LGBTQIA+ AND ALLIES ENCOUNTER
This group meets every other Monday from 4PM to 5:30PM PST and is focused on providing a supportive environment for discussing various LGBTQIA+ issues or experiences, as well as fostering community with one another. We also hope that allies, family, and loved ones join our encounter group, for we want this group to be a safe space for all to connect.
My name is Sophie Muller, and I am looking forward to meeting you in this group encounter. My keen interest in this group stems from two aspects:
The first one is intellectual. By listening to all participants, I hope to know how I can better support the LGBTQIA+ community. A few months ago, a former student of mine consulted me regarding a mastectomy. Even though I knew perfectly well that my student is transgender, my first thought was: “What!? You have breast cancer!!” This is when I realized I needed to broaden my frame of reference to be a better ally.
The second aspect is emotional. Through this group, I will listen to each participant in order to immerse myself in their emotional and experiential worlds, and thus widen my own emotional landscape, giving me more emotional intelligence. I know this for a fact because, early in life, I was in contact with the gay and drag queen communities, and every individual I met allowed me to understand Life more deeply. Their sometimes radically different perspectives have made me a better human being, and I wish to walk further on this path.
My name is Carey Patrick Wertz. I identify as nonbinary, transmasculine (he/they pronouns) and as a panromantic asexual. I only came out as transgender and started medically transitioning in 2018; hence, my journey is still relatively new, and I am still learning to navigate my newer, yet truer identity. I have wanted to start an encounter group for the LGBTQIA+ community ever since I graduated from my counseling program and joined CSP, mostly because I have been disappointed in the lack of resources in my local community. I will admit that there is a personal motive here in the sense that I, personally, want to connect with others in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Encounter can provide a safe environment for group members to share experiences and receive support, as well as provide opportunities for personal growth. More importantly, living in rural Montana where there are little to no resources, I wanted to start a group via Zoom so that people who live in similar communities can find a support system or at least have a place to share whatever they are experiencing.