In the fifth chapter of this course we’re going to focus on particular intersections of gender, race, class, culture and violence with sexual and gender expansiveness. This chapter is an invitation to always consider the multidimensionality of the lives of people we work with (and our own) and to decline universal or single storied descriptions of identity and experience.
Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett (she/her), with Jamil (he/him) and Hasan (he/him), challenge dominant understandings of being gay and coming out and introduce us to the alternative practice of inviting people in. This work also illustrates the use of outsider witness questions and definitional ceremony to foster connection across difference and to enrich and thicken subjugated stories of identity.
Azima Ila Hayati – an Invitation in to My Life: Narrative Conversations about Sexual Identity — Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett
Here is the inviting in resource Sekneh developed for practitioners to foster conversations about inviting others in.
Charles Jasper (he/him) draws on the work of Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett in conversations with a group of gay men in San Francisco. Finding a way back to spiritual traditions.
In this interview Reverend Cody Sanders (he/him) describes findings from his narrative research about LGBTQ survivors experiences of surviving theological violence. Participants in his research came mainly from christian faith backgrounds but perhaps there may be resonance for folks from other religious traditions who have experienced harmful narratives about LGBTQ identities.
This short piece ‘Who am I? Who are my people? And where do I belong?’ explores considerations of spirituality by Claire Ralfs, a white, middle-class lesbian woman living on Aboriginal land.
The following two interviews with Moneira (she/her) and Tikka Jan Wilson (she/her) richly illustrate the complexity of identity and the dynamic interactions between race, faith, culture, sexuality, gender and experience.
A woman of culture negotiative arabic and lesbian identity- an interview with Moneira in Queer Counselling and Narrative Practice.
A glimpse of the complexity of identity by Tikka Jan Wilson in Queer Counselling and Narrative Practice
Pat Durish (she/her) invites us to consider the limitations of traditional gender-based understandings of violence and shares principles that guide her work of responding to relationship violence in the Toronto LGBTIQ community.
Honouring Complexity: Gender, culture and violence in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer individuals — Pat Durish in Conversations about Gender, Culture, Violence & Narrative Practice.
Finally, join Manja Visschedijk (she/her) and Gipsy Hosking (she/her) as they weave preferred stories across shifting intersections of privilege and oppression. They remind us about narrative principles which reduce the risk of being co-opted by normalising judgement and inadvertently engaging in harmful or exclusionary practices.
Reflection questions (you will probably recognise these as outsider witness enquiries):
- What words, phrases, stories, or ideas from this chapter stood out to you?
- Did any images come to mind? Or maybe a story, song, or passage of scripture?
- What is it about your life or practice that had these words, phrases, stories or ideas capturing your attention?
- What will you do differently in your practice as a result of this reflection?