HAPPY PRIDE MONTH YA'LL!
As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ ally community, it's amazing to see my social media feed FLOODED with support and openness for all things Pride.
Although we have many miles still to walk towards justice and equality, our society HAS come a long way since I opened the doors to my private practice many years ago.
As part of starting my private practice, I signed up for and developed a Psychology Today profile. As you may know, you must complete a section about your ideal client for this online platform. One section centered around the working with the LGBTQ+ population. Of course, I quickly checked all of the boxes thinking, "Sure, I don't care. It's not about me."
But, then it happened.
Unbeknownst to me that with that one click of the mouse, I became one of the few openly-affirming therapists in the area. Because of this, my phone did not stop ringing for months and months with clients of all ages wanting HELP.
To aid these brave and amazing souls, I bought all the books and took all the courses (sadly, there weren't many then) in an effort to educate myself about the unique struggles of my clients.
Want to know where I received my best education?
From my clients.
And listened some more, and asked questions but mostly listened.
Over and over, I was amazed at the struggles and the bravery of all of my clients, but especially my transgender ones.
One balmy afternoon, a trans client asked me bluntly, "Why do you do this? Why stand up for us and work with us? Wouldn't it just be easier to be who you are - a cis white woman?"
The question knocked me back but also got my wheels turning about the real reason behind my advocacy.
Of course, it's true that I don't know what it's like to a trans person in the South, but I DO know what it's like to feel like you are born wrong. To feel like you just don't fit and no matter what you do, you never will.
I knew this feeling and I had felt (and continue to feel at times) the painful emotion of not-belonging.
So, because of the excruciating work that goes with vulnerability, I dipped into my deep well of feeling not-enough to deeply emphasize with my clients.
Many years later, I heard these sentiments put into words and later even a cartoon (see below) explaining that it is only when we go to the dark places ourselves can we be brave enough to stand in the dark with others.