Gender Group at Peak House: Making space beyond inclusion, resisting cis- and heteronormativity — Bhupie Dulay, Graeme Sampson, Stefanie Krasnow and Vikki Reynolds


Gender Group is an ever-evolving therapeutic group at Peak House. Peak House is a live-in program for 13 to 18-year-olds of all genders who are
struggling with problematic substance use, exploitation and oppression in their lives. This article explores Gender Group’s historical and current attempts to make space while resisting sexualised and gendered violence, cisnormativity and heteronormativity. Particular ethics structure the practice of Gender Group. These include: contextualising problems, enacting accountability, attending to language, resisting the binary while acknowledging the impact of the binary and recognising youth as changemakers in communities. The authors examine how practitioners co-construct safety with youth by holding structure and fluidity/flexibility in tension, and through the therapists decentring themselves and demasking professionalism. All of these practices create space for outcomes that cannot be measured, such as the therapeutic value for young people’s lives, the reduction of harm, the amplification of youth wisdom, solidarity through lateral mentoring and the transformation of communities by young people.