Dancing Dialogues Professional Exchange: LGBTI2SQ+ & Inclusion
We were so inspired by the depth of the conversations amongst members at our professional exchange weekend this year! We wanted to share a recap of what took place in each session, for those of you who might have missed it!
In this session participants explored the embodiment of their gender identity as a way to cultivate empathy for various experiences among members of the LGBTQI2S+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, two-spirit, and other identities not explicitly listed in this acronym). The discussion centered around creating safer and more inclusive spaces as part of establishing a therapeutic relationship…(read more)
The session was facilitated by Joscelyn Guindon, a registered social worker with a background in sexuality and gender studies. Joscelyn has been practicing psychotherapy for the past seven years with a special focus on clients within LGBTQ+ and polyamory communities, in addition to supporting the process of navigating social and medical transitions for transgender folks. Joscelyn is also a DMT in training with the Alternate Route program at the National Centre for Dance Therapy (NCDT).
From the start of the dialogue, Joscelyn set the tone for an open space free of judgment, which felt incredibly supportive especially, as participants moved into their first exploration as a group. Participants began by taking a moment to ground and connect with their bodies and were invited to consider their earliest experience of connecting with gender identities. One participant reported “...for myself, childhood memories were abound! We also explored our felt sense around the ebbs and flows of how we may identify, and how our experiences of gender show up in our daily lives and in with interactions with others.”
This exercise was to provide attunement to clients needs, as LGBTQI2S+ folks often experience a heightened awareness of how others perceive them, which may impact their feelings of safety amongst others. For trans folks in particular, deep physical and emotional discomfort can arise from awareness of differences. The session also included an expansion of the LGBTQI2S+ lexicons and terminology through the “gender unicorn” (see image) This was a helpful tool for understanding the differences between gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, physical and emotional attraction.
A key takeaway from this session was that practitioners may not have always have a shared lived experience with their clients, but can relate to the need for emotional connection, responsiveness and understanding. The session ended by acknowledging the first step of the practitioner to remain open, authentic, empathetic and non-judgemental. Beyond that sentiment, practitioners must be equipped and willing to repair ruptures without defense in the event of learning (and possibly making mistakes) as they establish their therapeutic relationships with their clients.
Read about other sessions: