Gender and Sexual diversity (GSD)
We live in a predominantly gender dichotomous society. So what happens to the people that don’t fit into the gender binary? Gender and Sexuality is often measured against heteronormativity with non heterosexuality, or gender variance being seen as inferior and in some cases pathologised. Kate Bornstein, a queer theorist and trans advocate adheres to a new model of gender that states: “Gender is relative to context and point of view.”
Sexual expression, identity, preference and behaviours in reality are far more varied and complex than the heteronormative perception. Recent theories suggest sexual orientation is naturally fluid (Diamond 2008). What is clear is that same sex desire is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
What is Trans, Transgender, Transsexual, Non-Binary, Gender Dysphoria.
Trans in this context is an umbrella term used to include all variations of gender variance, including non-binary identities. Transgender is a term that has mostly replaced the term transsexual (although some people may still wish to use this term), for people that have crossed the gender binary and transitioned from one gender to the other gender. This is usually with the help of medical intervention, but this is not always the case.
Non-binary although a relatively new term, is not a new expression of gender.
It is a label, amongst others, such as gender fluid or gender queer that describes someone who doesn’t identify with the heteronormative definitions of a man or a woman.
Gender dysphoria is a medical term used by psychiatrists to diagnose patients who have severe and persistent distress about being the wrong gender and who express a strong desire to live as the other gender. It replaces old terms like transsexualism and gender identity disorder. Whilst gender dysphoria is the official medical vocabulary, many individuals feel more comfortable using the term trans or transgender instead.
I also work with adult individuals that identify to non-heteronormative sexualities, such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, MSM, WSM, as well as non-monogamous relationship styles. I am kink, sex positive, BDSM friendly and aware. I practice affirmative GSD therapy, and offer a respectful space where diverse relationship(s) are not seen as problematic.
How can counselling help?
If a client has come to work explicitly on their concerns with their gender or sexuality, therapy can explore those issues. These may be around chem sex, identity, others perceptions, coming out, relationships, sexual practice, gender dysphoria, gender transitioning.
I work with a depathologising model, where I see the client for who they are, validating their self identity. I encourage clients to self define. My aim is to support the wellbeing of the client with non-judgement and promote good self-esteem and a positive identity.
I work with clients within the trans umbrella, or transgender clients pre, post or questioning transition. I can support the journey of transition (if the client chooses to or not) and work with an internal integration of becoming more of who they are. In other words a more authentic self. Although I am not a gatekeeper for medical treatment, I can offer the psychological support when beginning hormone treatment, or pre and post surgery.
My intention is to support people who have diverse gender and sexual identities in finding ways where they can find more comfortable and fulfilling lives.