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.
We have identified a need for more collaboration and support for mental healthcare professionals working with transgender, intersex and gender-variant individuals. We would like to invite interested parties to our upcoming meeting to:
DATE: Wednesday 19 February 2014
VENUE : The Family and Child Therapy Centre, 22 First Avenue, Melville (next door to the Melville Animal Clinic)
TIME: 19h15 for 19h30
RSVP TO: Jonathan Bosworth on email@example.com or 083 703 5121 by Wednesday 12 February
Jonathan Bosworth (Counselling Psychologist),
Claire Jaynes (Counselling Psychologist), and
Fred Walter (Clinical Psychologist)
Trans Student Equality Resources (TSER) have released an important series of infographics on transgender-related topics. Trans persons and significant others, family, friends and allies (SOFFAs) of trans persons may find these particularly helpful in educating themselves and those around them.
Babies have a rich mental life, and just like children and adults they can also experience psychological difficulties. Infants may not be able to convey their distress through language but often express their difficulties through restlessness, aggression, sleep, eating, elimination, relationship and developmental problems.
Babies' foundational way of knowing and experiencing the world is through their primary caregiver/s. The bond between the infant and their primary caregiver/s (commonly referred to as attachment) plays a huge role in an infant's mental and physical health. This bond can be disrupted for various reasons: due to difficulties within the infant (such as medical problems), difficulties within the primary caregiver/s (for example depression or loss) or in the dynamics between infant and caregiver (for instance a baby with a difficult temperament and a mother with low internal resources due to stressful circumstances).
Due to the importance of this bond and the baby not being able to experience psychotherapy by themselves, a strategic intervention for difficulties in infant (and sometimes parental) mental health is parent infant psychotherapy (PIP). In PIP both infant and parent/s are present in the room. The therapist particularly focuses on the relationship between the infant and their caregiver/s to help manage stress and work through psychological tensions in and between the baby and their caregiver/s. The therapist also provides the dyad (or triad) with support and guidance.
Columbia University's Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research describes what parent infant psychotherapy is a different way and provides a useful case example to better understand what PIP may entail.
Parenting teenagers can be very challenging but also really rewarding. Adolescence is an important developmental stage that often has a big impact on our later lives. Both parents and teenagers may approach adolescence with a mix of feelings.
Keeping all of this in mind, I will regularly be writing parenting articles for parents with teenagers for All4Women.co.za. I hope that these articles empower parents to assist themselves as well as their adolescents. Links to my first two articles can be found below:
Building and maintaining a good relationship with your child's school can have various benefits, such as:
- having a better understanding of your child's development
- being involved in preventing educational and behavioural problems
- demonstrating to your child how invested you are in them and their education
- being better able to support your child
- improving your child's attitude towards school and school attendance
- potentially improving your child's academic performance and overall functioning; and
- potentially allowing your child to go further in their education
But how do you build and maintain a good relationship with your child's school?
The article, Building a relationship with your child's school, provides some excellent practical advice on how to build and maintain this relationship. The article thoughtfully takes into account different parents' capacities (working or not working, amount of time available, own strengths etc.) and how to build the relationship at different levels of schooling.
The article is written by the Raising Children Network, an Australian parenting website. The website is a great resource for parents, families and teachers and offers valuable information on topics across your child's development.
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.