Tuesday, March 20 , 2018, 3:47 am | Fair 51º


Critical New Resources Available for Supporting Transgender People

In 2009, an American Psychological Association survey found that less than 30 percent of psychologist and graduate student respondents were familiar with issues faced by transgender and gender nonconforming people.

In response, the APA’s Council of Representatives adopted their “Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People” Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015.

This resource outlines 16 guidelines aimed at helping professionals learn about the lifespan development, stigma, discrimination and barriers to care faced by transgender and gender nonconforming individuals as well as the state of research surrounding transgender and gender nonconforming people.

According to Anneliese A. Singh, PhD, the co-chair of the drafting task force, these guidelines are framed in “everyday language so they may be helpful to virtually anyone seeking a deeper understanding of transgender and gender nonconforming people.”

Singh further asserts that it is critical for psychologists to “understand that transgender people have existed in multiple cultures and countries around the world for hundreds of years.”

Along with the APA’s new offering, a resource guide for supporting Transgender students (K-12) was released on Aug. 5, 2015.

Asaf Orr, who is the transgender youth project staff attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, co-authored Schools in Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender in K-12 Schools, with Joel Baum, Gender Spectrum’s senior director for professional development and family services.

Button Made by Pacific Pride Foundation PROUD LGBTQIA Youth Group member

Other co-authors include the National Education Association, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign.

Schools in Transition… provides guidance and real-world-tested tips to parents, educators, administrators and community members supporting a transgender student through a gender transition at school.

The authors include timely recommendations based on data, research and best practices as well as narratives of real experiences from students and educators.

Having support in school is critical, as negative school experience hinders not only a transgender student’s mental health but also academic achievement and growth.

A study conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality found 82 percent of transgender youth feel unsafe at school and 44 percent have been abused physically there.

Further, according to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, more than 50 percent of transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.

In Santa Barbara County, local counselors, educators and parents can turn to Pacific Pride Foundation for assistance with supporting transgender (non-binary) and gender diverse clients of all ages.

LGBT Outreach Advocate Patrick Kearns provides trans-sensitivity trainings grounded in best practices outlined by Gender Spectrum, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the L.A. Gender Center.

With a background in Marriage & Family Therapy and education, Kearns is uniquely positioned to offer trainings tailored to both school and counseling staff — as well as to the staff of senior care facilities, diverse non-profits, day care centers, local colleges/universities and more.

Pacific Pride Foundation’s core programs for transgender and gender diverse individuals include Pacific Pride Foundation’s trans-positive (non-binary included) drop-in PROUD LGBTQIA Youth Group (12–17 years), LGBTQIA Young Adult Group (18–25+), and the Adult Transgender Support Group.

They also sponsor Trans*Youth Santa Barbara — a monthly support group for transgender and gender diverse children, youth and their families — and Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network.

Pacific Pride Foundation also provides affordable, sliding scale counseling for transgender and gender diverse clients and their families in both its Santa Barbara and Santa Maria offices.

For more information about Pacific Pride Foundation’s trans-positive programming and counseling or to request a training, contact Patrick Kearns at [email protected].

The PROUD LGBTQIA Youth Group meets every Friday 4–5:30 p.m. in Suite A12 at 126 E. Haley St.; the LGBTQIA Young Adult Group meets weekly in the same location (new timing to be determined) and the adult Transgender Support Group meets the first Thursday of every month in same location. Drop-ins are welcome!

— Patrick Kearns is the LGBT outreach advocate for the Pacific Pride Foundation.

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