From Mack

Hi there – Mack here from Motivo.

I’m filling in for Rachel today as it’s a big day in the LGBTQIA+ community — It’s National Coming Out Day!

Depending on each individual’s unique circumstances, support system, and resources, this is a day that can bring up a lot of joy, excitement, anxiety, loneliness, hopelessness, and more.

If you’ve come out and have had positive reactions and support from your loved ones, today is an opportunity to celebrate the good memories and shine as an example of the power of living authentically and openly for those who haven’t quite had the chance to make it there yet. 

I officially came out of the closet as a pansexual, transgender man and transitioned in early 2017. I was incredibly fortunate that all of my family members, just about all of my friends, and everyone in my workplace was unbelievably supportive and respectful. They were all very quick to catch on to calling me “Mack” and “he” and to this day I can’t believe I’ve been so lucky. 

Unfortunately, I had one close friend tell me that he’d never call me by the correct name and pronouns and that he would never see me as a man. Because of this common experience, National Coming Out Day is also an opportunity to educate allies (and could-be allies) and advocate for stronger protections and more inclusive practices that create safety nets for individuals of all ages trying to navigate the process of coming out.

There are countless valuable tools and resources for mental health professionals out there from trusted organizations like NAMISAMHSAGLSENThe Trevor Project, and others to help providers support and advocate for their LGBTQIA+ clients.

From my own experience, I wanted to highlight three easy ways that you can demonstrate support and build rapport with transgender and non-binary folks:

  • Ask and honor the name and pronouns that the client uses. From the very first session, make sure you’re using the appropriate language to speak with your client and be comfortable if it evolves along the journey. Even if you’re not trans or non-binary yourself, you can help by sharing your own pronouns during introductions, on business cards, in email signatures, etc. With simple acts like this, trans and non-binary people don’t have to carry the burden of normalizing this experience alone. This Indeed commercial provides a great example of what these introductions look like in action.
  • Focus on the needs of the client without pathologizing their identity or their bodies. Attributing a client’s life challenges and hateful reactions from other people (e.g. bullying, harassment, etc) to their behaviors, mannerisms, or appearance can prevent providers from developing a mutually trusting relationship with their client and will reinforce the stigma they may already experience and internalize. Avoid asking invasive questions about trans clients’ bodies unless they want to discuss it. Trans and non-binary people all have different degrees of comfort and desires related to physical changes and will approach the topic if and when they’re comfortable.
  • Make yourself aware of available resources and be prepared to share them with clients. This might include local support groups and advocacy organizations, affirming healthcare providers, LGBTQIA+ groups in schools, educational materials like books, food and housing resources, and other accessible support structures such as Facebook groups and online communities which can be particularly important for clients in rural and under-resourced areas where supportive services may be difficult to find.

Remember that “coming out” isn’t just a one-time experience, but a lifelong journey of vulnerability, self-disclosure, courage, rejection, and discovery. Not all LGBTQIA+ people are in a position to comfortably and safely come out right now — And, that’s okay! Being an ally means respecting where others are on their journey and, as mental health professionals, this community has the unique opportunity to help them along their path. 

For all LGBTQIA+ people out there that are in the space to celebrate today and to those in the Motivo Community who support them — Happy National Coming Out Day!

 

– Mack 

Mack Bayda (he/him/his)

Business Development Representative

mack@motivohealth.com 

 
 
 
Rachel McCrickard, LMFT

Rachel McCrickard, LMFT

Rachel is the CEO & Founder of Motivo, a HIPAA-compliant video platform connecting mental health therapists to the clinical supervision hours needed for licensure. She's also a LMFT, and brings her years of experience as both a therapist and a supervisor to her vision for Motivo. She also is a huge fan of pizza and yoga, in that order.

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