being queer around the wrong people or in the wrong area. Being queer can be very dangerous! This in and of itself is traumatizing. It is an environmental traumatic expereince and one we as queer folx cannot escape even if we are not aware of it for it is in the water we swim and in the air we breathe.
As a queer non-binary person of color, I have personally experienced all of the above. I continuously strive to deepen my understanding of the complexities and intersections of identities and the experience of those identities within the queer community. I hold an affirming and welcoming space to foster healing and safety in the journey of being who we are as queer folx. It is a process of many circuitous developments in accepting, embracing, embodying, and celebrating our unique identities. Each of these areas of accepting, embracing, embodying, and celebrating have layers of process and very personal nuances of becoming. The therapeutic space is a place where we can try on and practice our authenticity without fears of being judged, rejected, and/or acted on by prejudice. It is a place where we can build our confidence, coping skills, and our authentic queer presence that can emerge into the light of this world. The journey to self-acceptance includes acknowledging the pain and loss on that journey and then going beyond to the celebration of our authentic being as a queer person. (And this can be a therapeutic space to discuss all kinds of issues and stuff that may have nothing to do with being queer with a queer therapist because that is nice too! Just being with like and similar peeps!)
Not only do I understand the queer experience from diversity training, clinical education, and work experience with the LGBTQ community but I have personally traveled many of these paths of development and discovery of awareness of myself in the midst of an environment rife with oppression, violence, and injustice. I utilize my education and training as a LGBT*QI+ Affirming counselor and the insights from my own experience of discovering my being as Two-Spirit and gender queer and pansexual to support others on their journey in discovery, healing, embodying, and celebrating their identities. Join me on this path to and through self exploration, discovery, and celebration!
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