Knowing The Unknown: Therapeutic issues in working with queer identities
Blog post: Familarity breeds acceptance
Video: Don’t apologise
How might I explain my experiencing to you? I think I know how it feels, but even how it feels is implicitly a function of what I know, the things I have been taught, or learned or seen – and what if I don’t know things, phenomena; ideas; others, that might transform how I feel about myself – might my experience be legitimised and validated in a label, a word, a notional identity, a sense of belonging, and my soul be liberated: or might that same label contain a definition, a semantic that constrains the possibilities of who and what and how I might be as a human, interfacing and interacting with others in social society.
This paper encourages participants to reflect on the way language and label identities have come into existence and then sought to define atypical gender experiencing – offering both legitimisation and constraint within parameters historically set by science and medicine but increasingly being democratised through the unedited open-space of the internet. What do we ‘know’, and what do our clients ‘know’ and how does knowing and unknowing enact in the therapeutic dyad?
Alex Drummond: Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor
MSc (Dist) MBACP (Snr. Accred) SGDT (Accred)
Alex Drummond is a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor with research and clinical interests in Transgender and adult ADHD. Alex worked for many years in secondary education within both teaching and pastoral roles before moving full time to work as a therapist. She now runs a busy private practice based in South Wales and when not seeing clients is most likely to be doing creative stuff or social activism. Alex is out as transgender, identifies and lives as a gender-queer trans-female and is a published author.
Alex describes herself as “ …always on the go”. If she is not working, she can be found in her studio being creative or working on one of many restoration projects. Since embracing a transgender identity, she says she can “enjoy shopping and fashion”. Part of the mission is to find aesthetically pleasing ways to “do transgender”. Alex says she does not attempt to “pass as a woman”, but to find a stylish way to present femaleness on a male frame.
For Alex, “transgender” is a modern term that encompasses a whole spectrum of gender identities that sit outside the binary of male-or-female. Transgender offers a a useful way of recognising that chromosomal or anatomical ‘identity’ may be at variance with the internal sense of true gender identity and that now surgery is no longer required to qualify for protection in law it offers a more accurate term than ‘transsexual’. Some people will live in a full time presentation of their preferred gender, others will live part-time. And a whole new movement is emerging of people who are living between genders, embracing the potentials of gender-queer and gender-fluidity.