Events: Reducing Cisgenderisms in Relationship and Family Therapy

Cisgenderism is a term for discriminatory ideology that does not recognise people’s own view of their gender as legitimate. Previous findings indicate that pathologising forms of cisgenderism about children are more widespread in mental health professions than in other fields. People whose genders have been delegitimised by others are also ignored and marginalised in relationship and family therapy research and practice. Ideological assumptions embedded in counselling practices can often perpetuate or reproduce forms of cisgenderism that adversely affect people’s relationships, families, and sexual health. Currently, there is little to no professional dialogue about these issues, which makes reflexive discussion crucial.

These issues will be explored by leading experts on Thursday, 9th August, 1:30-3:30 pm at the University of Surrey. Markie L. C. Blumer, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Family Therapy Program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Y. Gavriel Ansara, MSc, is a final year PhD student in Psychology at Surrey.

The session will use a combination of interactive exercises, content presentation, and discussion to initiate that dialogue. Gávi will introduce the theoretical framework of cisgenderism and explain how different forms of cisgenderism can manifest in clinical and counselling settings, using evidence both from research and from his past professional experiences. Markie will explore the often hidden forms of cisgenderism in both mainstream and feminist understandings of counselling practice and family therapy. Both Gávi and Markie will discuss the negative effects of cisgenderism on families, family therapy, relationships, and the therapeutic alliance. We will reflect as a group on ways to reduce cisgenderism in our own practices with families, parents, partners, and supervisees.

As space is limited, please RSVP for room location to y.ansara@surrey.ac.uk by 6th August.

About the presenters

Markie L. C. Blumer, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Family Therapy Program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist (IA, NV) and mental health counselor (IA), a clinical member and approved supervisor of the AAMFT, and serves as an editorial board member for both the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy: An International Forum and the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy. She attained her Master’s in family therapy, with an emphasis in sex therapy from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and her Ph.D. in human development and family studies, specializing in family therapy from Iowa State University. Dr. Blumer’s award-winning research primarily focuses on sexual and gender orientation minorities, feminist practices, mentoring and supervisory relationships, couple and family technology, and family and ecological sustainability. She has presented nationally, as well as published and co-published in these areas in top tier journals of the field. For more information, visit her online profile page, view the youtube channel UNLVMFT youtube, Twitter: @Markie_Blumer or email: markie.blumer@unlv.edu.

Y. Gavriel Ansara, MSc, is a final year PhD student in Psychology at Surrey supervised by Dr Peter Hegarty. He received the 2012 American Psychological Association Division 44 Transgender Research Award for research that makes a significant and innovative contribution to the field. This award-winning research was the first published empirical study of cisgenderism. Gávi also received the 2011 National Psychology Postgraduate Teaching Award for making a significant impact through excellence in teaching and the 2002 Keshet Leadership of the Year Award for founding an outreach project for people with minoritised genders and sexualities in traditional religious communities. Gávi’s research on cisgenderism is partly motivated by his experiences as a man who was not raised as a boy and who continues to experience cisgenderism in his everyday life; as former founding director of a charity that assisted hundreds of people in navigating cisgenderisms in their everyday lives; as an experienced counsellor and therapeutic advocate for people seeking gender affirmation; and as a polycultural person with cross-cultural childhood experiences of how gender norms in one society can contradict those in another. Gávi has published several book chapters on cisgenderism and presented accredited trainings to medical and mental health clinicians. He holds certificates in Addictions Counselling; HIV Testing & Prevention Counselling; International Human Rights; & Advanced Group Facilitation. For more information, visit his website or email gavriel.ansara@gmail.com.

This FREE presentation and workshop is funded by a summer 2012 Greenspun College of Urban Affairs Research Support Grant

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