On Saturday 4 August, I will be a guest speaker at Talking MEN's panel discussion on Men and Mental Health. The Facebook event can be accessed here.
South Africa's Own Practice Guidelines For Psychology Professionals Working With Sexually And Gender-Diverse People
After a number of years in the making the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) has released Practice Guidelines For Psychology Professionals Working With Sexually And Gender-Diverse People. These are the first of their kind in South Africa and hold the potential to make a massive difference to many people's lives.
It was an honour to be involved in the development of this important document as "subject specialist".
The guidelines can be downloaded for free from the PsySSA Website.
"Importantly, transgender people experience their own set of unique barriers to accessing essential health services. These include transphobia and trans-prejudice, stigma and discrimination, and a pervasive lack of understanding and insight into their health needs among health professionals.
It is within this context that we welcome you to this training material."
The ANOVA Health Institute has recently launched much needed transgender health training manuals as part of their Health4Trans programme. These can be downloaded from the ANOVA website.
In relation to the recent media coverage of Caitlyn Jenner's transitioning Gender Dynamix and News24 has released a series of informative videos on transgender people and their experiences in South Africa. The videos can be seen below:
Transgender Intersex Africa (TIA) and Iranti-org will be hosting an important dialogue on the challenges facing transgender and gender non-conforming learners in South African schools. Below is the invitation:
We have witnessed an escalation in the number of cases of discrimination toward the
trans* community. Transgender and gender non-conforming pupils in South Africa have
experienced discrimination on the basis of their gender identities and find themselves
being ridiculed, taunted and shamed, often by those in positions of power.
In response to and addressing the issues of the trans* learners in schools, TIA
(Transgender and Intersex Arica) in partnership with Iranti-org will host a social
dialogue at national level on the issues affecting these pupils. The proposed dialogue is an
opportunity to promote visibility and transparency of the issues at hand, which in itself
can be educational and promotes diversity.
Furthermore, it will highlight the capacity needs of students, teachers, counsellors and
school governing bodies on homophobia and transphobia with a view to developing
concrete policies and actions on Sexual orientation and gender identities (SOGI) in school.
The dialogue also seeks to create a safe space for engagement between government
departments, civil society, parents and learners.
The event includes a panel discussion with representatives from; Social Development,
Department of Education, Law Resource Centre, the Department of Education, (Parents of
the learners who are affected), South African Human Rights Commission, Commission on
Gender Equality and partner organisations (NGOs and CBOs) that work around issues of
We gladly inform your respective office about a social dialogue that will be held on the
20th of October 2014 at Constitutional Hill (Braamfontein) from 09:00 till 13:00. The main
objective of this dialogue is to discuss issues that affect the trans* learners in schools, as
well as to find out how the government departments addresses such issues
Your office is kindly invited to attend the dialogue and participate in the proceedings of
the meeting. It would be of great assistance if your office would have a representative
present at this meeting, to speak on behalf of your department regarding the issue at
hand and your work in addressing these.
Your response with regards is highly appreciated. We will be extremely thankful for your
valuable presence and participation in the dialogue. Contact:
Admin and Communication officer
There is still limited research available on the experiences of gender variant people. This is even more especially so on the experiences of significant others, family, friends and allies (SOFFAs) of transgender persons. Further research and the sharing of information has a strong potential to make a significant difference in many peoples lives (trans- and cisgender).
Carol Musikanth has recently contacted me for assistance with finding participants for her research to help families of transgender individuals. See her introduction and request for willing participants below:
Hi, my name is Carol and I am a Psychology Master’s student at the University of South Africa (Unisa)
I am currently in the process doing research for my Master’s degree in Psychology focusing in particular on family members of transgender individuals. The aim of the research is to ascertain from parents, partners and siblings of a transgender individual what their experience was like during the transition of their family member so that this information can be used to help other parents, partners and siblings who may be going through the same experience.
I know that when my family and I went through my son’s transition, we did not have any real support of any organisation, psychologists or even our GP until much later. At that stage no one really had any understanding of, or experience in transgenderism. There was no specific information I could gleam from any book or the internet that would indicate whether the feelings of loss and trauma that we were experiencing were normal or even acceptable. I had no idea if there were other families who going through the same experience.
By doing this research, I would like to publish a book which hopefully will normalise any feelings of anxiety, confusion, loss and trauma that family members may experience as well as give them the tools to deal with these feelings and emotions so that they can reach a good place of acceptance and understanding of their loved one and their journey. It is also hoped that health professionals will benefit from the book too, by having a better understanding of the family’s transition and thereby better equipped to assist these families.
I am therefore appealing to you the families of transgender individuals to assist me with my research by sharing your experiences with me? I would love your personal experience to not only contribute to the quality of my research but that your stories will enable other parents to relate to them and be able to deal with their own trauma through your experience.
Please be assured that any information that you may share will be dealt with ethically, sensitively and totally confidentially. Any information that will appear in the research or the book will not include any names, or personal details that be identified as belonging to anyone in particular. It will be totally anonymous.
Take time, think about it and let me know. I look forward to you being a part of my journey to helping other transitioning families.
Email : email@example.com
Mobile: 082 566 7452
Psychologist's office to sublet three afternoons a week and on Saturday mornings in a busy medical centre in Parkwood, Johannesburg. The centre is just two blocks from the Mall of Rosebank, in walking distance from the Gautrain and easily accessible from Jan Smuts Avenue, Oxford Road and the M1. Available from 1 August 2014. For inquiries and further information contact Justine on 083 227 1468 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Jonathan on 083 703 5121 or email@example.com.
Healthcare professions often play an integral part in a transgender person's transitioning. This may include aiding the individual in better understanding their gender identity, planning what a transition will mean for that individual, dealing with the adjustments that are inherent to a transition or providing medical care (such as hormones or surgery). Frequently, healthcare professionals also provide a supportive role, such as through check-ups or through counselling and psychotherapy.
In addition to the assistance provided by healthcare professionals the support and resources contributed by other trans people is becoming more and more evident in transitionings. The explosion of the internet and access to the internet has enabled previously isolated individuals to connect with one another. Websites, blogs, online forums, instant messaging and other online platforms allow for rapid sharing of information and support (obviously with caution being necessary with regards to the reliability of information and the nature of privacy. There are certain things for which the opinion and guidance of the healthcare professional cannot be substituted). However, despite the empowering boom in trans resources by trans persons many trans people still find it hard to find and meet with other trans people in safe spaces.
A much-needed support group for trans people by trans people, CtrlAltGender, has recently been started at Wits University in Johannesburg:
"He? She? For some of us, gender is not so simple. For Trans* People by Trans* People. CtrlAltGender is a trans* advocacy, activism and support group. It is based at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) in Johannesburg but is by no means limited to Wits students/staff. Its main role is to provide a safe and secure trans* space to provide support and guidance to the trans* community within the local Joburg area. Beyond that the group functions to challenge cissexism within the university and the community at large.
Trans* is an umbrella term that refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum. There’s a ton of diversity there, but we often group them all together (e.g., when we say “trans* issues). Trans (without the asterisk) is best applied to trans men and trans women, while the asterisk makes special note in an effort to include all non-cisgender gender identities, including transgender, transsexual, transvestite, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, genderfuck, genderless, agender, non-gendered, third gender, two-spirit, bigender, and trans man and trans woman."
Any queries about the group can be directed to Jocelyn (firstname.lastname@example.org). The group also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
I use this blog to post links to articles and videos that may relate to some of my services or interests. This content may also be useful for potential clients as well as other people interested in psychology and self development.