Gender, sexuality, and mental health. Help me design a workshop?
A while ago I asked this question
, asking for your input about how to design a workshop about gender and sexuality for mental health professionals who didn't know a lot about queer or trans issues or identities. You guys provided some awesome ideas and resources, and that workshop was a raging success.
Now I want to design a workshop from the opposite perspective: a workshop about mental health for people who are already very well-versed in issues of gender and sexuality, who are activists and queers themselves and allies working within these communities. I'm a graduate student in a mental health field, and the workshop will be part of a multi day gathering with lots of workshops on oppression, activism, etc. I'm a lot more intimidated about giving this workshop than I was the last one, and so I really want to inform myself and make it as relevant and interesting as it can be.
So far what I've thought of doing is talking about some of the institutionalized oppression within the field of psychology: the history of homosexuality in the DSM, the current inclusion of gender identity disorder (and the necessity of getting a diagnosis of a mental disorder in order to access hormones/surgery), the phenomenon of gay conversion therapy, the history of surgically operating on the genitals of intersexed infants....that's all I've got there so far. I could also talk about how the DSM imposes this dichotomy between pathological and normal....but I'm worried about getting up as a psych grad student and giving a rant/tirade against psychology...not because I don't have a lot of problems with the DSM etc., but just because I'm going to need a job in the future, and this is a small community. I want to be able to offer critique and controversy in a calm, almost impartial way, but the truth is I'm currently kind of raging inside about some of these things, and I'm scared of broadcasting that to all of my future employers, who may not be so receptive to a scathing critique of their field and practices.
Then I was thinking of exploring mental health issues among queer and/or trans people...for this I was originally thinking of getting a loan of a bunch of clickers, so that I could poll the room anonymously about their experiences with mental illness and access to treatment, but it looks like that's not going to be a possibility, and I wasn't sure how to go about that in a really sensitive manner anyway...
I would love input from you guys about how to make this workshop a success. I'd love to be able to get the audience involved somehow, but I'm not sure how many will be there...probably somewhere between 20 and 50. As a queer person/trans person/ally, what would you want to learn about mental health, or what do you wish people knew? I feel like I'm going to learn a lot from making/presenting this workshop, and I'm really open/wanting to hear about perspectives that I've neglected or not thought about. I have about 45 minutes to give the talk/presentation/workshop, and then another 30 minutes for discussion.