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OP-ED PGN

Philadelphia Gay News www.epgn.com Apr. 18-24, 2014

TRANS from page 11

THE PERFECT FUSION OF WINE AND FOOD

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from a gendered place, not just a “gay” space or a mental-health space. They requested psychotherapy that would understand and address the consequences of transphobia and discrimination such as loss of job, family, children and social supports. Philosophically, WTC was well-positioned to offer a safe and affirming space to provide therapy for trans communities. As feminist psychotherapists already working from a gendered place, WTC understood how certain gendered experiences call for particular needs around attunement and clinical intervention. Thus in 2012, WTC decided to address this issue with an intentional process. WTC embarked on a journey that has included educational trainings, hard discussions, more training and more discussions. In June 2013, the same week that DOMA was overturned, WTC staff and board unanimously voted to provide fully trans-inclusive and affirming services. WTC committed to being accountable to build trust within trans communities, particularly due to a divisive history with feminist spaces and mental-health providers. This process of exploration, education, dialogue and community-building led to a historical moment for a feminist organization. WTC, however, still has many steps to take to become truly trans-affirming. We have committed agency time and resources and are partnering with over 25 key transgender stakeholders who have helped guide this effort. After several meetings, the community came up with the following recommendations: provide training and supervision; alter the physical space, forms and online presence; increase trans representation on staff and board; and work with trans communities to build accountability and create programming. A strategy they proposed was to host a community forum to present WTC’s services and process around becoming transaffirming; engage in a dialogue around specific mental-health needs for transgender communities; and listen to community feedback and answer questions. This forum is a priority because, in order for WTC to be successful, it needs to offer a space where community members can partner with WTC. It won’t matter if we offer psychotherapy that is affirming if the community doesn’t feel like it has impacted the process or defined how its needs could be met. The forum, funded by Delaware Valley Legacy Fund and Bread & Roses Community Fund, is 6-8 p.m. May 1 at William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. Refreshments will be served. We invite anyone who is invested in helping WTC achieve this goal. If you are interested, RSVP at 215-567-1111, ext *811 or by email at leecar73@comcast.net. WTC is enthusiastic about this next phase of growth for the organization. The community forum will be a significant step in this journey and WTC hopes you will join us for this auspicious occasion. ■ Alison Gerig, LCSW, is executive director of Women’s Therapy Center.

PGN April 18 - 24, 2014  
PGN April 18 - 24, 2014  

"The Philadelphia Gay News covers news and entertainment serving the LGBT community in the greater Philadelphia region and beyond"

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