I want to specifically highlight the Threads Fashion Program at Love your Labels that provides a limited space program to HS age people who are part of the LGBTQIA+ population to explore fashion and foster community where diverse expression of self is celebrated and cultivated as a means to healthily navigate life as a queer person at this time. The program operates on Wednesdays at 6 PM and will be starting up in a fortnight on October 18th, if you or someone you know is a High School age person who would benefit from connecting with other members of the LGBTQIA+ community and may enjoy building their confidence and sense of self/identity through fashion please engage with the Threads program.
Additionally, a new page has been added to the site under the Resource Directory tab for which one can find Activity Focused and Queer Friendly spaces to explore in Worcester –Queer Coded Spaces.
This weekend marks the equinox, the solar end of Summer and the beginning of the Fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. Daylight and night swap and the amount of sunlight continues to decrease each day as we march towards the Winter Solstice. This is a good time for rituals, self-care, and mindful awareness of Seasonal Affective Disorder patterns that may or may not affect you and those around you.
Due to the increased lack of sunlight, people tend to get more depressive and find themselves having lower motivation to engage in social activities or healthy behaviors overall. It is important to find positive focuses during the Fall season, make plans, and engage in mindful behaviors that work to support your health or practice moderation in any shifts in your patterns. Regular utilization of opportunities to be outside in the sunlight, use of sun lamp, limited use of tanning salons are self-care activities to consider in managing one’s seasonal depression. Additionally, any project that helps organize, set intentions, prepare for winter, or otherwise engage you in a “harvesting” mindset can be helpful in aligning yourself with the environment around you.
Enjoy your spices and flavors this season, focus on celebrations with those you enjoy, and find positive focuses to celebrate who you are.
The beginning of September for Worcester is Pride season, with the parade and primary festival being held on Saturday the 9th. For more information please go to the events page at prideworcester.org/events
The history and meaning of pride was previously discussed in the post June Advocacy
A common side effect of Pride events is increased sexual contacts and for this reason I want to remind Worcester area residents of their confidential and supportive resource options to knowing their statuses with all STIs.
Aids Project Worcester has been on the scene addressing the queer communities health needs for over 35 years and provides walk-in services for HIV, Herpes, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia that are free and confidential. Hours for this service are provided Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 AM to 2 PM and on Wednesdays from 1 PM to 6 PM. They can be found at 165 Southbridge St.
Worcester also has a comprehensive Planned Parenthood clinic providing services to both individuals with male and female body structures as well as trans/intersex individuals. Their services require an appointment be made in advance and that can be done by calling the (508)854-3300.
Happy Pride and safe engagement in the community. Know your risks, know your status!
August First marks a mid-point between the Summer Solstice and the Fall Equinox and is designated as Lughnassad or Lammas in the Wheel of the Year. This time marks the start of the harvest season and begins a three month phase that endeavors to gather and organize the gains of the year as well as set intention for the remainder of the season. Recommendations at this time involve preparing for shifts and enjoying whatever productivity, growth, development, or prosperity is felt in one’s life at this time.
This year has marked a lot of growth for me and my practice, challenges, and exciting new avenues of engagement in the community. I am working to support new therapists as a supervisor and trainer to ensure more people have access to quality therapy that protects the needs and concerns of culturally marginalized communities.
Goals at this time include restructuring my schedule and providing time for engagement as an educator and trainer on matters relating to sex therapy and gender diversity. Feedback is encouraged at this time to guide development of what is wanted in the way of more material, resources, links, or services delivered through this website.
Meanwhile I hope that everyone is able to find some semblance of peace and enjoyment of the season and that struggles and obstacles are being re-examined and addressed from different angles so that we all have a chance to enjoy a more fruitful year to come!
Today marks the Summer Solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and is the day for which we have the most sunlight, officially starting the Summer season. This is a time for which I strongly encourage everyone to be mindful of what the build up to this point of the year has felt like and that we should be aware of the relative return to Autumn that is now 3 months away. During this period of Summer sun and ideally gentle weather it is often a good idea to focus on productive projects, social gatherings and opportunities, and cultivation of positive energy/experiences.
Activities that are recommended for this time involve outdoor exercise, gardening, meditating while in sunshine, addressing projects that are in-process, and engaging in activities of rest upon establishing a sense of achievement. Strong focus during Summer should be on addressing what is needed and what has been lacking in the year thus far.
This year specifically has been a challenge for the transgender community as they face an unprecedented number of official efforts to make their existence illegal; whether it be in using a public bathroom, providing community service/engagement/education, or presenting in public as a form of basic representation, officials in a wide variety of spaces are pushing a cultural agenda of transphobia based on fear.
The fear of the unknown and the fear that one’s viewpoint of the world is not correct for everyone is a very difficult fear to address and requires education and vulnerability. This ask is rather hard for a majority of those pushing for laws that limit the expression of transgender individuals, but it is a vital ask. It is an ask for which all of us must push for; consideration that all aspects of life, including biological sex and social gender norms are in fact part of a spectrum of life, not a binary and mutually exclusive system. For the same reason that people are not only gay or straight, but also bisexual and pansexual, it is important to consider that there are more than two ways to live one’s life.
Diversity is the spice to life and vital to any species success to survive in a changing world. Monocultural tones and goals are cornerstones to Fascism and should be meet with heavy criticism least we succumb to repeating the mistakes of history. These United States of America were built on the principles of salvation from discrimination, freedom of religion, and the pursuit of happiness; but many times these principles are misunderstood to mean “Christians First” and “White Superior” as acceptable standards for our lives. We must fight racism and the development of a Theocracy at all levels in order to protect our most vulnerable and in order to ensure our basic freedoms to practice whatever faith we wish and provide a safe space for peoples of all heritages, no exceptions.
Representation matters. As the month of June comes to a close and Pride celebrations cease remember that queer people and queer expressionist art still exists, needs our support, and is a vital component to keeping our children alive and filled with hope that their future can be as bright as the MidSummer Sun!
The month of June holds global recognition as “Pride Month” and is a time for most celebrations of the LGBTQIA+ community. While Boston Pride draws attention during the second weekend of the month, Worcester chooses to postpone its celebration until the arrival of fall. Meanwhile, there will be a noticeable increase in queer-coded merchandise, events, and visibility of advocacy efforts during this month. I strongly encourage everyone to reflect on what it means to take pride in something and why this month holds significance for the LGBTQIA+ community.
The first Pride March was a NYC riot in response to a police raid of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher St the night of the last Saturday in June 1969; since then NYC holds its Pride celebration every last Sunday of June. The riot itself served as a resistance movement against the ongoing and systematic discrimination faced by the queer community, historically perpetuated through the abuse of power by law enforcement; exhausted by the disruption of their social and personal lives and the shame imposed upon them through arrests, closure of queer spaces, and outright police brutality, the queer community united. Marsha P. Johnson, a person assigned male at birth who defied gender expectations, is credited with initiating the riot by throwing the first brick. Her actions exemplify the bravery and fatigue experienced by the Black queer community, who strive for the right to live, pursue happiness, and freely express themselves.
It is of utmost importance that the gay community remembers and honors the immense bravery of the transgender and gender-expansive community. They have been instrumental in achieving the rights and privileges we currently enjoy. Unfortunately, these rights are now under attack, particularly affecting transgender individuals who face heightened vulnerability in numerous states nationwide. In some states, it is becoming illegal to exist and express gender identities outside the binary. Floridian children are now at risk for removal from their home if their parents support them in any gender-fluid expression of self including the use of different pronouns or gender coded dress that matches binary cisgender norms for their sex assigned at birth. Dozens of other states are pushing for legislation that would punish gender expansive expression, traumatize children through unnecessary removal, or otherwise endorse a culture for which lynching of queer people may become common. Banning books and media with queer representation is a specific form of fascism that must be resisted and for anyone who is a resident of a state or municipality for which such legislation and efforts are developing I strongly encourage you to reach out to your local representatives and to advocate protection of trans youth.
Representation matters and is one of the two most important factors to reduce suicidal risk in queer youth, the other is having access to caretakers and trusted adults for which they are supported in navigating, exploring, and expressing their gender and identities in whatever way is authentic.
As the month unfolds, varying events and seasonal activities occur, and the flowers continue to brighten our day please remember that some of our most vulnerable may not survive the year in light of the fresh oppression and legalization of discrimination and hate that is developing in our nation. Consider donating to a local area advocacy league, pride community center, or the ACLU at the very least.
May you have a healing June during these oppressive times.
In May, we observe several awareness campaigns that are interconnected in various ways. These include Arthritis Awareness, Sleep Awareness, Mental Health Awareness, Walking Month, and Women’s Health. Today, I would like to focus on discussing the benefits of walking and maintaining a balanced sleep schedule for mental well-being.
Let’s start by acknowledging the interesting coincidence that May is both Arthritis Awareness Month and National Walking Month. This is ironic because arthritis can significantly impact a person’s ability to walk. Many of us often take walking for granted, but it’s important to realize that individuals with chronic illnesses face mobility challenges. Those of us who are currently able-bodied should appreciate and use the skills and opportunities available to us. Walking can be a powerful tool for reducing stress and anxiety, particularly walking outdoors. It provides a change of scenery, and exposure to fresh natural stimuli, and is generally a low-impact activity.
In my therapy sessions, I often emphasize the importance of spending time in nature through activities like walking. Engaging in such activities can significantly contribute to maintaining good mental health. Rather than searching for a single solution to address specific mental health issues, establishing practices that support a balanced and healthy mind-body connection is often more beneficial.
A vital aspect of overall well-being is maintaining a healthy relationship with sleep. A healthy sleep routine plays a crucial role in managing mental health needs. It allows for processing unconscious thoughts and emotions and replenishes the body’s energy to support our daily endeavors. Quality sleep is associated with positive health outcomes in various aspects of life. Therefore, assessing what might be disrupting your sleep schedule if you wake up feeling unrested is essential. Consider incorporating a calming playlist or relaxation techniques such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation before bedtime, and try to avoid using screens when experiencing difficulty falling asleep.
As the month of April unfolds we can take time to appreciate the opportunity to be outdoors, engage in gardening, or work to cultivate changes and growth that can be demonstrated all around. A trip to the Botanic Garden, or even just visiting a local park allows for an opportunity to appreciate the changing weather and affirming experience that Spring provides.
However, this Spring seems to be a rather heavy season for many: current events, political legislation, and general continuation of monologues that do not lend themselves to progressive dialogue seems to overwhelm media at this time.
Exhaustion from the winter has been affecting many, mindless engagement with substances has been a common topic of reflection, and general planning for the upcoming weeks/months has the potential to overwhelm some. Recommendations include taking stock of your behaviors and patterns, identifying what goals you may have at this time, and finding ways to re-invigorate yourself as we all collectively shake off the low energy of winter.
The occurrence of major celestial events hallmarks certain traditions for the Abrahamic Religions as the first full moon after the equinox indicates Passover and the following Sunday is celebrated for Easter followed by Eid-al-Fitr in correlation to the new moon which marks the close of Ramadan this year. Secular occasions of Earth Day and Arbor Day close out the month and request us to consider tree-planting and ecological efforts to protect the planet.
All of these celebrations correlate to the theme of Spring, gratitude for the end of Winter and its dormancy effect ending to mark new beginnings; and with that in mind I hope everyone is finding some positive focus and hope for a healthy engagement with cycles and starting things that serve us to heal and grow.
This Spring marks the launch of this website and the development of an online presence for which I am hopeful achieves a few goals:
Educate on matters relating to gender, sexuality, and other topics
Help more people engage with a diverse pool of quality therapists through the Therapist Network page
Provide support to clients in managing their symptoms with a growing language of coping skills and resources
Encourage discussions in people’s therapy as a result of material found on the website and the links it provides
I hope this tool serves my practice and my client’s in a holistic way that improves all of our collective ability to care for self, care for others, and make changes for a better and more authentic future.
As Spring unfolds I often recommend clients to take advantage of the season and consider what outdoor options are available to them to feel refreshed. Even if not going outdoors, consider what can encourage a degree of activity that feels like renewal, rebirth, or regeneration in order to challenge any stagnation negatively affecting one’s mood, motivation, or sense of direction. It has a been an emotionally draining season for many and I am hopeful that the upcoming season gives us more than flowers; something that helps us feel healthy and strong, able to grow.
Change is hard and I hope this new cycle brings some positive shifts to your mental health.