Episode 77: Supporting Transgender People And The People Who Love Them with Sarah Gilbert

What kind of support exists for people who question their gender identity and the people who love them? Fortunately, there are therapists who specialize in offering support and safe spaces for the discussions and self-discovery in the face of the intense societal pressure trans folk experience. Today’s show tackles these issues and more.

Sarah Gilbert, LCSW, is the owner of Transitions Therapy, LLC, a private practice in Manchester, Connecticut. Her mission is to help people author their unique identities. She specializes in working with teens and adults who identify as transgender, as well as those who love them. A part of her practice also involves giving support and education to the family members of transgender people. Sarah believes that when people live in their true identities, they come alive and inspire others to do the same.

Sarah shares the metaphor of gender as water that surrounds fish as representative of the subtle gender reminders that surround people even before birth. We are socialized in the binary limits of gender identity, however, an increasing portion of our population are finding ways to live out their gender roles as other than strictly male or female. Sarah would like to see shifts in people opening up to this conversation and the wide range of gender identities, with many choices to empower people in the individual gender identity process. 

One important aspect of this conversation is to realize that gender identity and sexual orientation are NOT the same thing, even though they are related. There are deep layers of self-discovery and uncertainty in the identity process; there can also be intense grief, knowing that life is not going in the easy direction that someone expected and that others around them are affected and disrupted. 

A takeaway from this conversation: there is no ONE plan for transitioning that fits everybody. There is no set formula, but this journey is an individual one. As with each of us, the trans person wants to belong. They don’t want to be misgendered, misunderstood, or invalidated. What they need from others is respect, compassion, and awareness from friends and family as they figure out who they are and how they fit in the world. This is what each person deserves, regardless of how they factor into society’s norms. 

 

Quotes:

 "In my work, I am reminded time and time again how powerful it is for people to just be heard and seen." - Sarah GIlbert

"In my work, I am reminded time and time again how powerful it is for people to just be heard and seen." - Sarah GIlbert

 Finding this work was one of the "happy accidents" of my life. - Sarah Gilbert

Finding this work was one of the "happy accidents" of my life. - Sarah Gilbert

 "It's difficult to navigate the world when you don't fit into either of the two neat little boxes we're told to fit in." Sarah Gilber

"It's difficult to navigate the world when you don't fit into either of the two neat little boxes we're told to fit in." Sarah Gilber

 

Resources:

www.transitionstherapyllc.com

Find Sarah on Facebook: Transitions Therapy LLC

Learn more about Sarah’s upcoming events including The SPOT a FREE support group for spouses and partners of trans folk and her Introductory Training to Transgender Affirmative Care at: http://transitionstherapyllc.com/events/

The Radical Copyeditor's Style Guide For Writing About Transgender People: https://radicalcopyeditor.com/2017/08/31/transgender-style-guide/

 

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