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Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship, and Sexuality Interest Group

What is ‘Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship, and Sexuality (GBKS)’ and why do we use this language?

Diversity means all of us. However, not all of us have been included, prioritised, and valued. GBKS focuses specifically on ensuring that those forms of gender, body, kinship, and sexuality lived experience that have been excluded or marginalised can achieve ongoing and equitable inclusion.

Locally and internationally, including within PACFA, there has been a shift away from speaking in generalities and lumping together lived experiences under Anglocentric and Eurocentric umbrella categories like ‘LGBTQIA+.’

This is part of an anti-racist, decolonial shift away from a one-dimensional approach and the overgeneralised use of umbrella categories, toward recognition of nuance, depth, sanctity and multiplicity of voices across the domains of gender, body, kinship and sexuality.

GBKS

Diversity in gender, body, kinship and sexuality (GBKS) refers to a broader range of cultures, communities, and people whose gender, body, kinship and/or sexuality lived experiences are or have been excluded or marginalised.

In addition to people who feel they fit within the concept of 'LGBTQI,' this also includes but is not limited to traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sistergirls and Brotherboys; Sa'moan fa'afafine and fa'atama; Māori takatāpui and a wide variety of other terms and concepts within Aboriginal, Indigenous and First Nations communities, and asexual/ace spectrum people; aromantic/aro spectrum people; non-binary and agender people (including those who do not identify as 'trans'); people with intersex characteristics who seek recognition distinct from 'LGBTQ'; polyamorous and/or multi-partnered people; people in BDSM/kink and/or queerplatonic forms of kinship; and many more people who matter. This includes people who use other language to describe their excluded or marginalised GBKS lived experiences or who may not use labels to describe themselves.

Bodily diversity

By bodily diversity, we include not only variations associated with sex characteristics, but also the well-established intersections of people's gender, kinship and sexuality lived experiences with disability, body size, and neurodivergence.

Queer kinships

Queer kinships have been widely researched and discussed in many queer communities, both locally and around the world. For PACFA members who are unfamiliar with this concept and why we and many others have shifted to discuss ‘kinships’ instead of ‘relationships,’ we invite you to explore the many available cross-cultural sources on this topic by people and communities with queer lived experience through an internet search for this term.

Our Interest Group raises awareness about, advocates for, and promotes current and emerging advances in culturally safe standards and practices, both within the category of ‘LGBTQI’ and beyond, for practitioners working across this broad range of cultures, communities, and people. This includes developing practice resources, providing guidance to PACFA, and offering continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities to promote current and emerging standards and practices informed by lived experience community wisdom and peer-reviewed evidence when working with LGBTQI people and people with other forms of excluded or marginalised gender, body, kinship and sexuality lived experiences and needs.

We would love to connect with you! Contact the Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship and Sexuality Interest Group: [email protected]

Policy & Advocacy

 In 2018, a previous iteration of the Leadership Group reviewed PACFA’s Position Statement on Therapeutic Support for LGBTIQ clients and their families. This important document ensures safe practice by explicitly prohibiting the practice of so-called conversion therapies which have been found to be harmful to LGBTIQ clients.

In January 2020, a new Leadership Group formed, to bring new ideas and energy to the Interest Group. All Leadership Group members bring expertise and experience of LGBTQI+ issues and care about diversity in gender, body, kinship, and sexuality beyond just ‘LGBTQI+’.

In July 2020, the Leadership Group made a brief policy submission to the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), raising concerns over the treatment of LGBTQI+ people with lived experience in the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan 2020.

In November 2020, the Leadership Group published a statement on the Education Legislation Amendment (parental Rights) Bill 2020, expressing grave concerns about the proposed NSW legislation which would would deny young people, families, and school staff protection from discrimination, vilification, and abuse based on gender identity or intersex status. Download LGBTQI+ Leadership Group Statement on Education Legislation Amendment Bill 2020.

In February 2021, the Leadership Group received Board approval to change its name to reflect emerging shifts in the field toward greater recognition of diversity in gender, body, kinship, and sexuality beyond the limitations of ‘LGBTQI+’. The Interest Group plans to develop practice resources and professional development opportunities.

Between August 2020 and September 2021, we initiated successful formal ethics complaints with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and the Australian Professional Association for Transgender Health (AusPATH) regarding ongoing practices among Australian WPATH and ANZPATH members that denied gender-affirming care. Our advocacy for gender-affirming healthcare and the results of our work were shared in PACFA eNews.

Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship, & Sexuality Leadership Group Members

Mixed polycultural man with olive skin, smoky dark eyes, and thick dark goatee in a dark koufi and jacket, smiling from an oceanfront harbour. The ocean waves symbolise his commitment to ongoing and unfolding processes of growing, learning, and becoming.Dr Gávi Ansara (Convenor) (He/Him)
PhD Psychol, MCouns, MSc, BA, CCTP-II, AAGSRDT

Dr Gávi lives and works on unceded Wurundjeri Country, Kulin Nations. He contributes to Pay the Rent and several Aboriginal-led initiatives for reparations, truth-telling, treaty, healing, and justice. He is a Registered Clinical Family Therapist, PACFA-Registered Clinical Psychotherapist and Accredited Clinical Supervisor, and polycule-centred Clinical Relationship Counsellor. He has specialisations in complex trauma and dissociation, B/I/POC-centred ecotherapy, neurodivergent-affirming practice, intersex-centred practice, non-binary and binary trans-centred practice, queer and D/s kinships, polyamorous and multi-partner relationships, family and partner violence, polycultural and creative arts approaches, grief and loss, family and community trauma, supporting people seeking asylum, and group facilitation.

Gávi is an Advanced Accredited Gender, Sex, and Relationship Diversities Therapist (AAGSRDT) whose undergraduate work had a focus on anti-racist, African-led and Black-led approaches to community wellbeing. He is a founding director and learning facilitator at the Centre for Liberating Practices, a non-violent virtual hub for challenging oppressions and cultivating communities. He has worked for over 20 years alongside people and communities with lived experience of oppression. He serves as Senior Clinical Supervisor (multi-site contractor) with QLife, a free, anonymous LGBTIQ+ peer support and referral service, and has published widely in peer-reviewed publications. He received the UK Higher Education Academy’s National Psychology Postgraduate Teaching Award for excellence in teaching psychology, the American Psychological Association’s Transgender Research Award for original, significant research, and the University of Surrey Vice Chancellor’s Alumni Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to international human rights and social justice.

Positioning reflection:

Gávi is a multilingual, mixed polycultural, polyamorous, neurodivergent polyennic, and queer androsexual man of faith from multiple racialised cultural backgrounds who grew up in urban and rural China, the Eora Nation, and elsewhere. He has multiple names in multiple languages; they are all his “real” names. Gávi has lived experience of chronic pain, multiple disabilities, homelessness, migration, intergenerational forced displacement, poverty, and being targeted for racist violence and gender, body, kinship, and sexuality violence. He is also of Deaf lived experience and influenced by Deaf Pride; although currently hearing, he retains beneficial influences from Deaf cultures.

He strives for accountable solidarity regarding his literacy, sighted, hearing, speaking, educational, allistic (non-Autistic), binary gender, citizenship, situationally lighter-skinned, singleton (not a plural person), and non-Aboriginal privileges. Gávi's more detailed positioning reflection acknowledging the intersections of his privileges, affinities, and marginalised lived experiences is available here.

 

Tanya Quakawoot they/them

Tanya is a Dharumbal Blak queer person based in Meeanjin on Turrbal and Yuggera Country, which is colonially known as “Brisbane, Queensland”. Tanya is a postgraduate-trained and practising Indigenous Trauma Recovery Specialist of Aboriginal and South Sea Islander descent. Tanya is currently working in project management in the violence prevention sector leading advocacy and change for improved recovery pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing domestic and family violence. Tanya has worked in the public sector for more than 25 years and specialises in ethical leadership practices. Tanya completed a Bachelor of Justice majoring in Critical Criminology. They are the Co-founder of IndigiLez, a leadership and support group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander lesbians and non-binary people. Tanya is also a Cultural Adviser connected with the LGBTI Legal Service (Meeanjin) and Rainbow Families (Turrbal and Yuggera Country). Tanya is passionate about social justice, Blak queer politics, ethical governance, and health advocacy.

 

Trish Thompson (she/her)

Trish lives and works on the lands of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. She has a BA (majoring in psychology) and a Master of Counselling from La Trobe University.  

She is a clinical counsellor and supervisor in private practice, with specialist training and experience in relationship counselling and family violence. She has facilitated Men's Behaviour Change groups for Relationships Australia and in her client work she is dedicated to helping clients create and maintain healthy, respectful relationships.

Trish started her career as a secondary teacher and then moved into counselling, working with adolescents and their families for over 10 years. She has worked in community settings, in particular for many years at the Victorian AIDS Council (now Thorne Harbour Health). This began her now substantial experience in working with marginalised GBKS communities. She is committed to working authentically with clients, which means acknowledging and addressing issues such as holding white, cis and heteronormative privileges, so that the working alliance is based on transparency and ethical therapist self-disclosure related to privilege and systemic oppression. 

Trish taught in the Bachelor of Counselling degree at the Australian College of Applied Professionals (ACAP) from 2018-2020, and maintains a commitment to mentoring counsellors in early career, particularly through group supervision. She has written articles for Psychotherapy & Counselling Today and the website Psychotherapy.net, a book chapter and has co-written a book with a past client, published by Routledge.

 

Francis Voon (he/him)
mcap, ba, grad dip ed, b th, dip bus, cpe

Francis acknowledges that he lives, loves and works on the unceded lands of the Gadigal, and yearns for a day when the work of healing and justice especially for First Nations people is not linear but circular.

Francis is a gay, cisgender man and person of colour, with lived experiences of migration, polycultural balancing, religious discrimination, ageism, racism, religiously and culturally based queerphobia, sexually racist lateral violence, intergenerational trauma, linguistic and profession-based discrimination.

These experiences of discrimination and violence coexist alongside the privileges he acknowledges as cisgender, male, able-bodied, sighted, hearing, speaking, mobility, literate, lighter-skin, allistic, middle-class, city-based, anglo-centric and tertiary educated, citizenship, fluent anglophone, heteronormatively-perceived, monogamous-kinship-perceived, self-employment, easy access to health, food, technology and resource privileges.

Francis has had access to opportunities across the multiverses of education, religious, cultural, health, not-for-profit, advocacy, queer/LGBTIQA+/rainbow/gender-bodily-kinship-sexuality celebratory, diversity-friendly, nonviolence and performing arts. He enjoys educating, supervising and presenting to colleagues and university students on issues of psychotherapy, intersectionality and social justice. As a psychotherapist & supervisor, his interests are somatic, psychodynamic, jungian, gestalt, narrative, existential, and creative in expression.

 

Dr Kieran O’Loughlin (He/him or They/Them)

Over the last forty years, Kieran has been a teacher in secondary schools and adult contexts, teacher educator, academic director, counsellor, and counsellor educator. Concurrently, throughout this period, he has been a queer and HIV community activist, a stance which has sat uneasily alongside his various professional roles in education.

They began working as a volunteer counsellor at the Victorian AIDS Council in the late 1980s. Eventually, Kieran left the field of teacher education and was employed at Thorne Harbour Health as a counsellor, manager, clinical supervisor, and training and capacity-building specialist. He also began working part-time in private practice during that time. More recently, Kieran held the position of senior lecturer at the Australian College of Applied Psychology.

Kieran is a PACFA registered clinical counsellor, accredited clinical supervisor and mental health practitioner. They are also a member of the leadership team of the inaugural PACFA LGBTIQ Interest Group. Kieran now currently works solely in private practice. His primary client group is gender and sexually diverse people from various cultural backgrounds. He has specialist expertise in providing counselling with these people in intimate relationships and who are at risk of, living with, or otherwise affected by HIV.

Positioning Statement

"I come from a white, Anglo-Celtic, Roman Catholic, professional, middle class, suburban and therefore, in objective terms, highly-privileged background. This background supported me to become a teacher and teacher educator in various educational contexts and to complete my PhD in Applied Linguistics.

However, my lived experience of that background from my early childhood was one of marginalisation and rejection for not fitting in, especially in terms of gender and sexuality. In my adult life, I have lived as an openly same-gender-attracted person across more than four decades of oppression, discrimination, activism and victory against the odds. These have included the early years of gay liberation in the 1970s, the collective trauma of HIV/AIDS, especially in the 1980s and 1990s, and more recently the greater ‘acceptance’ by the majority of Australian society of same gender attraction and relationships.

My early decision to embrace a ‘gay’ identity in the 1970s was driven by an acute desire to escape the oppressively bourgeois and heteronormative world of my childhood and adolescence. From this perspective my marginalisation became my personal liberation which eventually led me to becoming a therapist. Now in my mid 60s and living in rural Victoria on the lands of the Gurnaikurnai People, I find myself marginalised again because of my age, sexuality and geographical location."

 

Jaini Shah (They/Them), on Whadjuk Noogar Boojar

Jaini is a PACFA-registered psychotherapist and counsellor and member of the Society of Australian Sexologists. Jaini has been working as a counsellor, psychotherapist and educator with specialised experience in sexuality and gender diversity. Jaini has previously worked in the not-for-profit sectors in various roles including as an educator, counselling team leader and senior counsellor. Jaini’s therapeutic approach is to engage in a safe and non-judgemental environment for people to explore and better understand the meaning of their difficulties, themselves and their relationships in a way that will encourage them to resolve their current concerns. Jaini's work is informed by and drawn from a range of therapeutic modalities.Jaini is a multilingual Indian person who grew up in Kenya before moving to Australia. Their work is informed by anti-oppressive practice and anti-racist practice, with approaches in intersectional feminism and aims towards working within a humility framework. These are embedded throughout Jaini's clinical and management work. 

Contact the Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship & Sexuality Leadership Group: [email protected]
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