Now that I am in private practice, I get asked two questions where one immediately follows the other. First, “What is your specialty?” My specialty is working with the LGBTQ+ community. Second question, “What led you into that?”
I have known for many years that this was my passion. Even when I worked as a therapist for an outpatient community behavioral health agency, where I helped individuals with a variety of concerns and struggles, I was able to carve out my own niche of working with clients who self-identified at LGBTQ+. People seem to want to know, "Where does this passion stem from?" It is through a path of self-reflection that I have been able to answer this question.
Here is where it stems from. I was raised by a single parent, my father. He was, and still is, a Hippie at heart who grew up during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. He is also a college professor who teaches history and has a passion for traveling. His wisdom, teachings, and overall perspective on life itself have shaped who I am today. I have been blessed to have joined him on travels around the world. He introduced me to Stonewall in New York City, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, and battlefields across the United States of America and Europe. He has always said, "History surrounds us every day." Therefore, he taught me, by showing and modeling to me, what it means to value equality and human rights. He showed me what injustice looks like and how to have a voice. He made it very clear, at an early age, that we would be a family that celebrates diversity and equality, and we would not be ignorant to what history has taught us.
My goal is to utilize and implement these teachings to be an advocate and a voice. The reason I have such a strong passion for working with the LGBTQ+ community goes back to the way I was raised. I personally feel that my father's generation, and the Hippies, were connected to the Civil Rights Movement in the same way that my generation, the Millennials, are connected to LGBTQ+ rights.
I want to make a difference. For all those museums and battlefields I stood in, all of my father's teachings and words, and all the times it was made clear to me that there is an issue here regarding human rights, I developed my own identity as an LGBTQ+ ally. I am my father’s legacy.