In my piece Not All Therapists Are Good Therapists I listed a number of questions I’ve asked when searching for a mental health professional. One of the first questions is “are you homophobic or transphobic?”
The most recent response I received actually made me giggle a bit and think of all the wild responses I’ve had in the past. No one has ever said “yes” but after hearing it answered in so many ways, the top 3 chosen below are extremely telling of what kind of relationship we would have.
“Um I don’t think so….”
This response tells me it’s not something you’ve thought of extensively before this interaction. It leads me to believe I’ll be translating and educating a lot while trying to receive care.
“No, my sister is a lesbian and I’m from California.”
This response stinks like “I’m not racist because I have Black friends.” What does that have to do with you though? This response may mean you lean on people like props and I am not interested in being a prop.
Straight like that. This response lets me know this is something you are not alarmed at being asked and that you trust yourself to answer simply without fluff.
Any marginalized identity can be weaponized and used to supporter the agenda of the oppressor. We’ve seen this with arguments about Queer people in America supporting Palestinians. Those siding with the oppressor villianize the oppressed and say “Queer people are not accepted there. You would be killed.” These statements are not true, not a reason to support genocide and dismiss the fact that we aren’t accepted in America either. People apart of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially transgender people, are murdered just for existing in the United States.
A lot of people believe that this hate continues only through large acts of violence but that is not true. If you are not actively working on extracting homophobia, transphobia, anti-Blackness and all forms of hate stemming from White Supremacy from yourself then you are complicit in it continuing. It should be the norm to answer “no” to this simple question and yet even mental health professionals are struggling to do so. Are you homophobic or transphobic?
Thank you for reading through! Hi, I’m K Mataōtama Strohl (They/Them). I work with organizations to create psychologically safe environments for people who share my identities or my lived experiences. I also coach individuals on how to make boundaried decisions that prioritize their mental health. I am Black, Sāmoan, Queer, Transgender and a disabled veteran. Learn more about me and my work at the link below.💜