For this Pride month guest comment, our Ambassador for Gender, Sex and Relationship Diversity and Fellow Registrant Dominic Davies, CEO of Pink Therapy, shares his thoughts.
It's 22 years ago since I returned from Australia, where I co-edited the last two textbooks in the Pink Therapy trilogy. Most people have heard of the first volume, which came out in 1996, but it often surprises colleagues that we also brought out two other books in 2000. I often wonder if people think one book on the subject of Working with Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Client was enough to read on the subject. There was no need for knowing anymore. By 2000, we included working with Trans people. Those of us working with what has now come to be called Gender, Sex and Relationship Diversity (GSRD) are very aware of how much there is to learn about a wide range of orientations and identities which lie outside the cisgender and heteronormative paradigms
I hope most colleagues have now witnessed the virulent transphobia in society, often focussing on trans women or gender diverse young people. Some of you will also be aware of the debates around Conversion Therapy, which we hope will be made illegal and not just left to the professional therapy bodies to try and protect LGBT and Asexual people from futile attempts to 'cure' them. Although Asexual people are often overlooked in this discussion, reinforcing their idea as the invisible orientation, they are absolutely central to this attack on people's right to love who they want; however they want.
NCS is a proud signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy, making it very clear that counsellors can help clients who present with conflicting feelings about themselves concerning sexuality or gender identity. The document also stresses that ALL therapists need to have comprehensive training in GSRD and work safely with requests to change.
I am not seeing much evidence of this commitment to training in most general therapy training courses around the country or offering CPD for those already qualified.
Can I encourage you in this Pride month to show your ally-ship with the LGBTQA communities and visit your local Pride or donate to an LGBT charity? If you're not already receiving our monthly newsletter, we have a free 13 Things a Therapist needs to know in working with GSRD clients self-awareness audit, which you can obtain here.
We also have a very active and supportive Private Facebook group with over 2k members, which you are welcome to join here.