Thoughts From A Psychotherapist

This is a collection of all of my Blog Posts.

February 2024

Emergent Neurodivergent: Neurodiversity-Affirming Therapeutic Education

2024-02-09T20:13:29+00:00February 5th, 2024|Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

Last summer I wrote a blog post about how to spot trainings that were not Neurodiversity affirming. 

That did not feel like enough for me so I decided to take it a few steps further and joined by my colleagues Dr. Tiff Lanza LCSW, M.Ed. (They/Them/Theirs) and Christine MacInnis, MSed, MS, LMFT (She/Her/Hers) I co-authored an article published in the California Marriage and Family Therapist Organization’s magazine called The Therapist. We were all super excited both that our article got published and it that it happened so quickly. It was even more exciting to have it in an edition with a Neurodiversity cover.

I have gotten numerous emails thanking me for the article and/or asking me to send a copy of the article. In particular, our review of the current language used was helpful for people. As we know language evolves quickly and we anticipate that even our article will have outdated language at some point in the future. Most therapists and people want to use correct language but do not have the information to do so.

Our article delves into the burgeoning field of Neurodiversity (ND) therapy, critically examining its evolution, challenges, and potential for affirming and empowering individuals with neurodivergent experiences. The authors, themselves neurodiverse, analyze the historical context of ND therapy, highlighting the shift away from deficit-based medical models. The article scrutinizes the controversial Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) intervention and emphasizes the need for client-centered, neurodivergent-affirming practices. The authors also explore the importance of language in promoting inclusivity and provide a comprehensive glossary of relevant terms. Finally, the article underscores the significance of involving neurodivergent individuals in therapy training and explores the intersectionality of the ND community.

Many of us in the ND community are passionate about sharing our experiences with other therapists and the world at large. I know many of us have learned to embrace our own ND experiences during the course of our own education about Neurodiversity. I have been super frustrated seeing people teaching about Neurodiversity who do not have any lived experience and are using outdated and ableist language. We want the therapist world to do better. I encourage all therapists to take some classes about Neurodiversity. You don’t know what you don’t know. I know I have learned much and still have so much more to learn.

You can read the article through the magazine link here. 

Feel free to email me if you have any challenges accessing it and I will happily email you a copy. 

 

Gender Exploratory Therapy has a new name and it is still dangerous

2024-02-09T20:12:14+00:00February 5th, 2024|Gender identity, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

A few months ago I wrote about the dangers of Gender Exploratory Therapy. The organization promoting this therapy, previously known as The Gender Exploration Therapy Association (GETA) has undergone a name change to Therapy First. Upon examining their revised website, one might find the content appealing, especially in the context of allowing children time and support to explore their gender identity through therapy, which on the surface appears commendable. Notably, a guidebook designed for therapists working with gender-diverse youth has garnered attention for its articulate and seemingly rational content. However, a closer examination of the authors reveals Lisa Marciano’s involvement, who has been advocating for the concept of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria since 2017, a purported condition often invoked by conversion therapists to justify their practices.

Upon, reviewing the case studies featured in the aforementioned guidebook, several concerning observations emerged. The first case study involving a teenager named Alina showcased the therapist’s pursuit of various explanations for the teen’s gender identity, none of which acknowledge the possibility of Alina being transgender. The study lacks any clear outcomes apart from a reduction in family conflict and a diagnosis of ADHD for the client. The language employed within Alina’s case study exhibits transphobic undertones, with Alina’s efforts to express their identity dismissed as “antics.” Moreover, the report mentions instances where Alina’s parents intervened by isolating them from perceived negative influences and confiscating their binders, leading Alina to resort to potentially harmful alternatives such as using multiple sports bras, exacerbating their asthma. Rather than recognizing potential signs of transgender identity, the therapist attributes Alina’s behavior to a “hatred of the sexed body and fear of adulthood.” 

I would argue that there was no harm in letting Alina use another name and wear a binder. If they later decide that the name or binders do not work for them they can change their name and stop using their binder. These are social transition steps that are fully reversible. Allowing the client to be where they are at and accepting that is the supportive intervention. Telling an adolescent that they do not know themselves never has a good result. It only invalidates them and makes them feel unheard and unaccepted, which certainly can lead to depression. 

It is imperative to clarify that therapists engaging in gender-affirming therapy do not presuppose that all clients are necessarily transgender or non-binary. Instead, the aim is to facilitate clients in exploring and establishing their identities, acknowledging that identities may evolve. Medical interventions, particularly in youth, are typically limited to reversible measures such as puberty blockers, which afford individuals the opportunity to explore their gender identity without undergoing irreversible physical changes. Social transition steps, such as adopting a different name or using binders, are reversible and serve as avenues for self-expression and exploration. Respect for the client’s journey and acceptance of their current state are central tenets of supportive intervention. Conversely, dismissing or invalidating an adolescent’s self-perceived identity risks exacerbating feelings of alienation and may contribute to mental health challenges such as depression.

Regrettably, prominent news outlets like the New York Times have perpetuated misinformation by featuring articles that promote conversion therapies, citing discredited studies to bolster their arguments. Erin Reed’s comprehensive rebuttal of a recent New York Times article on detransitioning offers a valuable counterpoint to such narratives. A link to the article is provided below. 

As therapists, it is incumbent upon us to speak out against practices that may cause harm to individuals under our care. The alarmingly high suicide rate among transgender youth underscores the urgent need for approaches that affirm and support their identities. A therapist’s role is to provide a nonjudgmental space for clients to navigate their identity journey, recognizing that it is a dynamic and evolving process.

Contrary to these principles, Therapy First adopts an adversarial stance, refusing to acknowledge the possibility that a client may be transgender. Instead, they attribute clients’ identities to external factors such as autism, trauma, or social influences. An affirming therapist approaches trauma with sensitivity and does not discount the self-awareness of neurodivergent clients. The notion of social contagion, proposed by Therapy First, is unfounded and has been debunked by reputable sources.

I would encourage all therapists to stay educated and make sure if any of your clients need information that you direct them to reputable resources.

Please note that I have intentionally not linked to any of the resources provided by Therapy First in this article as I do not want to do anything to validate their website.

Recommended further reading

Why Ethical Therapists Everywhere, Should Be Alarmed by Gender Exploratory Therapy, now dubbed “Therapy First” by Addie Kogan 

Debunked: Misleading NYT Anti-Trans Article By Pamela Paul Relies On Pseudoscience by Erin Reed

December 2023

Boundaries-What Fun!

2023-12-12T22:44:01+00:00December 12th, 2023|Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

The Joy of Setting Boundaries Not really-why you need to set them even if it hurts

Upon deciding to explore the topic of setting boundaries, it became evident that a mere discussion of the mechanics of boundary establishment would prove insufficient. While many of us understand the procedural aspects of setting boundaries, encapsulated in the simple act of uttering the word ‘No,’ the true challenge often lies in the apprehension that such an assertion may elicit displeasure, particularly when the individual in question holds significance in our lives or exerts influence over us. Consequently, finding the resolve to utter ‘no’ becomes a formidable task, even when such refusal is imperative.

The challenge extends beyond the procedural aspects of boundary setting; it resides in the careful deliberation of whether these boundaries are necessary and how to navigate potential repercussions in the face of backlash. Among those socialized as female, this struggle is perpetuated by historical conditioning that emphasizes the paramount importance of preserving others’ happiness—an expectation ingrained in the female psyche. Many internalize the notion that their self-worth is contingent upon their ability to ensure the contentment of those around them.

This begs the question: How does one successfully establish boundaries amid the concern for potential consequences? For many individuals entering their 50s, a newfound liberation emerges, liberating them from the burden of worrying about others’ opinions. This liberation may stem from a culmination of factors, including fatigue resulting from years of shouldering substantial burdens or the transformative phase of menopause, which seems to grant freedom from societal expectations.

Despite this newfound freedom, the most challenging boundaries to set are often within the realm of familial and relational dynamics. Instances of this complexity manifest prominently in sibling relationships, where established dynamics, seemingly ingrained since childhood, appear resistant to change. Effecting transformation in these dynamics proves to be a formidable undertaking, particularly when only one party desires such change.

Initiating change requires the persistent reaffirmation of boundaries, often necessitating repetition until the recipient can assimilate and accept them. Maintaining a neutral stance during this process is paramount, as impatience may undermine the effectiveness of the boundary-setting endeavor. For many, this journey is an ongoing process, one that demands a steadfast commitment to self.

Learning to set boundaries and uphold them constitutes an ongoing learning curve. If we can reach a point where we confidently establish and maintain boundaries, it enables us to take better care of ourselves, fostering the potential for a happier life.

August 2023

Red Flags that a Training May not be Neurodiversity Affirming

2023-08-29T00:42:09+00:00August 25th, 2023|neurodiversity, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

potential indicators that a training may not be Neurodiversity affirming.

It feels like everyone and their dogs are now offering neurodiversity training. However, many of these trainings endorse ableist language, such as high functioning or behavioral approaches that encourage a person to act in a manner that is more acceptable to society rather than accepting the client and supporting them living an authentic life. I have developed an infographic that reviews some red flags. However, I am sure I have missed some along the way, so feel free to comment and I can do a round two of this information.

The big things to look for

  1. Does the instructor have lived experience as a Neurodiverse (ND) person? The community has a saying “Nothing about us without us.” We must listen to people with lived experience and integrate their needs into trainings for any therapeutic topic. There are many aspects of Neurodiversity with some definitions including only ADHD and Autism, while others include a spectrum of other conditions. I identify as ND, but I do not have ADHD or Autism. I feel like it is important to be open about that. I can advocate but I will not teach an ND class because that space should could be filled by the many ND therapists out there.
  2. Does the instructor endorse Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)? If an instructor is currently advertising that they are trained in ABA then any training from them should be a hard no.
  3. Does the advertisement use ableist or otherwise unacceptable language? This includes language such as high-functioning, Aspie or Aspbergers, treatment, or special needs. This is not an inclusive list but has some common terms I see when people advertise their training. In addition, we should be using identity-first language such as Autistic person rather than person with Autism.
  4. Does the training focus on behavioral interventions? In the past Autism and ADHD have been focused on as an condition that needed to be cured. People were treated with ABA and taught to behave in a manner that was considered socially acceptable. Examples include being forced to make eye contact or to not stim. Forcing ND people to behave in a certain manner is abusive and causes them to have to mask and pretend to be someone that they are not. That is traumatic and exhausting for them. Instead of treatment, we need to look at a model of support. Living in a neuro-typical or neuro-normative world is exhausting for many ND clients. We should work with them on how they can navigate that world while also being able to be authentic to who they are. There is not a cure for Autism or ADHD nor should there be.
  5. Does the training advertise a specific protocol to follow? If you meet one Autistic person you have met one Autistic person. No protocol can allow for the complexities of the Neurodiverse community. Creativity is key. Asking clients what they need and listening to it is essential. There is no one-size-fits-all protocol for Neurodiverse people.

Here is a video of me discussing some of these issues.

Please feel free to comment and add more red flags so I can continue to grow this list.

Here is a video of me discussing some of these issues.

June 2023

Assessing For Dissociation Is Essential

2023-06-19T22:13:06+00:00June 14th, 2023|emdr, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an amazing treatment for trauma. However, it is crucial to assess for dissociation before using EMDR. Dissociation is defined as a psychological defense mechanism that involves a detachment from one’s thoughts, emotions, or sense of identity. Understanding and evaluating the presence of dissociation is vital for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of EMDR therapy.

Below I have some tools on how to assess for dissociation. For a first-level screening, the DES II is recommended. If the score is high or you otherwise still suspect dissociation that did not show up you can then use the MID-60. Both of these tools are accessible via the links below.

I recommend everyone get some training in working with dissociation and integrating parts or ego states work. My experience as an EMDRIA-approved consultant is that most stuck EMDR sessions can be resolved using parts interventions. This is also true for clients without dissociative disorders. We all have some protective parts and many times those parts need some time to prepare for processing. They may be fearful of what happens if trauma is processed.
The assessment process allows us to establish an effective treatment plan for each client. A client that has dissociative tendencies may need additional stabilization work before EMDR processing.

I have an online course on working with complex cases which, includes parts interventions to help with these stuck cases.

Resources for Assessing Dissociation

DES with color coded tabs

This shows what areas of dissociation the client is scoring higher on.

MID-60 instructions to clients

This is an instruction sheet to use when using the MID 60

Version for client to complete – MID-60

This is a spreadsheet version that the client can fill out

MID-60 pdf form client

This is a pdf version of the MID-60

Clinician scoring template spreadsheet – MID-60

Dr Mary-Ann Kate’s video for the MID-60.

Dr. Kate is responsible for many of the resources above and more. She shares it all on her Google Drive.

May 2023

Why Gender Exploratory Therapy is a BAD thing

2023-05-05T15:53:48+00:00May 3rd, 2023|Gender identity, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

Recently the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists printed a letter to the Editor promoting Gender Exploratory Therapy. For those of us in the community we saw the language and knew this was a bad thing. But if you go to their website they state things in a gentle way that does not show their true agenda. Their agenda is clearly to not allow children to transition at all. That is conversion therapy which is illegal in CA. Many of us let CAMFT know what we thought about them publishing such a horrific letter. I am grateful to be a social worker our professional organizations would never publish something like that.

However, for a parent seeking out therapy for their gender-curious kid, this therapy might look like a good thing. It plays up all the reasons that a parent might be thinking about. A parent might worry it is a trend or their kid was influenced by others (there is no scientific evidence to back this claim). A parent will of course want there to be a thoughtful process with their child and they want to make sure that their child is not influenced. And although that is what good gender therapists do the right-wing extremists claim otherwise. A parent worries about what transition would be like for their child and fears that they will change their minds (again the rate of de-transitioning is very low and has not been studied alongside family support). So a parent can easily be sold on this group of therapists. 

Questions a parent might ask a gender therapist for their child

  1. How many clients have you supported through transition?
  2. What are the main obstacles you see for a child struggling with gender?
  3. How do you feel about puberty blockers?
  4. What is your training in working with gender-diverse children?
  5. How do you collaborate with parents, medical providers, and the schools?

A good therapist will collaborate with other providers. A good therapist will be open to puberty blockers at the right time. A good therapist will cite that family support is the main protective factor for transgender children. A good therapist will work with the child and family where they are at and let the child show the way on their journey. They will let your kid be your kid in ways that are authentic for them. A good therapist never has an agenda for the outcome of therapy. 

Gender Exploratory Therapy is a repacking of therapy known as conversion therapy. This therapy started with therapists trying to treat the gay out of clients and now expanded to doing the same to gender-diverse clients. This therapy is dangerous. Suicide rates for people that have experienced this therapy are high. It is important to get the word out to laypeople so that they understand how to best support their loved ones that are struggling with their gender identity. 

Here is a great handout from the American Psychological Association with a more comprehensive list of questions

Below is a simple infographic I created about why Gender Exploratory Therapy is bad. Feel free to download the pdf and share yourself.

Why Gender Exploratory Therapy is BAD

Want to download the pdf to share? Do so below!

Why Gender Exploratory Therapy is BAD PDF LINK

This is a video I made describing why Gender Exploratory Therapy is Bad.

This is a video I made explaining why the letter to CAMFT was Bad

April 2023

Why you cannot get a therapist that takes your insurance

2023-04-13T22:03:28+00:00April 13th, 2023|Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

I often hear potential clients tell me how hard it is to get a therapist that accepts their insurance plan. I get it. I accepted insurance for over 20 years and when I moved to PA I was not allowed to stay on CA insurance plans so I decided I did not want to make the huge effort to get on PA panels. The trade-off was no longer worth it.

I suspect the general public does not understand this concept. Or they blame therapists for being greedy. I mean many of us have price points well above $100 a session and often above $200 in urban areas. They wonder why we need or deserve that much money a session. It is a fair question to some extent. And unfair in others. To become a Master Level therapist (which is the “lowest” level of education needed) you must go to graduate school. Then to get licensed you must do many hours (I had to do 3500) of supervised practice. In places like California, many people do those hours at little to no pay. After graduating with student debt, therapists have to work an additional two years with no real income. Then you have to choose between working for a non-profit, government program, group practice, or going out on your own. Non-profits do not pay well. Most people choose to do private practice. If you do that you are starting your own business with all the financial and emotional commitment that takes. Of course, they do not teach any of those aspects in graduate school. Many therapists are good a providing therapy but not so great at running a business and marketing.
I now spend several hours a week marketing my business through blog posting and social media interactions. When I started my practice in 2001 this was not at all how I expected my time to be spent. If you accept insurance there are additional hours spent on record keeping. If you have your own office you are often your own cleaning person too. I was. Then you need to spend time and money on consultation and additional training. Like the rest of the world the therapy world grows and changes and you need to stay relevant.

The biggest issue right now is it is a very hard job. For some of us, that level of hardship happened after the 2016 election. For others, it happened when COVID changed the world and our practice. Something we had to adapt to immediately. I moved to a telehealth practice over the weekend. That meant figuring out the rules, changing paperwork, and finding a secure platform to work on.
Then week after week I was mired in the same crisis as many of my clients. My capacity to see clients was diminished. I stopped taking new clients in March 2020 and have only taken a very few new clients since then. I do not know a therapist who is not looking at other ways to make money right now. Many of us have moved into consulting work also.

The VC world has also now taken an interest in what they believe is a money maker for them. We have seen platforms like Better Help pop up. Where the goal is not to help people but to instead make money by selling data. (This is not a dig at any therapist working there, like everywhere some are good and some are not). Better Help also encourages therapists to forget about things like you need to be licensed to work in any state their client lives in. Next, there are companies like Alma and Headway who are recruiting therapists to work through them. They get higher reimbursements from insurance companies and pass that money on. So how are they making money? Why can’t insurance companies just pay a living wage directly to therapists without a middle person?
I saw a post today that likened therapists at these companies to early Uber drivers who were promised the sky as far as earnings potential. We all know how well that is going.

For many of us then the choice is to stay out on our own and off of insurance companies that want to pay us nothing and tell us how to do our work.

This is why you cannot find a provider that takes your insurance. The ones who do have most likely been full since 2020. The rest of us have moved on.

Building EMDR Confidence-How To Effectively Use EMDR With Complex Cases

2023-04-12T19:58:42+00:00April 12th, 2023|emdr, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

I am teaching a class Building EMDR Confidence-How To Effectively Use EMDR With Complex Cases. This class will be online on May 20, 2023, from 9-12 PST and 12-3 pm EST. It will be videotaped and available afterward as a distance learning class. This class is to help therapists better serve their clients with complex trauma. We will discuss stabilization techniques, how to know when a client is ready for EMDR, and interventions for when processing gets stuck. I will teach you some practical strategies for integrating parts/ego states work into your EMDR work. The goal is for you to have new tools to bring to the office the following Monday.

Register here. 

Here is a brief video of me talking about the class.

 

This class is for licensed therapists who have completed EMDR Basic Training Levels One and Two and have completed the associated 10 hours. This class is presented by Cathy Hanville, LCSW They/She
EMDRIA Credit Provider #23010
EMRIA Certified Therapist and Approved Consultant

This class is approved for 3 EMDRIA Credits  #23010-01
This class complies with EMDRIA Standards for EMDR

This class will be recorded and available to all registrants after the course for 60 days. If you do not attend the full live presentation you will have to complete a post test to obtain EMDRIA credits.

December 2022

Why I Am Not Excited About the Gay Marriage Bill

2023-04-08T23:41:12+00:00December 13th, 2022|LGBT, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

I will admit, I am tired of hearing about how this gay marriage bill is such a great thing. I will start by saying it was a necessary law. Because whenever I have feelings about it I keep getting told it’s something. And indeed, it is something. If Obergefell is overturned this will allow those that are married to have their marriages recognized in whatever state they live. It also means that if they live in one of the 35 states that will likely make gay marriage illegal, they can go to another state to be married and their state will have to honor that marriage. As someone who had one marriage overturned by the courts and a second (same person!) one that stuck us in limbo for years, I get the importance of this protection. After marrying in CA in 2008, the state passed Proposition 8 which made gay marriage illegal in CA. Our marriage was still valid in Ca but not valid federally. It was a tax nightmare. Our tax guy had to do dummy single-person CA tax forms for the feds along with our real married tax forms for CA. It was gross.

That being said the law that passed is a loss of rights for gay couples. It only is necessary if Obergefell is overturned. But it doesn’t give us the same rights as we currently have now. Imagine being told that you could no longer get married in your state. You had to go to another one. Kinda like what is happening to women and abortion right now. It is making LGBT marriages second-class marriages. And as we know there is no separate but equal. As a gay person, I have spent years having rights doled out to me. With the Obergefell case, we were almost there. We had marriage. Still, didn’t (and don’t) have employment, housing, and other protections in many states. My new home state of PA literally just passed some of those rights, it was one of 21 states without it. The LGBTQ+ community never had equal footing but we were getting there. Now it is a step back. So tell me again why I should celebrate?

Any marginalized group will tell you we are constantly told we should be grateful for what we have. We should be happy with the pace of progress. Easy for people whose lives are never affected by these laws to say this. I am personally tired of having to accept crumbs of acceptance and be told tolerance is important. I do not want to be tolerated I want to be left alone to live my life with the same rights as a cisgender straight person. I truly do not think that is too much to ask for.

November 2022

The LGBTQ+ Community Under Attack

2022-12-15T23:04:33+00:00November 23rd, 2022|Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

I would have liked to write a post about gratitude for Thanksgiving. Or write one on any other topic other than this one. However, I cannot let the horror of what just happened at Club Q a few days ago.

On the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, another trans person died. Along with other LGBTQ+ people who were just out enjoying a drag show. People went out looking for community and fun and ended up experiencing a tragedy that will forever affect their lives.

It happened for a few reasons. The first reason is the continued hatred and vitriol expressed toward members of the LGBTQ+ community. Mainstream politicians post about how the community grooms children. This serves to associate LGBTQ+ people with pedophilia. There are attacks on clinics and doctors that serve transgender minors to the point that some hospitals are coping with frequent bomb threats. This puts an already marginalized community under fire. The second reason is this country’s obsession with guns. The perpetrator will now be labeled as mentally ill to justify this horror. This will further, marginalize people with mental health diagnoses that already have a tough enough time because now they will be associated with violence. When the reality is most people with mental health issues are not violent. This perpetrator recently had a violent incident in the past that should have meant there was no access to guns. However, where the perpetrator lives these rules are not followed. Because apparently, the rights of a disturbed young white person are more important than the rights of the people that were killed and injured. Nothing to do with the fact that the perpetrator’s grandfather is a MAGA CA Assemblyman, who fortunately just got beaten in his most recent election.

As a therapist, I not only have to hold my own feelings about this incident but I have to hold the feelings of every client I work with who is affected by this. Oftentimes all I can do is sit with them and their pain. Because what else can I do? As a person or a therapist? I can continue to post and rant on this blog but I am uncertain if that helps anyone but me. I can continue to work for candidates for elected offices that prioritize marginalized communities. But it feels hopeless. The attacks on transgender people and the providers that work with them are getting worse. Nothing has changed regarding gun control.

It feels like I am part of a community that many are trying to erase. A close-by school district has now been sued by the ACLU-PA and is now being investigated by the Department of Education for creating and maintaining a hostile environment towards LGBTQ+ students. It started with book banning and now they are trying to erase anything LGBTQ+. No pride flags in the classroom. No discussion of any LGBTQ+ issues. No use of names or pronouns that a student uses if they don’t agree with the name and pronouns that were assigned at birth. It is a recipe for an increase in student suicides. It feels even more confusing because this is what the world was like in the 90s when I came out. You came out to safe friends and safe family and that was it. You weren’t out at your job or anywhere else because it wasn’t safe. Over the years things changed. It got safer in many places. When gay marriage was legalized by SCOTUS it felt much safer for many of us in certain places.

It all changed in 2016. The extreme right began their attacks on transgender people first and worst. Now it has circled back to other people in the community. It feels like they don’t want us to exist. If you are not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, then take a second to just take that in. What it feels like when your government and many people in the country do not want you to exist. They are banning books that talk about you. They are banning teachers from talking about anything related to your life. It feels pretty unsafe and awful. And then imagine you had a trauma history before this and imagine how it might feel then. Then imagine what it feels like with all of this going on and feeling alone or unsupported. Having a family that you are estranged from because they refuse to accept who you are. If you are a person of color you are being battered with racism along with homophobia and/or transphobia. It all can feel hopeless. So you find your community where you feel safe and spend time there. If you live in Colorado that now has been taken also.

All I can do is acknowledge the pain of the community. And share with those not in the community so that they can also support the community. For me, I will try to continue to focus on things I can do, which allows me to avoid getting stuck in a cycle of feeling powerless. We each must navigate this in the ways that work best for us.

I hope that everyone has a safe Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving.

Note:

The perpetrator’s lawyers  claim that they are non-binary and as a result I refer to them here as the perpetrator and when I couldn’t avoid using a pronoun I used they/them pronouns. I understand that this could be true or could be a cynical ploy to get out of hate crime charges but I have always honored people’s pronouns and will do so here.

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