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Conference Advances LGBTQIA+ Health and Wellness

Mental Health
Author name: Lee Health

LGTBQIA+ Graphic

This June, millions of us will attend pride parades, picnics, parties, concerts, and other events to celebrate National LGBTQIA+ Pride Month.

Originally a yearly observation to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in support of equal justice and opportunity for LBGTQ Americans, the month also recognizes the impact of LGBTQ individuals on society locally, nationally, and internationally.

As part of that celebration, on June 3, the Healthy Lee Behavioral Health Coalition will host a conference for healthcare practitioners in our community. The event, Pride, Not Prejudice, Developing LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Practices and Care, aims to encourage and train mental health clinicians and other healthcare professionals interested in caring for the LGBTQIA+ community, according to licensed clinical social worker Adam Larivee.

“The conference kicks off what we intend as a yearly meeting to encourage and train mental health professionals and clinicians who work with or are interested in working with the LGBTQIA+ community,” says Adam, who will also present at the half-day conference. “One of our goals is to cultivate best practices, increase access to care, and address the health inequities in this population.”

More specifically, Adam says, the conference will expose behavioral healthcare providers and others to the cultural dynamics of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“Culture shapes our attitudes. It is what determines how we perceive the world. We all have a culture, even within our family unit,” he says. ”The LGBTQIA+ community has its own culture, too. For healthcare professionals who are unfamiliar with this specific patient population, the conference is designed to provide learning and education. Despite our country’s progress toward granting equal rights to those who identify as LGBTQ+, this community continues to experience worse health outcomes and reduced access to care compared to heterosexual and cisgender people.”

The conference is free. Members of Southwest Florida’s community are encouraged to attend.

“Our goal is to unite, empower and celebrate our diverse LGBTQIA+ community by providing a safe and welcoming space for education, partnerships and services which advance everyone’s collective health, wellness, and success, regardless of how they identify,” Adam says.

Six speakers will present on a variety of topics, including keynote speaker Carol Clark, Ph.D. Board-certified both as a sex therapist and transgender care therapist. Dr. Clark is a senior instructor at the International Institute of Clinical Sexology, Sex Therapy Training Institute, and the Addictions Therapy Training Institute.

Upon completion of the conference and request, a certificate of attendance will be offered.

Topics and presenters

  • Keynote speaker - You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know:  Carol Clark, Ph.D, LMHC, CAP
  • Event Moderator: Alyssa Lemay
  • LGBTQIA History & Culture: Adam Larivee, LCSW, MSW
  • Medical/Science Standards of Care: Omar Rieche, M.D.
  • LGBTQIA Spirituality: Rev. CJ McGregor, M. Div.
  • The Double Closet:  Domestic Violence in the LGBTQIA+ Community: Laura Streyffeler, Ph.D, LMHC, CAP, BETCS, CCDVC, QS
  • Trans Health and Primary Trans Care: Frances Haas, MSN, AGPCNP, APRN

When and where

Fri., June 3, 2022
8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
The Collaboratory
2031 Jackson St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
Continental breakfast and lunch will be served.
Event fee: FREE
RSVP by May 27, 2022

For more information, contact Lauren.Walker@leehealth.org

LGBT and LGBTQIA+ are acronyms that describe the community of people who don’t identify as heterosexual, straight, or cisgender. Many sources refer to the LGBTQIA+ community, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual. Intersex people are not the same as transgender people, which is why the “T” and the “I” are both included in LGBTQIA+. The use of appropriate terminology and naming helps ensures an accurate and inclusive representation of people’s diverse identities.

Adam adds a final note: “Ultimately, we wish to empower people to be their authentic selves, to enable healthcare practitioners to actively support their LGBTQIA+ patients and create a positive culture to collaborate resulting in a sustainable change for queer identities.”