Insight Mind Body Talk

Ep 27 Supporting Our LGBTQ+ Population: What Therapists Should Know with Lisa Koenecke

February 06, 2022 Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT Season 1 Episode 27
Insight Mind Body Talk
Ep 27 Supporting Our LGBTQ+ Population: What Therapists Should Know with Lisa Koenecke
Show Notes Transcript

In Supporting Our LGBTQ+ Population: What Therapists Should Know, Jess (she/her) is joined by Lisa Koenecke (she/her). As an experienced and energetic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) professional speaker and facilitator, Lisa specializes in counteracting unconscious bias and LGBTQ+ inclusion in business.

Often, therapists play an integral role in supporting the LGBTQ+ population and it's essential they are informed, inclusive, and affirming. Lisa answers questions from real therapists about gender, sexuality, identity, Allyship (instead of "allyship"), mental health, and more. 

Lisa believes her impact is amplified through strengthening each person’s Allyship. With a demonstrated history of working in secondary education and a passion toward community and social services, she is an expert in counseling, crisis intervention, educational leadership, and program development. After receiving her Diversity and Inclusion certification from Cornell university, Lisa launched her Inclusion Ally business. She has given a Ted Talk and written a best-selling book. Being an expert in LGBTQ issues has allowed her to present and keynote numerous conferences. As you'll soon hear, Lisa's speaking style can be best described as dynamic, energetic and interactive. After 12 years of being a middle school counselor, she's now an adjunct instructor at Lakeland University training the next generation of school counselors.

Continue Learning

[00:00:00] Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-based mental health podcast. We're your hosts, Jessica Warpula Schultz and Jeanne Kolker. Whether you've tried everything to feel better and something is still missing or you've already discovered the wisdom of the body. This podcast will encourage and support you in healing old wounds, strengthening relationships, and developing your inner potential- all by accessing the mind body connection. 

Please know, while we're excited to share and grow together. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for mental health treatment. It doesn't replace the one-on-one relationship you have with a qualified healthcare professional and is not considered psychotherapy. 

Thanks Jess. And thank you for listening. Now, let's begin a conversation about what happens when we take an integrative approach to improving our wellbeing. Welcome to insight. Mind, body talk. My name is Jessica . I'm [00:01:00] a licensed marriage and family therapist. And your host! Today's episode is titled supporting our LGBTQ+ population with what therapists should know.

And our guest is Lisa Koenecke, as an experienced and energetic diversity equity and inclusion, professional speaker and facilitator. Lisa specializes in counteracting unconscious bias, and LGBTQ+ inclusion in business.

Her impact is amplified through strengthening each person's allyship with a demonstrated history of working in secondary education and a passion toward community and social services. She is an expert in counseling, crisis intervention, educational leadership, and program development. After receiving her Diversity and Inclusion certification from Cornell university, Lisa launched her Inclusion [00:02:00] Ally business. She has given a Ted talk and written a best-selling book. Being an expert in LGBTQ issues has allowed her to present in 43 states and keynote numerous conferences. As you'll soon here, Lisa speaking style can be best described as dynamic, energetic and interactive. After 12 years of being a middle school counselor, she's now an adjunct instructor at Lakeland University training training. The next generation of school counselors. Lisa, it is an honor to have you honor show. Welcome. 

I am so excited to be here. Thank you. Thank you, my friend. Hello, everyone listening, wherever you're listening. Oh, okay. So as everyone heard in the introduction, this episode is called Supporting our LGBTQ+ Population.

What therapists? Sure. [00:03:00] Yep. So Lisa, when we were discussing today's theme, you felt passionate about our conversation being directed at counselors and therapists and how we can improve our skillset to better serve the LGBTQ+ population. I mean, insight, my body tech, hasn't done an episode yet for mental health professionals.

And so I'm personally really excited, but I have to ask why us versus just speaking directly to the general population, it does start with the general population. And just knowing that I have a master's in counseling, this is my world. I love what insight does for our community. Um, the LGBT community. And this would be for school counselors and yes, they have masters in, in such.

And I think that it's so important for the mental health therapist, community therapists, you know, marriage. Whatever title you have just knowing [00:04:00] that literally your door is open to any and all people, because sometimes those in the, here we go, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, not transgendered. So that's the LGBT Q is questioning and Queer.

And then the plus that can be intersects age, gender. I mean, there are lots of things that come into that. And so knowing that a therapist slash counselor is, does provide a safe space for any and all people to, to be their true self. That is why this is so important. And I think that, um, and I know that you've seen it.

I know that there's a rise, especially with people staying at home. We've seen it in the educational setting of more kids, students realizing their true selves and becoming transient. Hmm. And as a mental health therapist, you're kind of the first stop [00:05:00] if people want to transition, because I know that you have to write the letter to the attending physician, the doctor, if anyone does want to transition.

So that's why I think it's so important that you know what to say, how to say it. It's cetera. And I'm just so, so excited that we're doing this me too. And I completely agree. And actually one of our questions later we'll have to pertain to that actual letter. So I'm again, so glad we're here. Uh, I think as mental health therapists, we obviously we're in this because we care about people and we want to support people and we don't want to cause any harm at any point, but we're human.

We have unchecked biases, life experiences. And I know that when I brought this episode up, at least to our staff and asked for questions, people were really excited and really happy to have a place where they can shoot these questions and gain more insight and knowledge as to how [00:06:00] better to support people, especially our teens right now.

Right. And our children is during the pandemic, but anytime at any time. Yeah, absolutely. You know, and even though this is kind of geared toward the mental health therapist, I think that to the opening question, I think it is advantageous for the entire community. Even if you just glean one thing from this episode of, oh, okay.

So I say this, I don't say that you might even say that. On the sidewalk, we're smiling at someone and that's why this was so important. Agreed. Agreed. Well, let's go for it. Okay. So I have about 10 or 12 questions, and then I have a surprise for you after that, you know, so let's get into the questions. Um, I'm going to keep an eye on the time because you are a wealth of information and knowledge and wisdom.

We could probably do, you know, a nine part 10 part 12 part 20 part series, but we [00:07:00] have one hour, so I'm going to clap. Okay, let's go. So question number one. And again, these are all pulled from therapists. I asked at our clinic, I asked on Facebook and groups, different things like that gathering as much as I possibly could from all sorts of different mental health, um, professionals in Dane county.

So, number one, how do you create an affirming inviting. At our clinic and in session for the LGBTQ+ community, it starts with showing that you are open-ended. That could be anything from, if I am looking for a therapist and if I'm fortunate enough to enough to have insurance, this is the very first thing that I do is I will go to, and again, my privilege, I will go to someone's website and looking at that website, do I feel that I'm going to be safe there that could be looking at pictures of [00:08:00] therapists?

You know, um, one of the things that I love about insight is yoga. And I was like, this is it's, it's so cool that genie has provided this space. And I was like, I could dig that. So that's number one. And then when I came in to I'm just using insight as an example. And then my, my very, very first time coming in, there was an equality sticker by the coffee maker.

I cannot tell you how cool that was and not even knowing. It is a blue and yellow equal sign from the human rights campaign. And I knew right then and there, this is going to be the place for me. It could also be in registration forms. It could be seeing, you know, um, guardian one, if I, if I'm a minor non-meat dad, not things.

I mean, that's fine if that's where you want to start, but how can you think bigger and broader with that? And then the other thing that I look [00:09:00] for from my world for my population is, um, pronouns. I love when, you know, the therapist might have a pronoun in an email signature or in an introduction or something like that.

That to me is such a, that's the only thing you can change. Dear therapist, maybe that's what it is that says they get. They understand how, how to create a safe space. So those are some easy ways. Again, I could go on for hours, but that's what with those, well, I love that you spoke to that because I've, you know, I've been employed at insight for a little over a year.

And one of the reasons why it was so attractive to consider being a part of this team was because when I went to the website, there were statements about social injustice and support. There were statements about inclusion and intersectionality. There were pronouns for every employee on that website.

And you're right. When, why does that matter? Because people feel [00:10:00] seen then that is a signal that we see you. Exactly. Very cool. Number two, are there ideas or resources for supporting our clients who want to come out to their friends or face. Lots, lots of resources, lots of ideas. And in going to, um, something that you said too, I think that you felt a fit when you were looking at insight and, and so the, the resources would be, there are so many out there.

Okay. Let me, let me just start. I think that it's dependent upon the population too. So one of the best resources that I can say for like the K-12 world. So let's say dear therapist, you're working with a student in the K-12 world. Um, glisten is going to be one of the best resources. That's the gay lesbian straight education network, GLSEN.org.[00:11:00] 

That's wonderful. Awesome. The next, the next one, and this is where I did a lot of research on my book was the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE); https://transequality.org. And what that has, that is like the frequently asked questions page, boom. What you want to know about the transgender population? They tell you from their perspective, not from the Lisa Koenecke cisgender, meaning I was assigned female at birth.

I still identify as female, cis (same), white. Cause I'm white in case you can't see or hear my voice, you know, middle-aged privilege. I'm not going to tell, I don't know what that's like. So GLSEN and then NCTE and then if you're kind of looking at laws and some other resources out there, um, I love the human rights campaign.

HRC. [00:12:00] So I'm giving you all of these little things. If you're driving, please don't write these down and we'll put them in the show notes. Everyone knows, like it'll be listed and, you know, the episode summary and things like that. So you can find all of it there. Right. Um, and, and I think that it's just, it's important that, um, therapist do their own education, you know, and find out the questions that you want to find out.

You know, um, originally you talked about our biases and if you, if you were brought up, not agreeing with the LGBT world, you still want to be nice to people, you know, we'll do some. On that and, and make sure that it's, you know, fair and two-sided so that it's not, you know, coming in with a different angle on things.

So those are three off the top of my head. Uh, SAMHSA is wonderful too. So let's just, let's throw that one out there as well from a mental health standpoint, helping out with the LGBT world. Great. [00:13:00] Thank you. Thank you. Moving on other LGBTQ specific suicide risk assessments, or is it okay to use general assessment knowing that identifying as LGBTQ plus is in itself a risk factor?

Mm, great question. From the vantage point of specific ones, um,

I, when I, when I teach my graduate students, um, I talk about the, um, uh, with the Columbia, the Columbia scale, I remember Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale. And so I teach my students about that one when it comes to a specific LGBT risk assessment. Um, I can tell you that going back to glisten again, they have put out what's called a National School Climate Survey, and that comes out every two years.

So the last [00:14:00] one was 2019. And that will give you statistics on around the country of where students are feeling as for a specific am I at risk for suicide? Because I'm LGBT. I can tell you that G Safe, the gay. The Gay Straight Alliance For Safe Schools, GSA, jeepers, creepers, start again. You don't have to get this.

So we're a, one-take safe in Wisconsin. It's the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools, https://gsafewi.org/. Shout out to Brian, Jay, and to all of the staff there. They have worked with the people who produce the youth risk behavior survey. And if you are in the world of education, it's called the YRBS. There have been some questions in the YRBS about not necessarily LGBT status.

It's just more, um, it's [00:15:00] just been more inclusionary of realizing that younger students are coming out. So succinctly off the top of my head, a specific survey for LGBT youth at risk, um, Off the top of my head. I don't know, dear listener if you're out there and if you have one, please send it in. Yeah, definitely.

Yeah. But I just know that, um, there are other signs that you can think about, right. Well, I mean, we're masters level people, so what are the risk factors, you know, are they, um, you know, um, oh, withdrawing giving things away, um, those kinds of things, but I can tell you too, that one supportive adult, just one can reduce the suicide attempt rates by 40%, four, zero.

Yep. I watched your Ted talk like that really just hit home, you know, which, [00:16:00] you know, gives us all his sense of hope. Right. And that it just takes one and we can be that one for so many different people in our professional sphere. And as well as in our personal life, Yep. Absolutely. And, and the biggest, that would be the best resource right there as the Trevor Project, T R E V O R.

They can give you lots of statistics. They can give you the, they could probably give you the questions if that's what you are really worried about. Um, but it's also a suicide hotline chat line Textline, and what's really cool is that they also have a safety feature. So if a student is at home or not in a safe place, and they're looking up Trevor Project and answering questions, all they have to do as a triple click, we'll exit them out of the browser and it will remove that search history.

Wow. That's amazing. That's amazing. Yeah. I just got goosebumps from that. So the Trevor Project is phenomenal for, so action. [00:17:00] Well, that actually leads into the next question. So what is the Trevor Project, which you've kind of already described and you can tell more if you want an is the Trevor Project, LGBTQ+ lifeline, the best option for crisis support.

Yes. Unless you don't have the means to contact them. So again, from a privileged lens, if you don't have a phone, if you don't have internet, your best resource is going to be that safe adult. And or if you are an adult, because the trans community has a huge rate of suicide, who is that safe person for you?

So that's what I would probably recommend first is, you know, But what do you have at your fingertips? Um, I'm going to tell a quick story about the Trevor Project because it's super, super, um, it changed my life. So I was a middle-school counselor and I, it was my second year. I had a 12 year old student come into my office and say, Ms. Koenecke, it's easier pretending [00:18:00] to be a boy than it is to be gay in this town. And I was 40 years old at the time. Cisgender privileged, not out to the students. I was afraid I was going to get fired. And I'm showing Jess right now, my Trevor Project pen, the pen that was on my desk. So I know you can't see this at home.

However, um, that Trevor Project made me stay. Went home that night talked to my wife and I said, I have to come out to the student or they might harm themselves, but I might get fired. My wife said, yes, do it. I came into school. The next day found the student confidentially, think the student for the courage that they had.

And I said, you know, I'm gay too, which the students said, uh, no dumb is Koenecke. We all know that. So, you know, the Trevor Project is a great resource that, you know, can help save a life. So. Wow. Well, thank you for sharing that we, we know at least, you [00:19:00] know, within my pool of therapists, know about the Trevor Project and how essential and important it is.

So, so thank you for, you know, giving more information to the rest of everybody in case you haven't heard. Yeah. Number five, what are some resources that provide explanation of terms and concepts such as transgender, gender fluid, et cetera, that can be used for educational purposes and education specifically for those who are not part of those communities?

Well, thanks for asking that question because I have a book, then I read that. So, um, if you want to pick up be an inclusion ally, the ABCs of LGBTQ+.  It's only $6. Well, I shouldn't say that because if you're listening to this later than January 7th, anyway, it's, it's readily available. Uh, one of the best resources and another place that I did research for my book, it's called the Trans [00:20:00] Student Education Resource, TSER.

So https://transstudent.org/. And what I love about this is that these are students. Who are telling the adults, this is what this means. Please do this, please. Don't say that. And they have a wonderful image called the gender. Yeah. The gender unicorn. And it talks about identity, expression, orientation, intersex, all of those kinds of things that in a visual is anyone can get behind.

So if you're using the genderbread person, genderbred person that has now been replaced with the gender unicorn. So now you all know everyone listening out there that the gender unicorn is what you can do. Um, and it's okay. It's okay to Google any resources or any terms that you don't know when I do my [00:21:00] presentations, I also like to show the flip.

Or the steps that go along with these, because, uh, I did have a student who was gender fluid and this was 12 years ago and I'm like, great. What does that mean? And so he told me literally, and this was an eighth grader, uh, one day they wanted to present as male and use male pronouns, second day female, et cetera.

And as the middle school counselor, I met the students at the door every morning. I know it was very, very fun for me. And I had the students show me a number one, if they were going to present as male that day, or a number two, if they were going to present as female, I sent a quick text to their teachers so that the teachers knew.

So to answer the question, there are lots of terms. There are new terms that can, I don't even know. So what I would do is I would just, you know, maybe, um, book. One of these resources that we've talked about [00:22:00] and you can just keep up that way and it's okay to ask too, if so I think that's what people worry about is, is it harmful to ask or if we don't know, is that okay?

Because we always want to be supportive. Right. And again, nobody wants to place the burden of educating us on the individual sitting in front of us. So I think maybe sometimes that creates the confusion of can I ask or should I already know? And things are evolving and changing and, and so I appreciate hearing that.

Yeah, absolutely. And thank you for asking that. So, um, no, you don't have to know everything. I'm “Lisa Kay your everyday gay”. You can just call me so I can help you with those things. Um, the second thing is, if you aren't sure about a gender or, you know, appearance or something like that, all you have to do. My friend is say, hello.

Um, and just say, welcome. My name is [00:23:00] Lisa. My pronouns. Are she her? And let your client, your family member take it from there. Now the younger generation. So I'm a gen, X-er the younger generation. They might be more forceful and you need to know these things. I am also as the, the elder states person of the LGBT world, trying to tell them dear young person, we have had many people before me blaze trails, so that I'm able to be who I am.

You also have a responsibility to be nice to allies who want to know. And so, so if you have a question, please ask and, um, and, and, and ask from. The, the, the ilk of, um, wanting to help and, and the, the helper, right. Part of the therapist. And not because you're like questioning like, Hey, that's not right. If [00:24:00] you would ask with concern, or even if you mess up, you know, if you see me from behind, you're going to call me, sir, guaranteed happens all the time.

I turn around. There's nothing in front that says anything about, sir, if you'd get my, then if you mess up, you know, I'm, you're going to call me, sir. And I turn around and I'm like, Nope, I'm a girl with short hair. That's all I'm going to say to you. I'm not going to throat punch you or anything like that.

It's just going to be, that's how we educate the world. And if someone says it gives you a term that you don't know what that means. Say, tell me more, how can I support you? So that's wonderful. That's a great phrase. Tell me more, how can I support you? Yeah. And if I can quickly add that one to justice, um, it's also, are you still there?

Okay, great. Um, it's also the, not assuming [00:25:00] anything, so always do the, um, so tell me about your family, not the, you know, who are you married to or anything like that? Um, so it's not the assumption of anything. It's always the, okay. Who's, who's at home, especially for young people. And then let them tell you, maybe it's going to be their biological family.

Maybe it's not, I like that a lot. Just creating open space and yeah. Not assuming, not assuming. Yeah. So we're going to switch and talk about gender for a moment. Gender. Yeah. How can we conceptualize gender as a spectrum? And what does that look like?

I will give you an example of my dog and I, and I, this is not anything I am not comparing anyone or anything, but gender on a spectrum. Okay. We have been talking, we talked about biases at the very, very beginning. We have been taught [00:26:00] about, you know, pink girl, boy, blue, et cetera. So my puppy, she's a wonderful, okay.

She's four years old. She was assigned female at birth. And because we have had so much snow here in Wisconsin, she has learned when she goes tinkle to lift her leg. Now I didn't teach her that. I think that's smart. Right? She's very, very smart. So I have an, I have a gender neutral puppy who is not buying.

Because she will squat as well, but I'm just like, I'm not going to change that. And so when we think about gender and on the binary, it's a new concept. I am not going for me, a gen X-er again, it's a new concept. All I want is for people to just love that person first, let them be who they're going to be.

I am, let's see. I am not a fan of jazz music. [00:27:00] If somebody likes jazz music, please be happy in your space. That's wonderful. I'm not going to try and change you to like my kind of music. And so when someone might present in different clothes, if they might present as you know, Uh, non-stereotypical what we think of gender should be look deeper.

Look, look at that person as a person, not as, like I said, a stereotype or fitting a certain mold, you know, I grew up, I played with tractors in GI Joes. So back then I was a tomboy. Now I would be maybe gender nonconform. Maybe non-binary so terms change and that's okay. So if I could just, the lesson would be just to meet them where they're at and we've all been on our journey.

Maybe it's not a gender journey, but [00:28:00] holy smokes. If you've had any addiction issues, I mean, you're in marriage and family relationships are hard to begin with. Oh my gosh. Yeah. So if you are having a struggle with yourself, helping you bring your true self to a conversation or conflict, so let's just meet the person where they're at and let them be who they are.

I don't want people to change me, so I'm not going to change anyone else. Agreed. Agreed. Considering trauma. Are there ways to assess when someone decides that they are transgender or asexual, if their decision is a reaction to trauma, again, coming from a therapist, what are your thoughts on this question or how to answer it?

I would probably follow the lead of the client. And I think that this is also, I think that that's, it's a wonderful question. And I think that [00:29:00] there is probably more research out there that I probably need to do more of as well. Um, I would go developmentally to answer this question, the vantage point of, um, Maybe this person has been on a journey.

Um, here's the example that I would have. So maybe, um, someone is coming in at one point I had on winter break, I had a mom become dad over winter break. So student student came in and told me, and I was like, yep, mom's now dad. And I was like, tell me more about that. So from a, from a developmental lens, you know, can I say that trauma caused mom to transition to dad?

I have no idea. Maybe it was just that point in that person's life where they finally felt safe, strong enough to be who they want to be. [00:30:00] So, um, I guess, oh, this might not be popular answer with some of your therapists, but I think that. Trauma is in all of us. And it doesn't, I don't know that it necessarily has to do with people transitioning.

I think that it's more, um, the, the trauma of not feeling safe to either or to transition, or it might even be that, you know, we have people maybe living in the Madison, Wisconsin area because they know that it is dare. I say a bubble, um, you know, for the most part, um, acceptance, inclusion, et cetera. And so they have maybe they're going to, you know, I don't know, learn here in a safe space versus a very conservative area where they're going to get beat up or, you know, disowned or whatever.

Because when we're talking about trauma, there are so many different things that can happen. And from [00:31:00] my vantage point, my trauma turned into resilience. And so this is what I don't want people to go through. This is why I do what I do. And in dear therapists out there, who's like, Lisa, just to give us the answer to your therapist, I don't know.

I'm going to be really honest with you. Um, and I think that however you best work with people in trauma, whether it is CBT, whether it is, you know, um, whatever, whatever your is, if that client is comfortable going there with you. Great. If they're not, please don't push them. Because the last thing that you, you do not want to re-traumatize anyone.

And again, there are probably statistics out there maybe from SAMHSA, maybe from the National Center for Transgender Equality. That can talk more about this, but it's not usually one of the first question. That. Okay. So here's what I will say. Do not have it as the first question to say. So tell me [00:32:00] about your traumatic life growing up.

Is that why your day that we know? Oh, that's not what we would say. And I don't know anyone, thankfully, who would say something like that? No, no, not at all. That's not in chapter eight. And you know, as, as a trauma therapist and you know, on the podcast, we talk a lot that we are all wounded individuals walking this earth.

There is no one who has not been traumatized and maybe there's different levels of insight into those traumatic experiences and how they've shaped us. But just by being alive, you know, genie loves to say even birth birth itself is trauma. So we, we have all been traumatized and, you know, you're right.

Supporting each other and just meeting a person where they're at is one of the best ways that we can provide that. Absolutely my example. Um, and thank you for saying that, you know, and one of the things with me is. With my example of growing [00:33:00] up, I did not have safe, um, male role models. And it was like, is that what turned me to gay?

I don't think so. I think what happened is I realized, wow, it's really hard for me to trust a man. I liked women and I'm not seeing that from a sexual vantage point, but that's what I surrounded myself with. And then I, that was my safety. Um, and. You know, maybe that is part of that who knows, but don't have, that'd be the first thing.

All right. So then here's the question from a service facilitator, which also could be like a case manager, social worker, someone helping out in the community. Can you ask Lisa about how to support LGBTQ+ youth who are quarantined at home with unsupportive parents? I know a lot of Queer young people who have unsupportive parents and are unable to find healthy, safe environment.

What, what are your thoughts? [00:34:00] The first thought that I have is thank you person who asked this question because you are saving lives right there. So dear person asking this Bravo, kudos. Yay, yay for you because wow. That is a huge, huge thing. What I might offer to that student who is, you know, seeking out any therapy for me is to find their strength.

What is the thing that, that student, um, because it's, it's not a choice. They're, they're coming into their true selves. And what is the positivity that's going on? Do they like to write, draw? Do they like music? What is the solace that, that student can have? Not as an escape? I don't mean it that way, but as a, as a positive to show them, you know, you might be identifying as Queer.

That's cool. That's just one [00:35:00] part of you, my friend, and until, and I, and I, I have been very, very Frank with my students until you can get into a supportive environment, you know, how do we get you through a day at a time? And, and, and again, positive outlets because we don't want drugs. We don't want self harm.

We don't want risky sexual behaviors, those things at all. And so dear student out there who is looking for that. You're going to know what you, what envelopes you can push young person doesn't know that you're going to know what your boundaries are at home of. What are the safe things that you can do.

Okay. And, and I would say that, are there lots of youth groups online that you could join? Absolutely. Now, again, that's a privileged lens of saying you might have internet at home. And so until that happens, my friend, please know that your school counselor at [00:36:00] your school is going to be, and if they are not, you call me because I'm the past president of Wisconsin school counselor association served on the national board of directors.

I will call your school counselor, dear young person and tell them that they need to be nice to you. Yes. Good. Thank you. Thank you for that question. From a therapist: I had a teen client yesterday tell me that she's exploring her sexual identity and thinks she's "Ase/Aro"- which she explained (I wasn't familiar with those terms) to mean asexual and aromantic. I'd be curious to hear Lisa talk about those identities and how to help clients (esp. teens) better understand their feelings. Around their idea. I would say that the identity is who you are and when it comes to romance, when it comes to sex, that that is, it's a construct. Now a young person might not understand that.

But what I'm going to do is I'm going to say, dear young person in [00:37:00] front of me, fantastic. How do we embrace who you are so that you can go through this world and, and then give them maybe I, as the therapist need to learn a little bit more. And thankfully that student or that client did tell this therapist, right?

What happened? So I'd need to educate myself a little bit more, but then also, okay, dear client, what strategies can we work on that are positive so that when people do ask you this question, you know what to say, or this is how you'll say it, or express it or draw it or whatever it's going to be. So that.

You are not building up a tolerance. I don't mean it like that, but it's just the, what is a healthy strategy that you can say, and maybe it's that you need to start finding the people who are going to accept you. Maybe your sphere of influence will change. Isn't that the hardest thing in middle school and high school cliques don't go away.

I'm sorry. [00:38:00] So find your people who are going to be like that is fantastic. And to sell that, and again, I'm going to go back to the world of the arts is so inclusionary from what I've seen across the country, maybe it's music, maybe it's theater, maybe it's art, maybe it's, you know, animated, whatever it is, find something that.

Does not identify you with any of the, the social constructs of sex or romance, just be, you might find. Awesome. Awesome. And I agree about the arts. You know, I grew up in the theater community from like age 10 or so, and some of the best human beings. Right. And some of the most supportive people I've ever met in my life have, or in that world.

So I completely. Yeah, and I love, and just quickly with that, that has been throughout my time. It's still that way. And it's around the country. So yay for the arts, [00:39:00] for the arts. 

From a therapist, I'm working with a client who's preparing for gender affirming top surgery. So any guidance around what would be helpful note, I will be seeing them for approximately six months to be able to adequately assess readiness and subsequently write a letter of support.

So here we are at that question, how do therapists help their clients in these situations? Great question. And I personally do not have experience with this. So I want to put that out there. Full, full, full disclosure, even though yes. I'm talking to you mental health therapists out there. I know that this is coming to you.

Um, my experience in my research on this is we're very, very fortunate in the Madison Wisconsin area to have UWU hospital system. And with that, there is a phenomenal resource. I want all the therapists to [00:40:00] go and check out with. These are some of the questions that the attending physician might ask that can help you mental health therapist to write your letter.

So let me say that succinctly again. So if you go to UWA hospital systems and, oh my gosh, I wish I would have had this. I should have written this down. It is either the pediatric side. Um, if you do, we can find it, find it, like you said, master's level. I hope we can find it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yes. Um, but they do a really, really good job of walking you through.

These are some of the things, and if you aren't looking for, and this goes back to some of the other questions, right? What are as therapists, meeting data, maybe some of us, you know, one of the questions that we can ask, um, I would go from the vantage point of safety for this person and will they be. Not necessarily successful [00:41:00] more successful.

Like if they transition, but as a therapist supporting someone in this, do they have supports social supports? Do they have people around them so that they don't do this and become homeless, that they don't do this and, you know, go another route. Like no one loves me. I'm going to turn to, you know, drugs and alcohol.

And so as a mental health therapist, it's, it's preparing them for their journey. I don't know what their journey is going to be. Hopefully they do. Right. And what I, what I also would do as a therapist is I would take them through their day. What is a typical day for you? Dear client. Okay. So we know that if you're at home, okay.

You know, same thing with the student. Are you going to interact with anyone online? What does that look like and sound like to you? Okay. Then when you go, let's say you go to, um, the grocery store. It could [00:42:00] even just be going outside to get the mail or something like that. What does that look and sound like to you and what is your comfort level with that?

And so it's not necessarily you mental health therapists being the barrier. I see you more as the bridge to helping this person live their true selves. And I think that, especially if it's an older person, I think that it's okay to ask them. What kind of things do you want in the letter? It's saying this person will have more success.

I don't, I shouldn't say success will, um, be able to fill in the blank and I'm going to go to a gore phobia, you know, maybe it's that this person can now leave their home. Because they feel more confident or even going to, let's say, I'm going to go into a thrift store and I'm looking at clothes. Right. Do you feel more comfortable [00:43:00] if you're looking in this section for me?

I don't, I don't want to transition, but I never, I always go to the guy's section for clothes just because I'm a bigger girl and that makes me feel more comfortable. And so I think that it's okay. It's kind of a journey together that you therapist are working with, who wants to have the top surgery and it's their life, it's their body.

And, you know, you're there to support them. And if it's going to give them more clarity, more mental health, then by all means I'm all for it. Awesome. Amazing. Thank you for that. Thank you. 

Our last question from a therapist, I'm a cisgender white male. How does the patriarchy affect LGBTQ+ folkx? What personal biases should I be considering when working with a lesbian couple, do not be the savior.

Do not lecture, do not [00:44:00] mansplain. Dear person who just said that you are a cisgender, um, male. I think, I don't even know if they said heterosexual and it doesn't matter, but the patriarchy. Oh, and asking me this question, how funny is, um, I'll be nice. I I'll be respectful. Um, yeah, I'll just say this. Please know that.

You might not be our first choice to talk to there. I will just say that. So from a cisgender gay white female, I have never, ever wanted to talk to a man, but that's no who, this comes back to the trauma. I, Lisa Koenecke, I don't, I don't have male doctors. I don't have male dentists. I don't have. So from the patriarchy standpoint, it's not necessarily that I don't trust a male doctor.

My vantage point is wanting to give power to the females. So [00:45:00] from that vantage point, so back to your question about, uh, about this therapist, um, B. To this lesbian couple do not judge. And hopefully as a therapist, do you, you know this already again, this should not be in chapter four. It should be, you know, do no further harm.

Right. Um, and maybe, maybe be open to if this lesbian couple, it gives you a book to read. You read it and then you come back and tell them. That was fascinating. Thank you for teaching me. So for the patriarchy. Oh, you know, I'm not going to talk about it. The patriarchy. I'm not going to go there either right now.

Okay. Thank you. So that's the. We're going to end the portion of our formal questions. Love it. And now we get to play a surprise game. I can't wait director for 20 years, so bring it on [00:46:00] the, I knew it. So language is so vital to the work we do. And I know a lot of therapists myself included get nervous that we'll use the wrong word pronoun or concept in session and cause unnecessary harm.

So I thought it would be fun to play a vocabulary speed round. Then, you know, I'm going to give you a term or concept from your book. So Lisa has an amazing book. She brought it up earlier, but I want to say it again, be an inclusion ally, the ABC's of LGBTQ+. And I'd like you to explain as quickly because I want to cover a lot of them right as possible.

What the word means. Hi, I'm nervous. I have my book out now. I'm like, oh, geez, I'm ready. Let's see how I do. Oh my gosh. This is why I emailed you to say I'm so excited. Cause I just come up with this idea and I was like all giddy, all giddy to play this game. I am. Yes. And so improv. Let's do it. All right, let's do it.

Here we go. LGBTQ [00:47:00] plus lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Queer, questioning. If someone uses the term Queer, they are giving you permission to use the term Queer. You never use it unless they use it first. Thank you. Thank you for explaining that because the next word was. Queer is, has been, um, brought back and relegated to the positive, especially from Queer eye for the straight straight guy, which is now just Queer eye.

And again, a term used by the younger generations younger than gen X, typically, not always. And it is kind of turning more into an umbrella term, but again, you don't call someone Queer unless they use Queer first. Okay. That's really good to know as for me even thank you for saying that and real quickly on that one too, because I've been asked in presentations, um, it sounds like the N word.

And again, all I'm saying is that if someone uses it, they're giving you permission. It's just [00:48:00] like their pronouns. If their pronouns start with they, then that's what they would prefer. If their pronouns are she, they, they would prefer she first then. Thank you. Thank you "ally" with a lowercase, a small "a", ally is someone who might hear a homophobic transphobic joke and not say anything.

You've transitioned to a capital "A" ally advocate, whatever it might be. Ally, when you actually say, you know what, that's not cool. I don't like when you say that that hurts my feelings or I know someone who fill in the blank, capitally ally sees it. Doesn't say anything. Doesn't say anything, capital a does something.

And I believe in your Ted talk, you talk about how much capital a allies truly save lives. And so why sometimes, you know, I was sitting around a campfire with some therapists earlier [00:49:00] this fall, and we even kind of joked how sometimes we can be the Debbie downers in a conversation or in a group setting, because we are allies with a capital a and to everyone who stands up and does that.

I just want to, you know, say personally, thank you to all of those rock on bystander, someone who literally stands by, so you see something happening and you don't do anything. Don't be a bystander. I don't agree. We talked a little bit about it, but just for a refresher. Uh, social construct. And what I will say with that is the term for therapists who might have known this no longer.

Do we say that someone is transitioning M to F male to female or F to M female to male that's gone. Now the new term is that someone is assigned female at [00:50:00] birth, a F a B, or assigned male at birth, a M a B. Now that has just come up in the last couple of years. So it's okay if you don't know that yet, but just know that when you are born, you are assigned a sex, not a gender baby comes out.

They're assigned either male, female, or interesting. I don't know if you're going to bring that. I am going to bring that one up. Thank you for saying that because I, when I went to your training recently, I loved when you brought up the idea of gender parties or gender announcements versus sex announcements, right.

I, I just hissed into the microphone. So yes, no gender reveal parties. If you need to, it is a sex reveal party. Yes. Or just say, it's a baby to put them in packer, clothes, green and gold. Exactly. Exactly. So [00:51:00] then we have binary and non binary. Binary is the construct male, female that we think of. So male, female clothing, um, the colors that I talked about, that's how most of us think in the binary box non-binary is someone who might be assigned female at birth.

And like, I S like me, you know, I could be non binary. I like to wear non-female clothing or to do non female things. Same thing could be that, uh, RuPaul. Could be non-binary as well. It's kind of that term that that person wants to use and it's becoming way more popular right now. Like don't put me in a box, do not make me be, you know, male or female.

And the other thing with non binary that you were going to be seeing through your therapists are people who are using the honorific or the title M X mix instead of. Mr [00:52:00] Mrs. So just know that that's coming down the pike now to my friends and great, great. That's great. We talked about it quickly earlier, but says gender cis-gender means cis-gender.

Thank you. Yeah. Yep. See, I S is what that is. And Latin term for all intents and purposes means the same. So, um, when the trans community was coming out and they were gaining more popularity, Laverne Cox, et cetera, rather than calling us non-transgender right. We, the majority had to come up with our own term.

And so the term is SIS gender, so that I can say that I'm cisgender, my friend can say that they're transgender. Cool, great. Cool. This is from a therapist, actually. Gender dysphoria. Good news is, is that we are no longer in the DSM five. I think we're at right now as being. Oh, all of those things [00:53:00] that we, we were called before.

So, um, gender dysphoria is it's for that person. And I think that that would be something to explore with your client, to be able to say, maybe I have gender dysphoria. Maybe I don't have gender dysphoria. Maybe I just don't want people in my business. So it can be a real thing for people. And this would be one where you can go ahead and do your own research on that.

I personally would not bring it up as one of the first things. If I have a client sitting in front of me and saying, do you think you have gender dysphoria? I wouldn't. So that's what I'll say about that. Thank you, inclusion. With a capital. I is so wonderful and in the world of, so you've heard diversity, equity and inclusion.

That's the corporate term to put the umbrella on it, right? Diversity difference. There's a difference between equity and equality quick [00:54:00] quickly is that equality is everybody has shoes, equity, the shoes fit inclusion would be that I get, this is from Vernae Myers that I get invited to a dance party. Okay.

And diversity is, there's a diversity of music. Um, equity is that the music fits me. Inclusion is that now I'm the DJ. So that could be something to take a look at. And we're also adding on belonging. We want access to things in the world and the next five years it's going to be belonging is where we're going.

I love that. I love that we equity was the next word, but we just went there. So what about intersection now? Baby is born. Baby comes out hard to determine from the external genitalia, how they're going to assign male or female intersects. There are more babies born intersex than those who have cleft palates.

You probably know someone who's intersex. Baby comes out. Don't know. So doctor gives baby to the adult. [00:55:00] Adult has to determine how to socialize this baby on the gender, right on the binary. How are we going to do this? And hopefully they'll just let them be who they are. And you never asked anybody about their junk.

So that's intersex. Good micro aggressions could be saying, well, you, um, yeah, you're not feminine enough. You're not masculine enough. Um, football coaches saying, come on girls, you throw like sissies. Um, there, those could be macro macroaggressions. Um, and microaggressions could also be that, um, you have a party at your office and you don't, you only say spouses because you don't want the person with a partner or the person who's divorced, that can also be a microaggression.

So that's, let's get rid of them nonconforming my puppy nine. [00:56:00] So again, this could be someone who, um, I don't want to fit within that box. So I am going to be who I want to be. And, and where would I want to, where do what I want to do? That's non-conforming riddles scale actually learned about this in your book?

I may not know about the riddle scale. Please explain. Dorothy Riddle came out with a riddle scale to be able to say that in, when it comes to homosexuality that you. You are like a whore, like gay people, like my family does. Okay. So that would be the lower end. And then at the very, very end it's nurturance and acceptance right before that.

So there's different degrees of how you're going to like gay people. That's the easiest way that I can say it, you know? Yeah. I can tolerate them because they're not in my town. Oh, now, now I have a person, you know, in my family. So I go higher up on the riddle scale or I go way back down again, like [00:57:00] my family, they don't talk to me.

They've disowned me. So I'm way at the end of the riddle scale. So what we want for the whole world, for the therapist, for everyone listening out there is that you want to accept. You don't want to just tolerate, you want to nurture that person to be able to say, welcome to my family. Welcome to my circle.

We talked about transgender. Brief explanation again, why not transgender? Not the ed. It's just transgender gender. Yup. Yup. Or it could just be trans. So it could be someone who was assigned female at birth and their true selves. They're realizing, you know what I feel more like, and again, it could be male could be, you know, fluid on all of these things.

So by age three to five, we know how we're going to identify age seven is when we start expressing how we're going to identify and then depending upon your life, how are you accepted when you go through all of [00:58:00] these things? Pride. Is our celebration in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, June 28th, 1969, which was our big gay movement, started by people of color who were trans people.

Then thank you, Marsha P Evans and still there. And Sylvia Romero. Lastly, the Safe Zone Project, Safe Zone Project is a free training. If you want to be able to say, yep, I've had a training, safe zone is free. Look it up wonderful people. Or if you want an ally ship certification, I'm actually teaching one through Lakeland University.

What? Good timing on that one. So safe zone is free. Mine costs money. You can ask me more questions about that later. Well, that leads to our bonus question. Please explain Lisa Koenecke, now. Just how, where, how can we find [00:59:00] you? How can listeners find you? I'm not going to ask you to explain who you are in this moment.

Can we find you? Where can we learn about your book? Learn about your course, ask you questions, you know, again, for listeners, Lisa, you know, you're legit. When you say, just reach out to me and ask me questions. I've emailed you since that training. I want to say this on the podcast, but I want to make sure it's inclusive.

I wanted, you know, and you right away, answer me back, let me know what was going on. Help me figure it out. So how can we find you in. Love at great question. I do have a website I'm kind of fancy like that. So I am Lisa L I S A K O E N as in Nancy, E C K E.com. I'm also on LinkedIn, Lisa. Koenecke's a great way.

They're on my website, my cell phone's right there. So you can text me. Don't be a creeper, but if you do want to ask me questions, you can do that email, et cetera. If you want me to come and speak to your groups, I love it. It's fantastic. You can get my book from my website or you can just go on Amazon. Um, well you can go Barnes and noble, anywhere books are [01:00:00] sold and you can get my book too.

So I love, love, love, helping allies save lives. Thank you. Tell me just real quick, a little bit about your course as a mental health professional. I'm really interested in it. So what can you, can you share fantastic. It's 12 hours and 12 hours. So it is three hours for 400. In a row, if you don't make it, I do record the cause again, I just, I can talk for forever.

So, um, so the first week is the history it's getting to the history of the LGBT movement so that, you know, we don't use the pink triangle anymore. It's cetera. Um, and then I take you through things, vocabulary that you need to know the current laws that you need to know. Um, I will ask the people in the cohort, you know, what are the things that you are taking a look at what's what's happening in your world?

So the first two hours are. All me just talking, giving you information. And then I give an [01:01:00] hour of consultation. So basically it's eight hours of information. Four hours of consultation of this is happening in your world. Great. Here's this resource, people have questions about religion. Great. Here's a resource for you.

Um, so I take you through again, um, the, the bathroom laws, I take you through registration forms. I take you through title nine. I take you through the things that maybe you don't even know what to ask. It's super fun. It's super engaging. And, um, it's just, just come with an open mind and you'll walk away with a certificate on how to be an LGBT Ally capitalized.

That's amazing. It sounds wonderful. I'm so glad it's here. You're here. I'm so thankful that you're a part of our community. Thank you for being here today to support us in supporting the LGBTQ+ community. So thank you, Lisa. Well, thank you for having me and thank you everyone out there for listening.

Go and save that. Thank you again for joining us on [01:02:00] Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-centered mental health podcast. We hope today's episode was empowering and supported you in strengthening your mind-body connection We're your hosts Jeanne and Jess. Please join us again as we continue to explore integrative approaches to wellbeing. Until then, take care.