A few years ago, I was trying to set up a focus group of lesbians for a counselling project and yes I did face many challenges in getting this project going. Working in a Scarborough community, after months of doing outreach, we finally got a group of four women interested. That number does not accurately reflect an estimated 450,000 gay or lesbian residents of the GTA. When trying to find out from this core group of women as to what was stopping the lesbians in Scarborough to take part in a focus group-my preconceived answer was met with the statement- “You are not one of us.”
Here I was thinking about society stigma, taboo being the reason but I had never thought my personal gender orientation would become a barrier in delivering a much needed service in the area.
Trained as a Creative Arts Therapist, we were taught about cultural diversity from a counselling perspective, but no one told me that I had to be of a specific group in order to work with them. And I know that at this point in time, I do not have the option to change my gender orientation or have a specific disability or have suffered a specific medical condition just to work as counsellor with any group.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA