Queering Counseling-Whitney Akers - 3:3:23, 10.00 AM
3:41PM Mar 3, 2023
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Hi, everybody, this is Dr. Mickey white with a thoughtful counselor. Excited to be here today with Dr. Whitney Akers. Dr. Akers is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, a national certified counselor and approved clinical supervisor and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Dr. Akers clinical experience includes counseling and community agency inpatient spiritual care, hospital integrated care, Detention Center School, equine therapy and private practice settings. Their research interests center on the ways in which people who identify as LGBTQ plus experience out notice how their intersectionally diverse lived experiences are impacted by the current socio political climate, in terms of access to safety, survival, and personhood. Additionally, they engage in participatory action research strategies in an effort to support marginalized populations, challenge oppressive power structures and enhance communal resiliency. Welcome, Whitney.
Thank you, I'm so excited to be here.
I am so excited to have you. So glad that you agreed to do this as my first contribution as a contributing speaker with the thoughtful counselor, and then also an opportunity to talk about your work and talk about our work together. Before we get into that, I'm curious if you'd mind sharing with us a little bit what brought you into counseling?
Well, you know, it's interesting, I actually, I never knew that I would be a counselor or a counselor, educator. I, in my undergrad, you know, I was loving taking Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies classes and some psychology classes. And I decided to, to major in Psych, but I felt like my heart was really in this WGS world. And I started thinking about like, what do I do now that I'm graduating? What do I even do with this, like psychology degree with a double minor in women's studies and Sexuality Studies? And I thought, Well, I wonder if counseling could have be a way to to really blend these two pieces in kind of in an actionable way, right, of how do I affect change? How do I support liberation in ways that that really can build connections with my community around me? And so counseling seems like a really nice fit with that. But I'll also say that I'm kind of reflecting on this in hindsight, because I will say transparently my mental process, graduating from undergrad was like, oh, no, what do I do with these degrees? What's next? Right? Do I keep bartending at this music venue that I love? Or like, what do I do? And I offhanded just kind of applied to UNC GES program. I hadn't done any research on it. I just thought counselling sounds cool. And somehow I got in and found myself surrounded by some really beautiful people that that had a similar mindset. And so that's really what got me into it. And then when I was in the program, I remember thinking, well, I will never go for my PhD. There's there's no way I don't want to do that. And, and then about a year into it, I thought, Well, maybe it's like my favorite mentors told me that they think I'd be a good fit. I could go to a Ph. D. program and I don't know what happened with the universe. But about two days later, my mentors two of them came to me and said, Hey, we want you to go to this PhD program and I thought, Well, alright, universe, I'm listening, like it's time to see really what we can build. And so I think that that was kind of really it. It was a bit happenstance, a bit intentionality and kind of surprising in my journey.
On it sounds like it really kind of came about in a way that was unexpected and felt very natural and very congruent for you, which is something That makes a lot of senses as counselors, right?
Absolutely, I found that I could bring this this kind of activist lens, this queer lens into a lot of these counseling courses and there was a space for that. I also found that I was kind of in a role of educating a lot of my, my peers and colleagues around me, particularly around like queerness and trans Ness. But it felt like a space where there was a lot of room for growth and a lot of room for really building connection within that growing journey.
And I think that building connection, and building that community really kind of leads into the work that you're doing, you know, the work that you've done and the work that we're doing together. And I'm curious if you tell me a little bit about the work that you do with LGBTQ plus populations, we tend to also clarify here we tend to use LGBT GQ I AP, so lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender, expansive, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, a romantic pansexual, and all the myriad additional identities that people use to describe themselves and their experiences. For a lot of our work together, you and I have done we use kind of the umbrella of queer and trans, which I'll stick with through the purpose of this episode, because it also just makes things a little bit clearer. But I know your dissertation really kind of talked about our fitness. And so can you share a little bit about your dissertation and that work?
Absolutely. So it was funny, as I was trying to, I was in a research class in my doctoral program, and I was trying to build this really complicated mixed methods study didn't really know what I wanted to do. But I was trying to kind of put all of these pieces around attachment and queerness, and our openness and trying to put all of this together in a really, unnecessarily complicated way. And one of my mentors came up to me, I was like, what is it like, what do you actually want to do here? Because this is kind of all over the place? And, and I said, Well, you know, I, this mentor is also one who introduced me to Photovoice. And I said, Well, I really want to do a Photovoice study. But I know that that's too much fun. And I'm probably not allowed to have that much fun doing my dissertation. And so, my, my mentor was like, no, no, no, you can absolutely use Photovoice This is that I was going to actually come to you. And if you did not come to that conclusion and tell you that I think you need to look into Photovoice because that's where your passion is. And the reason I was drawn to that, in particular is one that it's a participatory action research method. And I felt like I wanted to do research that that had a tangible impact. I also wanted to do research that felt really artful because I do think that creativity has always been art have always really been a part of of my life, my kind of personal life, and also clinical practice as well. And then I also was it navigating kind of my own out news journey at that point. I had come out a few years earlier to my family, I'd been out as queer to my friends for quite a while but had come out I guess, two to three years before this time to my family. And it wasn't received well. There were definitely some some attachment injuries around my relationship with my parents. It was a really difficult time and I thought about how so many of us in our queer and trans communities, we experience aliveness all the time, right? Every time we meet a new person, we experienced that every time we're in a new setting, we have either the challenge or the opportunity to come out. And it has, we all have different access to it right depending on kind of like our our access to like privilege and experiences of oppression or intersectionality. But also, we all it has a different impact for all of us. And it has different impact, I would say kind of every time that we engage in identity disclosure. And so I felt like that that felt really, really powerful for me. And so I wanted to dive into that. And I'd also been working with clients who were navigating their out in this journeys either individually or within their relationships with with partners who also identified as queer. And, and I also noticed that something that felt really interesting to me is thinking about the ways that the ways our prior experiences of identities, closure can shape our future ones and how that really manifests within our close connections to other people and particularly romantic relationships. And so I decided I wanted to really explore people's experiences of aliveness. In their romantic relationships, and I wanted to understand how Atlas fit into relationship satisfaction, whether folks levels of fitness were similar to those of their partners in different scenarios or different arenas, and if they were different and kind of the overall impact. So that's, that's kind of the inspiration for it. And Photovoice felt like a beautiful fit. Because aliveness is something that relies a lot on visibility. And Photovoice is a very visible methodology. So it felt like just that felt like, everything came together in a really, I mean, I'll say, like, a really exciting and also a validating way that the research I could do could be fun and also have a community impact.
Yeah, and I hear on that, there's a couple pieces that I want to dig into a little bit that I'm curious about. One of them first is just this idea that you really sounded like you're pushing back on this idea of when you come out, you come out once and I think that's a very popular cultural perception of what coming out is you do it once and it's over. And you're right. It's something that we do all the time, every single day in different spaces that I do with my clients as a as a queer person, as a trans person coming out to clients or disclosing or coming out the students or supervisees, or colleagues or you and I coming out on a podcast together. Right, right. And it's just something that we don't talk a lot about. But then also, within that context, your initial kind of diving into this world was in the context of romantic relationships and what that looks like, and what were some of the things that stood out to you. It
was interesting, it was there are a lot of connections really between. So I kind of I asked questions around just the general experience of powerlessness. And then the way that aliveness fit with people's ideas around their relationship satisfaction. And it seems like there was, well, I guess this is something that feels really important to mention that. Yeah, recruitment was very difficult for the study, because it required a particular level of aliveness for participants to even want to talk to me. It also required that their partners were comfortable with them discussing their relationships. So being out about that relationship, even though you know, we could try to maintain anonymity as much as possible. They were taking pictures, right, there was this very visual exposure of their lives. And maybe they weren't portrayed in the pictures, but their lives were. And so with recruitment being so difficult, it really showed up in my participant sample that most participants had larger, or, I guess, higher levels of aliveness in a lot of different areas. And so I think that when I talk about these results, it's definitely in this a bit of a vacuum of these people were already very out in a lot of ways. And I did have one or two participants who had lower levels of outlets, and that did come through as well. But in terms of outlets, in general, there was a lot around increased outlets leading to an increased sense of pride in in one's identity. And then that connected to increase aliveness about one's relationship leading to what pride and satisfaction in the relationship. But there was a there was also this experience of there being a when folks, we're not out to the same degrees as their partners, this could either cause some friction and cause some dissatisfaction in the relationship. Or, I guess I was like, and or because it kind of worked in both ways. For a lot of folks, it could also offer a space for support of a partner's out in this journey, right. And some of this looked like some folks that, you know, I couldn't be in a relationship where my partner was not as out as I was. And so that relationship that I had didn't last, and other said, I was okay being in this journey with my partner. And it brought us closer because we were able to hold each other and that emotional experience and kind of the trials around identity disclosure. I also think there's something that felt really fun about it and a bit disruptive is there's a theme around our openness and relationship satisfaction in which couples used their outlets as a way to kind of disrupt norms around the nuclear family. And that felt really powerful in engaging in their communities where they maybe looked like, you know, they were a same gender a couple who had kids and lived in a house, you know, kind of this this idea of the nuclear family, but then their queerness really tried to it disrupted that and it And some folks felt really welcomed in communities and others found that it didn't feel as safe to be able to disrupt in that way. So I think that, that there's so much work to be done around identity disclosure in relationships, because a lot of the work around relationship satisfaction and queer relationships is in comparison to sis hat relationships, which, you know, I'm like, let's like try and be more queer in our approach to this, right? Like, let's disrupt that power structure. And not to not do studies that compare but actually let, let queerness and transmis kind of stand on their own.
Yeah, because you're, you can't compare something that has no comparison. Versus had couples not having not having to go through a disclosure or a coming out process or experiencing that degree of sexism heterosexism in the world, it's very different.
It is it is. And then I also think that when we use like in research, when we use sis head experiences, as the foundation from which queer and trans experiences are to which queer and trans experiences are compared, we're saying, well, that's the norm. And that's what it should be. And I think that we can maybe move beyond that, and, and, and maybe do some of our own disruption in the way that we navigate data and research.
That's beautifully said. So that takes us kind of to this next piece of our work. And the things that we've been doing speaking of disrupting, what we're what we're taught to contextualize the work that we've been doing, and that we're continuing to do is looking at queer and trans self disclosure, within counseling settings, counselor education and supervision, what does it look like? What are the processes that queer and trans counselors go through? In disclosing their identities to clients or colleagues or even their own supervisors? What does it look like for Counselor Educators to disclose their identities, both inside and outside of the classroom? And, you know, there's, I think there's so much that we could go into here. And I think a really helpful place to start is to expand on a little bit your experience, what were you taught or not taught? About self disclosure? How did you understand it? As a student?
Oh, Mickey. Yeah. And I want to hear yours as well. Because I know that you and I, we built this project out of recognizing that we like, you know, my identity as queer and non binary in counselor education. It's definitely, it's been something that shapes like how I show up in the classroom, how I show up clinically how I show up as a researcher, right. And I know, the same for you and the ways that you embody your identities and your roles. And so I think that, for me, as a student, it was interesting, I felt like I was really I was very clear on feeling comfortable to disclose my queer identity in I would say, like my master's program, because I was kind of in this stage of my honest of like, All right, I've come out to my family, my friends have known for a while and like, professionally, I, I actually, I had an internship at a school and I kind of read the room and felt like, I'm gonna wait to come out in this space. Because it my kind of intuition was like, I don't know how safe this will be. And the next day, I was in the lunch room with like, teachers and a principal. And the principal came in and said, some really derogatory comments about a student in the school. And these were very homophobic and gender expression, regulatory behavior type, type statements, and I thought, wow, I don't think I can come out. And so I had to put up with a semester of like, where's your boyfriend? Do you have a boyfriend and you should bring your boyfriend to lunch one day? And it was like no, like, I don't, and I don't want one. But I realized I was so uncomfortable and reflecting back on that semester, that said, I will never go into another space professionally where I'm not out. And if someone cannot handle that, then that's fine. And I also recognize I have a lot of privilege to be able to say that, right? Like to be able to say on my applications for jobs, I'm going to out myself, I'm going to out myself as queer, non binary, Latino or Latina, but also I have a lot of access to white privilege, disabled and I use that language really intentionally to critique these systems. that are disabling. I share that because that is how I occupy space. As the counselor educator. That's how I joined with students with supervisees. Even with clients, right, clients seek me out because of that. But I didn't have that model. I was building this map kind of on my own of like, is it okay to do this? I don't know, I'm going to try it. And we'll see what happens. And I feel like I've been very lucky to have experiences that felt mostly affirming. But I also understand that that's because of a lot of this privilege that I have access to. Yeah, so I'd love to hear yours.
Yeah, and there's, there always seems to be this kind of check, almost, of let's let's check where we're at, let's check what this looks like, let's check in and make sure that this is safe. And And for you, in that experience, it wasn't. And so you really created, I love the way that you created spaces that were safe, that you could do that, because that recognition of that importance. And I think a lot of my my experiences and that are fairly similar and yet also different. Having gone through my master's program, identifying still as a woman identifying as a gay woman at that time. And really, also very masculine presenting. So within this, this culture in this world, and, and the time period of you know, the early 2000 10s of there, there really was no doubt to anyone's mind that I was a woman who was attracted to women, right, I very much fit that stereotype and took that on for a lot of different reasons. And then after coming out, you know, really recognizing myself for who I am, and coming out as trans and then starting to medically transition and pass as male. Gaining access to essentially straight passing white male privilege was a huge shift and left me a lot of leeway to decide, do I disclose this or not, as a student, especially as a doctoral student, as a doctoral student, teaching undergrad counseling classes, or counseling students, or navigating my own identity of what it means to be male. And I think for me, what that also meant was initially, early in my transition, my goal was to pass my goal was to be male in all the ways that I can make that mean, because there was safety in that. And now that I'm a little bit older, and I've had some more time with this identity and my own activism process, and my own just gender process, kind of moving away from some of that embracing my identity, and the things that it has shown me in the ways that I can exist in the world. And I also remember, there were a couple of times that I used my identity as a tool to try to change people's minds, right? That especially teaching undergrads back in Texas, there was a class I remember teaching, it was an undergraduate, social and cultural diversity class. And we spent the entire semester talking about marginalized identities. And there was a spectrum of students from very liberal, very open minded, with diverse identities to students who this was really their first exposure to any type of diversity outside of their hometowns. And having that experience of been going into, okay, this is the week we talked about gender and sexuality, and then towards the end of class saying, so there's a, there's kind of a myth that a lot of people have that they hold on to, or a belief that you've never met a trans person and trans people or so. And so and this was also at around the time of one of the first bathroom bills to come up in Texas and that sort of thing. And I said, Well, I want to share with you all that you have met a trans person, it's me. And being able to take that and kind of use it in that moment as a blend of humor and getting some feedback that that really made a difference for people. And in that moment, that worked for me. And then as I got older, and especially got into, like counselor education. I was like, I can't I don't want to separate myself that much. You know, it was very clear when I was interviewing for my position. When I was interviewing for any positions, really, I was very clear about my research centers, trans lives, my advocacy centers, trans lives, and how I can use my identity to disrupt those norms. But I couldn't do it in a way that was a I'm subversive in that same way as I had used it, initially. And that really, I think, you and I, having a lot of these conversations, put us into this work, and looking at all of the things that go into these decision making processes, talking about your process, talking about my process. And I want to kind of shift this back to ask you what doing this work of talking about self disclosure, talking about your self disclosure, and then also interviews with other queer and trans counselor, supervisors and Counselor Educators, what has been your experience through this process?
I think to kind of start my connection with you building this project has been something that has just I mean, my heart just overflows when we get to talk about this work, when we get to do this work. It's
it's felt healing, in so many ways, has
exactly it feels, I feel like if I'm kind of, I kind of look at it as like, our little, our little microcosm of you and I having these conversations and how healing that feels and how connected that I know, I feel to you as we kind of unpack all of our experiences in counselor Ed, but then also personally and how that connects to us being in in counselor Ed. And then when we open the door to hear stories from our colleagues that, you know, it's like we have this incredible network of folks that identify as queer and trans or queer or trans, right, we have all of these these beautiful colleagues that are doing this really radical work, and to be able to hold space for their stories. I mean, I felt myself tearing up as I was interviewing, right, like, I felt my heart just, Oh, God just growing with each interview. And I also felt like we were doing something groundbreaking in holding this space that I think could lead to normalizing having these conversations. And, you know, I know that we've talked about like, not, you know, I didn't, I had, I had one mentor who I could consult a bit. But I also think that this mentor maybe didn't have a road map and how to navigate their own identities. And so we're kind of like bouncing ideas off of each other. But like, I wonder if we are growing possibilities for the next generation of counselors and Counselor Educators, to have a very clear line and connection to mentors who have been doing this to community where we are processing our self disclosure, where we are engaging with this as something that can take our work deeper together, that can take students learning deeper, that can expand to the ways that our students who graduate can hold really lovely laboratory and loving spaces for their clients identity disclosure. So I think that this experience, just, I don't think I could have imagined how healing, how powerful, and how humbling, it has been to be able to hold those stories. It's been such a gift, and I don't want it to stop it. I want us to keep doing this research more and more and more.
Yes, and keep and keep having these conversations. And that's something you know, the feedback that we've been given when we when we present or when we talk about this topic has been, this isn't something that any supervisor any teacher has ever talked with me about, you know, I don't I have never had a or at least in in school, really, I never had somebody that really knew my experience or could help me. You know, we we learn how to help people as supervisors or as educators, we learn how to help students navigate all sorts of different processes. But it always came through the lens of kind of this is what I've read, or this is what I assume based on all these other things. But there was never anything about this is what I've learned either from my own experience or from somebody who has had that experience.
Yeah, and I think that I love that you said that because it's so different when you're talking to someone who has actually experienced that moment of deciding to wipe them out right now or do not right when when can i If not now, is this something that's desired that's possible that safe it's it's so different when you're speaking someone who has that firsthand experience and I think that I don't know about you, but in the interviews that that I I've done with our participants, it's like people are bursting at the seams to get their stories and experiences out there. And so I think that we're kind of creating this community of healing. And folks we kind of at the end of interviews have asked like is do you want to be connected to a larger community where we all can? Can, you know, we can, I imagine, you know, support one another, but also just hold space where we can keep, like, envisioning and growing. And everyone's like, yes, sign me up, I need to be connected. Some of the feedback that I think we've both gotten has been that it's been rewarding to participate in this.
Yeah, absolutely. And I, and that's definitely what I've heard as well and heard a lot about things that, you know, I think, maybe we hadn't even considered, and what some of these processes look like for folks. And so in that vein, what is important to know, about queer and trans self disclosure? So I'm thinking for, for this, I am imagining that there are at least a few queer trans counselors or Counselor Educators or supervisors or students that are going to listen to this. And what what would you want to share with those listeners?
I think that I would want to share that, that the journey is uniquely yours, but you're not alone in it. Right, your your choices and and I even kind of hesitant to say choices, because I think sometimes we don't have access to making choices around identity disclosure, right. But your navigation of the identity disclosure process, you get to determine what feels okay for you, right? There's, there's no right or wrong about it. It's just understanding like, what is your your kind of standpoint, perspective? How do your other intersectional identities influence your access to disclosure? And how do you honor what you need, right? So that piece of of, we all have to understand how we uniquely navigate that journey. But also, if you do want to reach out and connect that you're not going through it alone, and not everyone's going to fully understand because they have different lived experiences and, you know, different identities that might have more access to privilege or oppression, right? But we think there's like this, this longing to build community and we're longing to connect with you, I guess, I will say, I'm longing to connect with you if you want to connect and there's no expectation around or right. If I think that even hearing you talk, Mickey, I think that in my past, I've definitely, you know, I, I do come out to my students in classes because I teach primarily sexuality and gender classes. And even not in those classes, like in groups counseling, I will come out to my students, and I'll integrate things around LGBTQ plus identities into that class. But there have been times where it feels like it's a risk, right? It's a risk, especially working in the area that I work. It's definitely a risk. And I think that there's this, this narrative that hopefully is continuing to be challenged around, like, be out, be proud, be loud about it. And that's not realistic for everyone. That's not possible. And it's also not desired for everyone. So I think this is a long winded way of saying that, that I hope we can hold spaces for ourselves to navigate this and honor why we make the choices that we do. Yeah,
I really appreciate what you're talking about and acknowledging the access and the privilege that we may have in some settings, and all settings and different settings, and that that does look different. And it makes me think about something that we've been doing recently at my university in the past couple semesters is creating communities and practice that center, LGBTQ plus students and their experiences. And what we've been able to be fortunate enough to do is actually have gatherings exclusive to LGBTQ students, and then faculty staff to be able to come in and talk about, you know, some students are interested in research and some students just want, you know, they're new to the area and they want connections, but then also, other students come in and say, I'm not out to anybody at my site. And I don't know if I want to be but I also feel like I'm missing something, because I can't be fully present. And that being able to create this community and practice, and I think that's also something you were speaking of, or speaking to talking about that longing for connection, that a community, a larger community and practice, it would be. So could be so crucial to helping navigate initially, as you're newer in this role, but then also as you change roles, or as things come up, or how do you, how do you hold the pain of things that are happening in the world to your community, and then go into the classroom or go into sessions or go into supervision, and hold supervisees or clients or students pain, or challenge their assumptions or prejudices or misconceptions that are directly related to your identities?
Yes, yes. And, and I think that, how do we care for ourselves and nurture these pieces that can be really wounded by some of the things that you know, students or clients or supervisees might bring in when we have, you know, open ourselves in these really vulnerable ways, it can be incredibly painful. And we I think we have a call to action to make sure that we are nurturing ourselves as we're navigating that because I don't think that that are out in the judges leisure needs to be self sacrificial, right? Like, we don't have to, to our pain is not a price that we have, you know, Bitcoins, like should pay to be able to exist in a space.
Yeah, there's, there's different boundaries and limitations of others access to me and others access to you, that folks with marginalized identities are all too aware that we don't often get those boundaries. And that, you know, it's different based on your intersections, it's different based on how others perceive you. And it's still something that historically, we have used that pain, I say we as a field, right? That we have used that pain, and capitalized on that pain, for education of privilege groups, and that, that comes with a hefty cost and a hefty price tag. And so I really appreciate your acknowledgement of that. And then also kind of digging into it a little bit and wanting wanting to disrupt that and wanting to bring others in. To disrupt that.
Well, because I think that you know, and I'd love to even hear if you would like to share your experiences of the impact of that, because like I even know, in the classroom, I've had students who they, they have, in our last meeting for the semester, they're like, I need to share something with the class and they come out to the class and they're like, I haven't come out to anyone before. But this felt like a space where I could do that. And a lot of them will come up to me afterwards and say, you know, thank you for being visible in this department as someone who's queer as someone who's non binary, because it made me feel like I could also be seen as well.
I got goosebumps, as you said that because it's true, that those those are the moments I think that really push me to continue when it it really sometimes would be a lot easier to to hide, right, it would be a lot easier to not constantly be in touch with these questions are these pieces are constantly aware, especially within Settings and systems that are not friendly, or accessible for queer and trans folks, but being able to see that impact, you know, being able to get those those notes or those emails and really know that other people feel seen and a lot of ways to and I am imagining that this is also true for you as well. But in those moments, then also I feel seen in a way that feels very important.
Yes, it's this beautiful reciprocity that happens when we're seeing one another. Right.
Absolutely. And with that, is there anything else that you feel compelled to say on on this topic
is I think though, the one or the thing that was sitting with me is that I have a lot of gratitude for the folks that I get to work with in my day to day so my colleagues particularly I In my department that when I started work there, I was very clear around, you know, this is who I am, these are my identities. These are how they inform the way that I show up as a teacher, you know, as an educator, researcher, supervisor, colleague, and they have really, really just been co conspirators in some lovely ways where if something comes up that feels really violent or not, okay, like, even if if a student is presenting in a way that's out of alignment with our code of ethics, and I'm not the one that has to shoulder all of that labor alone, I have colleagues that are ready to jump into into action. We have in in our department, our gender and sexuality classes required, it's a required class for all clinical mental health counseling students. That's not something that's typical of North Carolina programs. But I have the support of folks around me to really emphasize the need for this type of training for these types of conversations. And so I just think that seeing that ripple effect, right, that that being seen personally, that but then also being seen professionally, and then you and I having the space to do something like this, like that feels like being seen in a really lovely way. And so I have a lot of gratitude to you for partnering with me in this journey and for making even this wonderful podcast possible.
I have so much gratitude for you as well. And joining me today here. I do want to say thank you. And then also as a as another note, just to listeners that I'm I'm hoping that the conversations become more consistent and more prevalent. And you mentioned that a little while back Whitney, and thinking and wanting to share too, that you're not alone. Right, that there are other queer and trans educators, counselors, supervisors, and that these conversations, I know people who have had some of these conversations and and also want to encourage you to be having them having the more I'm really advocating for yourself and then other folks advocating for queer and trans co conspirators being right being accomplices and want to just again, say thank you need for joining us and joining the thoughtful counselor today to talk about your experiences and talk about your research and your expertise. And I've really appreciated having you.
Yeah, you know, Mickey I so appreciate that. Because I do think that that having the space it feels it fills my heart up and to the to our listeners. You know, as you said, Mickey, you know, we're out here. As you know, queer, trans non binary Counselor Educators we are out here we want to connect with you connect with us and let's keep building together.
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