Podcast
Mental Note

54 - They/Them: Creating Affirming Spaces with Lor Sabourin

By Ellie Pike, MA, LPC, Lor Sabourin & Sand Chang, PhD

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Lor Sabourin knows a thing or two about resilience and the power of thoughtfully approaching a relationship - be it with a sport or gender.

A professional rock climber who grew up in Detroit, they spent years figuring out how to not hide their queer identity in a very male, heteronormative, and competitive world. Lor now works to spread the wisdom they’ve gathered by creating affirming spaces in outdoor communities and also training other climbers on mental stability.

They are also the subject of a recent documentary film put out by Patagonia called They/Them.

We invited Lor to talk about their personal journey, creating inclusive spaces, and how to simply find more Joy in the lives we choose.

We also hear from Sand Chang, PhD (They/Them) about the relationship between our society and mental health trends in the Queer Community.

Transcript

Lor Sabourin:
Yesterday I was deciding to go out climbing and I had a lot of different thoughts in my brain about what was going to help me most in my performance this season. And I really slowed myself down and just said, "What's going to bring me joy today?" And I ask myself that a lot, what's going to make this life feel really joyful for me and one that I want to be in?

Ellie Pike:
Lor Sabourin knows a thing or two about resilience and the power of thoughtfully approaching a relationship, be it with a sport or gender. A professional rock climber who grew up in Detroit, they spent years figuring out how to not hide their queer identity in a very male heteronormative and competitive world. Lor now works to spread the wisdom they've gathered by creating affirming spaces in outdoor communities and also training other climbers on mental stability. They are also the subject of a recent documentary film put out by Patagonia called They/Them. I invited Lor on Mental Note to talk about their personal story, creating inclusive spaces and how to simply find more joy in the lives we choose. You are listening to Mental Note Podcast. I'm Ellie Pike. Meet Lor.

Lor Sabourin:
My name is Lor. My pronouns are they/them. I'm a professional rock climber and a mental training coach. I use rock climbing as a resource to teach people who are climbers and also non climbers how to deal with stress in their sport and outside of it. I'm also currently a grad student. I'm getting my master's in counseling and studying adventure based counseling, so how to use the outdoors and adventure as a therapeutic tool.

Ellie Pike:
Lor, I didn't even recognize through our first conversation that you were getting your masters in counseling and that a big component of your job is mental training. So you wear many hats in your daily life and one of them is that you're an advocate for creating an affirming space for the queer community. Can you just start by telling us a little bit about how you have evolved in your journey and how you've become an advocate in your space?

Lor Sabourin:
So I grew up kind of straddling two worlds. I started rock climbing when I was 12, and so got really involved in the world of outdoor sports and in the outdoor industry. I started working in the climbing industry really young. My first teaching job in the climbing industry was when I was 14 and just kind of stayed in the industry from there. I also grew up in an urban area. I grew up in Detroit and so I had access to community and queer spaces pretty young, which is pretty unique especially being a nineties kid. I'm really lucky that I had that community early. But what happened was, because there weren't a lot of people that I knew of at the time who were queer in the outdoors, I really felt like I had to separate those two pieces of my identity.

Lor Sabourin:
And ultimately for me, that meant that because I wanted to climb, because that was my career, it meant really hiding my queer identity most of the time. As I got older and as I realized how painful that was for me and how isolating it was, when I started to just decide that I wasn't going to try to separate out those parts of me anymore, I was going to bring all of me into my work, I started just speaking openly about my identity and it felt for a moment like queer people were coming out of the woodwork. I was getting to connect with so many people and realizing that I had the opportunity to create those spaces that I didn't have when I was younger, and create spaces where people could bring all of themselves and they could bring all of those things to the activities that lit them up. For me, that meant creating those affirming spaces in the world of rock climbing and in the world of outdoor activities as well.

Ellie Pike:
Lor, I really admire how you not only decided to really be your whole self, but bring it into the community and create a safe space for others to be able to be their own self, the whole self, right, not separating their queer identity from their love or their sport. The way I found out about you was by watching a documentary called They/Them, and I know that that's a new and more recent part of your journey. Can you share a little bit more about this documentary?

Lor Sabourin:
Yeah, so my best friend Blake is a filmmaker and he's a person that I've known since pretty much the day I moved to Flagstaff eight years ago. He's always been someone who I have really trusted and who's been in my life in some really important ways. And it's almost four years ago now he reached out to me about making a film. And at the time he was just looking at ways to use the tools that he had as a filmmaker to increase representation in an industry where he felt like the stories were just really homogenous. And we didn't quite know what that was going to look like, so when he proposed it to me it was pretty vague. He was just like, "How would you feel about being in a climbing film?" In the beginning we didn't talk about whether it was going to talk about my identity.

Lor Sabourin:
I mean, we discussed it, but we didn't know what it was going to look like. And at first I actually, I didn't really say yes right away. I didn't lean in. I wasn't like, "Oh yeah, I'd love to be in a climbing film." I was pretty nervous, but it came at a point when I had just gotten access to a lot of resources for affirming my identity, for living more openly in the spaces where I worked and played and I was realizing how many people didn't have access to those resources and it was inspiring to me to start using those privileges that I had to kind of pass on a story that I felt like I wanted to be out in the world. It didn't have to be my story, but I wanted there to be more queer stories. And I happened to be in a place where I had a relatively, I guess, I had more safety than a lot of people and so I really leaned into that and decided that I was willing to participate.

Lor Sabourin:
In the beginning we thought maybe it would just be a climbing film that mentioned vaguely that I was a queer person, mentioned vaguely about my gender identity, and then it really, as we did interviews and leaned into it, realized that those aspects of the story were very powerful parts that weaved into my experience as a climber. And we decided to weave the two together. In many ways it was a very healing project because I was working with someone that I loved so much and that I knew loved me so much. And when you have your story witnessed that way, it's really beautiful.

Ellie Pike:
Well, I just imagine that that was such an intimate experience with your friend to be able to brainstorm and process and have a say in how your story was told. And for many of us, I think just sharing our story in itself, we're always morphing and evolving and coming up with the words to really articulate our internal experience, can be very hard. And one thing that I really noticed was at the end of the the documentary there was a panel discussion and someone posed the question why do we have to talk about queer identities? Why can't we just talk about rock climbing? And your answer, would you like to actually fill in what your answer was?

Lor Sabourin:
Yeah, so I think for a lot of trans kids, when we're little, when we're like little-little, a lot of us articulate our stories and talk about our identities really openly in the very beginning of the times when kiddos articulate their identities. If you think of like three to five years old and we start to understand gender, and a lot of us say like, "Hey, this is who I am," in this really excited, beautiful way. And immediately we're told that that's wrong. We're silenced. We're told like, "Oh no, no, no, no, you don't know what you're talking about." And so our stories get stolen from us really young. And I think with that story of why is it important to join the two, it's that we're showing the entire person. And also because it's very healing for communities that have been told you can only show up here if you're able to put on a costume, if you're able to assimilate to the culture here, if you're able to leave other parts of you behind.

Ellie Pike:
I know that you mentioned to me that you had a focus group review it and they had some interesting feedback. What was that feedback?

Lor Sabourin:
Yeah, one of the tough pieces of feedback that we got during the film was that it shouldn't talk as much about mental health. That too often we see stories of people in the queer community and we relate that back to mental health and that it can make it seem like queer identity is almost like a comorbidity of mental illness. When I received that feedback, it was hard for me to take in because I have always viewed it through a pretty systemic lens of the reason, it's just like if we put someone into an environment with chemical toxins we're going to expect to see issues with their physical health. And that's what we have done with the queer community is on a daily basis we're exposing people from a really young age to toxicity in their environment and so it just makes sense that their mental health and their physical health is going to take a huge toll on those things.

Lor Sabourin:
In itself, someone having a queer identity of any kind doesn't lead to mental health issues, it's the reaction of their environment, the people around them that are reacting to their gender identity, to their sexual orientation, that creates those issues of that feeling of not belonging, of not being accepted, that that's what's leading to mental health concerns in our community. And that's so important as we're thinking about treatment and recovery, to realize that kind of systemic piece there.

Ellie Pike:
Let's take a moment to unpack this connection between large scale systemic forces and the mental health of folks with queer identities. To help us make sense of current research and therapy, I reached out to Dr. Sand Chang.

Dr. Sand Chang:
Hi, I am Dr. Sand Chang and my pronouns are they/them. I live and work on unceded Ohlone land, also known as Oakland, California. I'm a Chinese American, non-binary, gender-fluid psychologist, and I specialize in trans health and eating disorders as well as trauma. My main approaches are internal family systems and somatic experiencing. In addition to doing clinical work, I do a lot of training as well as DEI consulting for organizations.

Ellie Pike:
Thank you so much for being here, Dr. Chang. We really are looking forward to hearing from you on some of the overlap between mental health and those who have queer identities along with the research that coincides. So starting with that, what do we know about the intersection between mental health and those with queer identities?

Dr. Sand Chang:
So before I answer this, it's also important for me to name that there are people in our society who believe that gay, lesbian, trans, bisexual, and queer, basically anything that deviates from the assumed or dominant culture norm of being cisgender and straight, a lot of people think that those identities are synonymous with having some kind of mental illness. In fact, up until 1973 homosexuality was a diagnosis in the DSM which is our statistical manual of mental disorders for psychiatry and mental health fields. And in that same year that that diagnosis was taken out, diagnoses related to gender identity were put in. So to this day, there really isn't a way for trans people to access care, life saving, life affirming healthcare, without having a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. So this makes it tricky because it makes it so that people assume that trans people or queer people all have mental illness.

Dr. Sand Chang:
So just wanted to state that up front, and then to get back to your question, we do know that rates of mental health concerns are higher for queer and/or trans people, and this isn't because anyone who has a queer or trans identity has some kind of intrinsic or inherent pathology, it's because living in a world that's homophobic and transphobic, not to mention racist, classist, and fat phobic creates a great deal of minority stress that leads to mental health concerns, and sometimes ways of coping or trying to survive that are both helpful and harmful at the same time.

Ellie Pike:
And I really appreciate what you said there, that we can't say there's a direct correlation between someone's identity and if there's a mental health issue and that it really has to do with so many confounding variables including culture, marginalization, stigma, trauma, that comes from that. And for those with trans and non-binary identities, what are some particular cultural challenges that they may face?

Dr. Sand Chang:
Gosh, I mean, our world is really set up in a way to support or provide access to those who are cisgender or not transgender. So when I say cisgender, I mean someone who maybe was given an M or F at birth and feels good about that. And so there are so many challenges, everything from interpersonal bias and violence, people asking you what are you, are you a boy or a girl? Giving you weird looks, being harassed in bathrooms and other public or gendered spaces, to facing housing and employment discrimination, especially if you don't have identity documents that match your gender, what your actual gender is not what your documentation says. And changing these identity documents is costly, time consuming and not accessible for so many. So there's a lot that depends on that. So there's just a plethora of barriers at every level that people face.

Dr. Sand Chang:
And then it's really just important to highlight that unfortunately, trans and non-binary folks face high rates of violence, interpersonal violence in society, most of which is directed at black and brown trans women. This is where the intersections of racism and anti-trans bias or transphobia intersect. So there's just so much out there, I could go on, but these are things that many people who are not trans never think about. When you're filling out an application and you have to check an M or an F on it, or if you're in a public space and you need to access a restroom you know that you'll be able to find something that is relatively safe for you.

Dr. Sand Chang:
You will be able to go on a dating app and specify your gender and not feel like you have to fit yourself into a box that isn't accurate for you. And then face people asking weird questions and intrusive questions about your body or your medical history. So there's just so much, I'll stop there, but there's so much that's unseen, so much unseen labor too that trans folks are doing all the time to be able to move and navigate through a world that isn't really set up for us.

Ellie Pike:
Thank you so much. And you're exactly right. We could have multiple podcasts on this topic and we probably should. And so thank you for helping us start this conversation. And then, is there any research available regarding eating disorders for those who have trans identities?

Dr. Sand Chang:
Yeah, so eating and body image concerns occur at really high rates in trans and non-binary communities. And a lot of the recent studies we have suggest that trans people may be up to eight times more likely than cisgender women to report an eating disorder or to have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, which we know a lot of people are underdiagnosed. So it's probably much higher than that. And reasons for engaging in disordered eating or exercise behaviors might be different for trans people as it is for cisgender people, as there's often significant overlap with gender dysphoria and a desire to control the body shape, size or appearance. So I often use the term weight and shape control behaviors rather than eating disorders when I'm talking about trans communities.

Dr. Sand Chang:
And one of the most important things I want to highlight is that for many trans people disordered eating or these behaviors is really about physical safety and being able to be accurately perceived in the world. So eating disorders can be a form of not just emotional but physical survival. And it can be difficult to feel a sense of agency as well in the face of medical gate keeping, fat phobia and binary gender ideals and this can lead a lot of folks to engage in problematic eating behaviors to seek control or to self soothe.

Ellie Pike:
I like that you've reframed that as weight and shape control behaviors because it is an adaptive mechanism and it's not meant to be disordered, it's meant to be for survival. So thank you for helping normalize some of those behaviors in some ways.

Dr. Sand Chang:
Totally. It might look the same on the outside but have a completely different motivation and context.

Ellie Pike:
Dr. Chang, is there any specific research available regarding suicide attempt rates for those who have trans identities?

Dr. Sand Chang:
Yes. On average, one out of two trans people have thought about suicide and a third have attempted suicide at least once. So those are pretty dreary statistics. Having other marginalized identities, for example being a person of color or being disabled can increase their odds of having negative life experiences and contribute to higher suicide attempt rates. And something important to name is that there's a growing body of research that indicates that for trans and non-binary people, especially youth, using the correct name and pronouns, meaning the one that they ask you to use for them, significantly reduces rates of suicide. So the take home is that respecting trans and or non-binary people's names and pronouns is an easy intervention that can save lives.

Ellie Pike:
Lor knows firsthand just how vital an affirming space can be in saving someone's life.

Lor Sabourin:
So when I was 17, I attempted suicide twice. It was right after experiencing sexual assault and also at a time when I had actually lost running and climbing because of a really serious hip injury. I was really in a place after my second attempt where I realized that I was going to have to make a choice. I was alive and I really had to decide whether that was something that I was going to be in this cycle of like in and out with, or whether I was going to just accept that that was the reality and whether I was going to lean into living a life that meant something to me. And so it was a really big choice point for me in my life and at the time actually had some of the best access to mental healthcare that I've had in my life.

Lor Sabourin:
I had an amazing queer therapist at the age of 17, who just came into my life at a really important time and helped me navigate that choice of saying do you want this? Because you need to really decide that you want this, living and choosing to live is a really active process. And that was something that I took with me out of that time was this is an active process of choosing every day that I want to be alive and that I want to live a life that means something to me.

Ellie Pike:
As Lor journeyed on from making the decision to actively live, they dedicated themselves to building an affirming community and searching for joy rather than perfection.

Lor Sabourin:
When I'm doing the activities that I love, I really think a lot about how is this creating a self care space for me? How am I approaching this in a way that is going to bring joy into my life rather than thinking about what it's doing for my performance or for other people? And so I think that's been really big just to continuously ask that question. Yesterday I was deciding to go out climbing and I had a lot of different thoughts in my brain about what was going to help me most in my performance this season, and I really slowed myself down and just said, "What's going to bring me joy today?"

Lor Sabourin:
And I do that with food too. I stop and I have all those thoughts going on that we do and I pause and I say, "What's going to bring me joy in this meal? What's going to make my body feel great and what's going to help me be in the correct relationship that I want to be in with myself and with the behaviors that I'm using and what's going to make this life feel really joyful for me and one that I want to be in?" And I ask myself that a lot and it really helps me set boundaries and it helps me reset at those times when it's hard to make the decision that I want to make.

Ellie Pike:
I think that one thing I'm taking away from this conversation is exactly that word, pause. Pause and reflect on who I want to be in my personal relationship with my mental health, my personal relationship with others, and I think that if we all take that moment to pause we can be much more thoughtful about our interactions with ourself and others and really create more safe and affirming environments for ourselves and others. So one question I have for you that I'd really love your input on, is how can those of us who don't hold queer identities help create that safe space for those who do?

Lor Sabourin:
That's such an important question and I think it really points to the work that needs to go into being able to affirm someone and just being able to believe someone's experience. And I think kind of pause in situations where your own discomfort or your own fear might interfere with you allowing someone to show up authentically. So there's really simple things we can do, like just making a space where someone can share their name and pronouns, creating a nonjudgmental space where we let people know that they're not going to be targeted with violence. And following up on that by preventing and addressing any situations of violence towards a person in the queer community.

Lor Sabourin:
Those are really important pieces, but specifically around mental health and eating disorder recovery, I think that it's important to be taking a systemic lens and to have some humility around understanding that part of the reason that the treatment options don't always work well for a queer person is because they're going right back into a world that is sending them the same messages about controlling their bodies and they're experiencing physical violence sometimes when they're not able to and they're still being rejected.

Lor Sabourin:
And so, you can say, "Oh, everything's going to be so great in recovery, you're going to have such a better life," and then they might let their guard down for a moment and experience really real physical violence or emotional or psychological violence. And that is such an important piece to consider is that when someone has taken this healthy coping skill and learned it as a way of protecting themselves, that they still need to feel protected. So I think it really goes beyond recovery spaces. We want those to be affirming, but then there needs to be advocacy happening outside of those spaces as well so that people can return to safer communities so that they can do their recovery in places where they are being affirmed for... because recovery requires us to be vulnerable and requires us to take off all those masks that we've been wearing.

Lor Sabourin:
And so we need to make sure that we're creating a world where when someone is letting their guard down for a moment that they're not going to be attacked from behind. And I think that's not just true for the queer community, it's true for any group that's being targeted by oppression, that we have to be thinking beyond just creating safe spaces in a recovery center or in a therapy office and thinking about what happens to them when they leave.

Ellie Pike:
I really very much agree. And for me on my personal journey to becoming more inclusive and a safe friend for folks, I know that there are times where I could be driven by fear like you said, where we have to really be mindful and be aware of what our fear is. And so personally, I can't speak for everyone, but I know personally when I don't know the right thing to say, I might avoid because I don't want to do harm. But in the grand scheme I'm doing harm by avoiding. And so, one of the questions that I would love to ask you is what are some things that are appropriate to ask and say to someone with a queer identity? What are some things we should absolutely stay away from and not ask? And I think that will, for many of us, help decrease some of our fear in those conversations just knowing what's appropriate and what's not appropriate.

Lor Sabourin:
Yeah. Oh, and that's so relatable that feeling of fear around touching something. I think that's so true in mental health spaces. We're often encouraged not to touch something, like maybe we're set told that's their gender identity but just don't talk about it. That exists in the background. But it also bleeds over into our relationships and our friendships, maybe we know someone has an eating disorder and we never... it's like something that we're just like, well, that's just what they do. And not that we should be walking up to someone and being like, "So I've observed this behavior and I'd like to address it with you." We don't do that, but it can prevent treating it as something that doesn't exist and completely ignoring it. Especially in parent-child relationships or in relationships where we do have the power to give someone the resources they need for recovery.

Lor Sabourin:
And that extends into other mental health issues too, if we choose not to talk about it because we're afraid of touching it, that can be really scary for people. And gender identity is looped into it even though it is a very separate thing from talking about a mental health issue, that sometimes we can treat someone as if like we can diminish someone's gender identity by not acknowledging it because we're afraid or not trying to understand for ourselves. Now, a lot of the things that we want to, thinking about what you can and can't say to a queer person or to a trans person, I think that's so individual for people.

Lor Sabourin:
But in general, some things to know, some things that are really common that can be really harmful are asking people's pronouns without sharing your own, or kind of feeling like if you've noticed that someone... a really common kind of like sweet microaggression that happens in a way is you're in a space, you've noticed that someone is queer presenting and you are like I'm going to master this one and you walk straight up to them and maybe you don't even ask their name. You're just like, "What pronouns do you use?" You're like I'm being so woke. And then it's actually really targeting. And what it does is it kind of shows I know that you're queer and I want to point it out. And so instead, you can just note you can use pronouns when you introduce yourself.

Lor Sabourin:
You can say, "Hey, I'm Ellie. I use she/her pronouns." And maybe don't even ask them if they want to share or not. If you get into a situation where you need to use their pronouns, you can just ask them real quick and in a casual way. So, "This is Ellie, oh wait, Ellie, what pronouns do you use? Oh, great. Yeah. She runs a podcast," or something like that where it's casual. A lot of times if you do offer your pronouns, someone will let you know, at least the pronouns they want for you to use for them that day. Using someone's name and being conscientious about using the name that someone shares with you rather than maybe the name that's on a roster, on a medical file.

Lor Sabourin:
If they share their name with you that's the name that they want you to use for them. So questions like that can be really affirming and asking people trans 101 questions is very rarely appropriate. If you can Google it, Google it. I think the other question that's often really pertinent to ask, especially if you're in relationship with someone, is around safety. If someone shared maybe a new name that they're using or pronouns that are new for them, you might ask, "Where is it appropriate for me to use these pronouns?" Or, "What do you want me to do if someone misgenders you in front of me?" And those kinds of questions can really help protect someone's safety and it can show them that you really care, that you want them to be safe in a space.

Lor Sabourin:
And then finally, maybe the last don't is unless you're a medical provider who needs that information to provide care, you don't need to ask a trans person about their body. And that's one of the things that comes up a lot is that trans people are often asked really invasive questions about their body in really casual conversation, that their bodies are considered open for public comment. And so even if it's something positive, even if you want to say like, "Wow, you really look like your gender now," or something like that, just staying away from commenting on a person's body and just letting them be in the space that they are in with their body, definitely not asking about medical procedures or medications, those things, just knowing that that's a microaggression that comes up a lot for trans people and being conscientious about that is important.

Ellie Pike:
Lor, thank you so much for some of these very practical tools. And in this learning process, I know there are times where I have misgendered someone, for example if their pronouns are they/them and I say she or he, and I have to stop myself. And for me, my response is, "I'm so sorry I misgendered you." And then I move on. Is this what you would recommend for others to acknowledge it, like pause, acknowledge and move on?

Lor Sabourin:
Yeah. It can actually depend. Sometimes apologizing can put extra emphasis and even kind of point out to the person that you really brought a lot of attention to it. And so what I'll often do, because I misgender people sometimes too, it's like we do that with people's names. First of all, the thing I try to do is slow down and pause so that I'm really paying attention to what pronouns I'm using for the person or how I'm referring to them. But then if I do misgender someone in conversation, sometimes it's appropriate to give a quick, "Sorry." I don't want to be like, "Oh my God, I'm so, so sorry." I might just be like, "Oh, sorry, they, right?" But more often what I'll do is I'll just make sure that I say they're pronoun multiple times in the next sentence so that it really does just... it's a slip, it's a slip of the tongue and they can see that I'm really affirming who they are.

Lor Sabourin:
And that can be it for a lot of trans people and you want to check with someone, but that can be how they prefer you to correct when they're misgendered by someone else too. So instead of, if Ellie you use he/him pronouns for someone who uses they/them pronouns, I wouldn't be like, "Ellie, they use they/them pronouns." I would just be like, "Oh yeah, they do have an awesome jacket on today." So we want to refrain from putting that responsibility on a trans person to accept that apology, to say like, "Oh, it's so okay. It happens all the time. Don't worry about it." And really just take the ownership on our own. And a lot of times it'll be in our head they must be so upset with me. We want to process that on our own.

Lor Sabourin:
And if it does seem like there's been a big rupture in the relationship, then you can go back and say, "I'm noticing a rupture. I do know that I misgendered you earlier and I just wanted to apologize and say that wasn't acceptable. I don't need you to accept that apology. I just want to let you know that I'm, going to be way more conscientious about that." We want to stay away from saying I'm working on it. A lot of times we'll say like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm really working hard on this. It's just not easy for me." And then we are making that person feel inconvenient. So just emphasizing like, "Oh yeah, that really wasn't acceptable for me to misgender you and I'm going to put more emphasis on that in the future. I'm going to slow down to make sure I get your pronouns correct."

Ellie Pike:
Thank you so much, Lor. I know that this is so nuanced in some ways, and yet personally I can speak for myself, it's my responsibility to learn. It's my responsibility to Google. It's my responsibility to own my growth process and make sure that what I do in my relationships is affirming of someone's identity. So thank you so much for sharing some of those pieces, because I certainly just learned something new in some of what you shared. So thank you, Lor. Thank you so much.

Ellie Pike:
Lor brought up so many worthwhile topics that could easily take up their own individual episodes. From their personal journey with advocacy and mental health to the systemic forces that influence mental health for people with queer identities, there's a lot to unpack. Here are my big takeaways. First, it's important to note that it can be really hard to live in a system that benefits your cisgender peers. There are resources available if you're negatively impacted by this. Here are a few that can be really helpful. First Trans Lifeline is a crisis hotline staffed by all trans operators. Next, the Trevor Project, a resource specifically for LGBTQ youth in crisis. And then there's the Fed Up Collective supporting and educating people with marginalized bodies who have eating disorders. Next check out the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network. And finally, the Gender Affirming Letter Access Network, the galap.org, the G-A-L-A-P.org.

Ellie Pike:
This group helps you find a free provider who will write letters to help you receive gender affirming healthcare. We'll link to those in our show notes. And second, if you're a cisgender person, supporting others is not a passive choice. Familiarize yourself with the resources I just mentioned and be aware how even well intentioned questions and actions can make people with queer identities feel singled out. Take the lead by stating your pronouns. Address any violence you see towards a person in the queer community and create spaces that reward vulnerability rather than singling it out. Finally, all of this can be really hard, but it is worth it. So give each other grace as we aim for a joyful existence rather than a picture perfect one.

Ellie Pike:
Mental Note Podcast is brought to you by Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Center. If you'd like to talk to a trained therapist to see if treatment is right for you, please call them at (877) 850-7199. If you're looking for a free support group, our sponsors offer a wide variety including a group specifically for people with queer identities or mental health needs. Check out eatingrecovery.com/support-groups or pathlightbh.com/support-groups. If you like our show, sign up for our eNewsletter and learn more about the people we interview at mentalnotepodcast.com. We'd also love it if you left us a review on iTunes. It helps others find our podcast. Mental Note is produced and hosted by me, Ellie Pike, and directed and edited by Sam Pike. Till next time.

Presented by

Ellie Pike, MA, LPC

Ellie Pike is the Sr. Manager of Alumni/Family/Community Outreach at ERC & Pathlight Behavioral Health Centers. Over the years, she creatively combined her passions for clinical work with…
Presented by

Lor Sabourin

Lor is a professional climber and mental performance coach who uses climbing as a resource to teach stress resilience and fear management. Lor is pursuing an MS in Counseling at Prescott College,…
Presented by

Sand Chang, PhD

Sand Chang, PhD PhD, (they/them) A Chinese American nonbinary Licensed Psychologist, DEI consultant, and somatic psychotherapist with more than 20 years of experience providing training and mental…