queer and beyond:
Supporting the Exploration of Identity
I welcome clients of every sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, and relationship style/status. My practice is focused on supporting individuals with sexual orientations and/or gender expressions that fall outside of dominant cultural norms, and folks in non-traditional relationships- i.e. non monogamous, cross-cultural, inter-racial, age-gap or any brand of queer. I work with individuals, couples and other-than-couple relationships.
Our work together will involve learning about and honoring what is unique and awesome about you/your relationship and contextualizing your stress and struggles with an understanding of the negative impact of trauma, oppression, stigma and dominant cultural values. Often, there is religious-based trauma, or spiritual abuse that queer children (and adults) experience. Receiving messages from religious authorities that we are innately sinful and destined for hell simply is a form of spiritual abuse that can take years, if not our entire lifetime, to recover from.
I work from the understanding that identity can be fluid and may change often over the course of a lifespan (i.e. lesbian to bisexual, monogamous to polyamorous, married to single). Often these changes can feel unsettling and disorienting, but with gentle exploration and support, the movement from one identity to another can offer opportunities for increased self-knowledge, compassion and a fuller unfolding of your potential for creative change and growth.
I was fifteen years old when Ellen Degeneres came out, becoming the first openly gay actor playing the first openly gay title character on prime time television. A few months later, her show was cancelled. And I came out. Just to myself, at first. And then to my best friend and to my sister, both of whom were as amazingly supportive as they come (and also, not really that surprised.) At fifteen, I identified as bisexual. I knew that gender was not going to limit who I fell in love with in my life. This identity made sense and fit absolutely. Then.
Over the next twenty years, my identity would shift many times – from bi to lesbian to pansexual to polyamorous back to lesbian, etc. etc. etc. It has been exhausting! There can be, and usually is, grief involved in letting go of who we thought we were. But the quite natural experience of grief transforms into unnecessary suffering when we refuse to let go, when we cling to an old way of being or thinking about ourselves that is no longer true, no longer in service of our continued growth. This is true for many ways of expressing, beyond sexual/gender/relationship identity. Some folks have a certain identity that is fixed their whole life through and that's just fine. Many folks do not, and I must admit that I really love working with these folks in my practice. Being “between identities” is a very creative place, a liminal space that offers a magic akin to a butterfly about to emerge from a cocoon or a cicada bursting into song after seventeen years buried underground.