The LGBTQI+ Interest Group aims to raise awareness and advocate for LGBTQI+ issues within PACFA and to promote good practice when working with LGBTQI+ clients. This includes developing practice resources and professional development opportunities around working with LGBTQI+ clients.
In 2018, the Leadership Group of the LGBTQI+ Interest Group reviewed PACFA’s Position Statement on Therapeutic Support for LGBTQI+ 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 LGBTQI+ 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.
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.
Read the full submission here.
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.
LGBTQI+ Leadership Group Members
Dr Gávi Ansara (Convenor) (He/Him)
Dr Gávi lives on the sovereign lands of the Boon Wurrung People of the Kulin Nations in Victoria. He is a multilingual, polycultural, migrant man of faith with lived experience of disability, homelessness, racist violence, and poverty who grew up in urban and rural China, Australia, and elsewhere.
He has a PhD and MSc in Psychology (University of Surrey, England), a Master of Counselling (Monash), and a BA in International and Cross-Cultural Health with African Studies. He has 15+ years of multi-national Anti-Oppressive Practice experience working alongside people and communities with marginalised lived experiences. He is an AAFT-Accredited Clinical Family Therapist and Clinical Member of the College of Psychotherapy and College of Relationship Counsellors. He has specialist qualifications in complex trauma, dissociation, family and community trauma, youth and refugee mental health, emotionally aware child caregiving, and group facilitation. He testified at an Australian Senate Inquiry on medical abuse of intersex people, led a national consultation on LGBTQI+ experiences of family violence, and serves on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Transgender Health.
Dr Gávi is an internationally recognised psychotherapist, researcher, clinical educator, community activist, and policy advisor. He received the American Psychological Association’s Transgender Research Award for original and significant research on cisgenderism—forms of systemic oppression that invalidate people’s own classifications and understanding of their genders and bodies—in approaches to young people. He also received the UK Higher Education Academy’s National Psychology Postgraduate Teaching Award for excellence in teaching psychology and the University of Surrey Vice Chancellor’s Alumni Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to standards and policies in international human rights and social justice.
PJ Menon (She/Her)
PJ is a queer woman of colour living in Boorloo (Perth), Western Australia. PJ is a mental health clinician for headspace Midland and Youth Focus, specialising in work with young people 12-25. She supports organisations in creating more inclusive workspaces by facilitating training and resource distribution, collaborating with other agencies to create safe spaces specific to LGBTIQA+ youth, and consulting around issues relevant to LGBTIQA+ and culturally diverse young people. PJ completed a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters of Counselling and Psychotherapy. She is a provisional registrant with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia.
PJ is of Indian descent, and was born and lived in Malaysia, before moving to Australia at age 9. Her experiences as a queer woman of colour have sparked a determination to advocate for both LGBTIQA+ and culturally diverse groups. PJ has a particular interest in providing support for people at the intersection between these two groups due to the ‘double discrimination’ often faced by those affected. PJ also does some paid and volunteer work for Living Proud, Western Australia’s longest running LGBTIQA+ service, and sits on a number of committees focused on diversity and inclusion. PJ is currently working as a long-term youth counsellor and LGBTIQA+ community outreach worker and is completing an Advanced Graduate Diploma in Psychology.
Jade Wren Pearson (She/Her)
Supporting LGBTQI+ communities is due in part to my lived trans experience. I completed my transition over 10 years ago. In addition to my experiences in becoming the woman I always believed I am, rejection by family and others, poor coping behaviours, mental health challenges, reconnection and success in a new career have been significant learning opportunities.
To my lived experience, I bring a wealth of professional capabilities to my integrative counselling practice framework that includes Gestalt Therapy, Schema Therapy, and Internal Family Systems. However, my work is informed primarily by attachment theory, early developmental and complex trauma, and their links to sexuality and identity, low esteem, internalised stigma, study and life goals, interpersonal issues and more.
LGBTQI+ clients are not the exclusive focus of my counselling work. I practice privately as Wren Counselling and this follows my time as a counsellor with Westlund Counselling at Meridian (formerly the AIDS Action Council of the ACT).
Trish Thompson (She/Her)
Trish Thompson, BA, Dip Ed, MA Counselling and Human Services, Grad Cert in Male Family Violence, is a clinical counsellor and supervisor in private practice in North Fitzroy, Melbourne. 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, particularly with the LGBTIQ+ communities. Trish’s client work is grounded in emotion focused therapy and mindfulness-based practices. She has facilitated Men’s Behaviour Change groups for Relationships Australia and is dedicated to helping clients create and maintain healthy, respectful relationships. Trish is the deputy convenor of the leadership group of the PACFA College of Relationship Counsellors and teaches in the Bachelor of Counselling degree at the Australia College of Applied Psychology.
Francis Voon (He/Him)
Francis lives and works on the lands of the Cadigal of the Eora nation (Sydney NSW). Francis uses he/him pronouns and is a gay, cisgender person of colour who is a diversity-friendly psychotherapist in private practice. He is connected with Imanadari Counselling, Jansen Newman Institute, the Somatic communities, and the Centre for Existential Practice (where he is completing Supervisor training). His previous backgrounds have been in education, health, nonviolence, and Rainbow faith and multicultural communities.