Lesbian, Gay, BiSexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning. Intersex, Asexual plus people are welcome in my practice. I began my private practice in 1981 in San Francisco, California. Aids was soon to hit our city with devastating effects. I was working as Co-Clinical Director at the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic, Detox Project, primarily with heroin addicts or what we called “Street Junkies” when cocaine hit the streets and we began to have “professionals” who often changed out of their suits to come to our clinic.
At the Haight I began working with a number of Lesbian and Gay clients who had experienced a lot of trauma in their lives ranging from abuse (verbal, physical, emotional,) rejection from family members, betrayal when outed by a trusted friend or colleague before they were ready, societal prejudice, micro aggression(before that term was coined,) and overt abuse, etc. I realized, in working at the clinic, that trauma was a common denominator for a lot of people with addictions. I began seeking out trauma training wherever I could, volunteering at the Vets Outreach Center and ultimately becoming a presenter at conferences on Trauma and Addiction.
As I developed my private practice I received referrals to work with Lesbian, Gay, and Bi clients. I think word got out that I was sensitive, respectful, non-judgmental and accepting. When I don’t know something I don’t pretend I do, I ask.
This led me, a number or years ago, to seek out workshops and seminars to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ community today. Somehow I missed the transition from LGBT+ to LGBTQIA+. I am more “experienced” as a therapist working with LGBQ (as in Questioning) people and open to learning more. I feel confident and comfortable referring to myself as an LGBTQIA+ Ally.
In the last few years, I have worked with quite a few young people who are coming into their own, looking at their sexuality, coming out as Gay, Lesbian, or Bi. It has been great and I’m grateful to have been trusted and included on part of their journey with them. There are so many more options in looking at Sexuality and Gender in non binary ways than when I was “coming up.” What greater freedom we have as human beings to figure out who we really are and how we can be comfortable in our bodies, and, if we know we were born into the wrong body, we can do so much more about that today than ever before. It is exciting.
During my working career, we have gone from LG to LGB to LGBTQ, to LGBTQ+ to LBGTQIA+. We now have the “Ally” designation which I am happy to take on; I see you, I hear you, I am with you in your struggle and in your celebrations.