Queer Invitations: Fostering connection between queer young people and their loved ones — Rosie Maeder

This paper demonstrates ways that queer theory can inform narrative practice, including through practices of invitation, deconstruction, questioning dominant discourses and mobilising nonbinary superpowers. The particular focus of the paper is on counselling conversations with queer and trans young people and their families. However, the paper argues that queer theory, with its critical practices that unsettle hegemonic assumptions and call into question the naturalness of taken-for-granted binaries, can fruitfully inform narrative practice in general. Specific examples of practice are included, such as inviting loved ones to join counselling conversations, using therapeutic letters to foster collaboration, guiding conversations about preferred names and pronouns, and responding to pathologising discourses including in relation to gender dysphoria.

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Queer counselling & narrative practice — David Denborough (ed)

The writings in this book represent a small part of a broader transformation that is occurring within the health professions. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans- and bi-gendered experience is disrupting the very assumptions upon which these professions are built.

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Thinking Queerly about Narrative-Informed Organisational Development: A conversation with Janet Bystrom, founder of RECLAIM— An interview with Julie Tilsen

Maintaining a narrative practice within conventional organisational structures that are informed by modernist and medicalised ideas of identity, professional expertise and ethics can present a variety of challenges. In some contexts, governmental regulations and market-based funding directly affect the practices of service providers by imposing regulations and limits that stand in opposition to the relational intentions of narrative practice. This is particularly true for narrative practitioners who work alongside marginalised communities with intentions of doing justice. One organisation, RECLAIM, in St Paul, Minnesota, USA, is striving to meet this challenge. RECLAIM is building a community organisation that serves queer and transgender young people. Julie Tilsen (co-editor of this issue) sat down with RECLAIM’s founder, Janet Bystrom, to learn how, as an organisation, RECLAIM aspires to embody narrative practices and principles, not only in the therapy room, but also in its policies, procedures and everyday organisational practices.

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Living Feminism in a Queer Family— Amy Ralfs

In this paper, Amy Ralfs describes how her experiences of growing up and living in a queer family have contributed to the development of a particular feminism. This feminism has certain themes which are explained here: ‘Your body is your own’, ‘The personal is political’, ‘Girls can do anything’ & ‘Difference can be different’. This paper was originally delivered as a keynote at the 5th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference, in Liverpool in July 2003.

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Up the Steep Side of the Queer Learning Curve: Some Things I’ve Learned about Sex, Gender and Sexuality— Mary Heath

This article uses stories about everyday life to explore ideas about sex, gender and sexuality. It questions the dominant idea that there are only two sexes and two genders, and that sex should always be congruent with gender, drawing on queer theory – and intersex and transgendered people’s life stories. It also examines the challenges bisexuality and queer theory present to dominant ideas about sexuality, proposing that there are more than two sexualities, and that sexuality can change depending on time, circumstances, and other factors. The author suggests that people who believe that their own sex and gender are uncontroversial have much to learn from paying thorough attention to the richness of human diversity rather than accepting the dominant two-sex, two-gender story. She suggests that refusing to accept the limitations of the accepted accounts of sex, gender and sexuality opens the way to exciting conversations on these subjects. These conversations, and the social change which they are making possible, have much to offer to people who fit within the dominant models of sex, gender and sexuality as well as those whose lives are currently erased and denigrated by them.

Continue Reading Up the Steep Side of the Queer Learning Curve: Some Things I’ve Learned about Sex, Gender and Sexuality— Mary Heath