Reflections on Sex, Gender and Sexuality

Lyndsey Hampton, R. Psych.

Carolyn Claire, R. Psych.

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." E.E. Cummings

Agenda

 Clarify language  Inviting conversations and becoming an ally  Honoring identities while deepening identity exploration  Highlights from a rural Alberta initiative

 We would like to respectfully acknowledge all gender and sexual diversities that may be represented in this audience today and trust that this time will be one of learning from each other.

Quiz

It is only since the late 1800's in western society that individuals have taken on gender identities that are different than their assigned sex.

True or False?

Quiz

A person cannot know that they are gay until they have started going through puberty.

True or False?

Quiz

The diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder adheres to gender stereotypes and those who do not conform to gender norms are vulnerable to the diagnosis of mental illness.

True or False?

Sex

Sex: refers to the person’s genitalia and is usually, but not always, identified at birth as either male or female

  Many different notions of sex: chromosomes, hormones, etc.

Inter-sexed: a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

Sex spectrum

Female Intersexed Male

XX chromosomes Estrogens Vagina Ovaries/Uterus XX, XY, XXY, XO variation XY chromosomes Androgens/Testosterone micropenis, clitoral penis variation Penis Testis

Gender

Designation of feminine/masculine or man/woman 

Cisgender:

congruency between assigned sex and gender identity 

Transgender / Trans-Identified:

individuals with identities that transgress dominant cultures expectations for males or females.

    Gender queer Two-spirited Third Gender Other differently gendered persons

Gender spectrum

Sexual Orientation

Sexual Orientation: self-perception of one’s sexual preference and emotional attraction

  Heterosexual/Straight Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Bi-Curious, Queer  Experienced through the person’s gender identity  We choose people who validate our preferred identity

Common Assumptions

 Sex  Gender  Sexual Orientation  Male genitals  Boy - Masculine attributes  Will like women  Female genitals  Girl - Feminine attributes  Will like men  Heteronormativity: refers to the perspective that privileges a normative congruency between sex, sexuality and gender expression.

Sex  ↓ Gender ↓ Sexual Orientation ↓ __ __  ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓

Case Study 1.

 In pairs identify:  3 potential counsellor biases or assumptions  3 practices to invite Matti into an affirming conversation supporting the exploration of his identity

How to become an Ally?

 Language  Queer material  Markers – i.e. stickers, buttons, etc.

 Start GSA  Introduce queer topics

Identity Development

 Marcia – Identity Status of Psychological Identity Development 1.

Identity Diffusion 2.

3.

4.

Identity Foreclosure Identity Moratorium Identity Achievement

Case Study 2.

 In pairs identify:  How can we honor a chosen identity while encouraging depth of identity exploration.

 What could be potential barries to this?

Allies in Rural Communities

    Benefits to community-based GSAs, both for the individuals involved and for their communities Privacy Meet youth from other schools Meet glbt adults and adult allies who can act as mentors

Allies in Rural Communities

 “Community-based GSA provides opportunities for GLBT youth and adults to meet in a healthy atmosphere…(p.107)”  “Youth members can also play a greater role in decision making in a community alliance…(p.107)”

OUTSide the Box

    Reflections from a Rural Alberta queer youth group What made this work?

 Counsellors in school    Support of established youth program Direct referrals from mental health program Parental consents not required Activities Why is it important  Quotes

“I found that because of Outside the Box I have had an extra place to go to meet with people that I have something in common with. It is a place I can learn and express my interest with. I’ve also been glad that everyone has been so accepting and open minded.”

18 year-old member of 2 years

“The world. All of earth along with all of the things occupying it (even though I never come).”

16 year-old member for 1.5 years

Best practices

Address own biases and assumptions  Co-develop strategies to deal with the stigmatization and discrimination:   Narrative therapy – creating an alternate life story shaped by resiliency, strength and resourcefulness Social Constructionist therapy – examining and challenging society’s messages regarding gender  Affirm client’s experiences and expression of sexual and gender diversity

Best practices

 Encouraging clients to examine dominant gender norms that are taken for granted and are pathologizing .

 Collaborate with client to forge healthy accepting relationships and a sense of community in their journey to self-acceptance  Follow your client’s lead; not all issues stem from or lead back to gender or sexual diversities.

Resources

 Share emails  Provincial/national/international resources  Readings