About this workshop:
‘Coming out’ is a common turn of phrase used to metaphorically describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people’s disclosure of their sexual orientation or gendered and sexual identity. However, more than just an act of self-disclosure, coming out is a deeply personal process marking an important psychological milestone through which LGBTIQ people grapple with understanding and, hopefully, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation and identity. However, in a society which strongly enforces heteronormative and cisgendered codes of thinking, feeling, and behaving regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, most (if not all) LGBTIQ people contend with the prospect or reality of shame, rejection, and violence as they navigate coming out. It is for this reason that the psychotherapeutic spaces and services offered by psychologists, specifically, as well as mental healthcare and allied professionals, more broadly, provide a vital opportunity for LGBTIQ people to explore and affirm their gendered and sexual sense of self. This workshop aims to provide a capacity-building primer to psychology professionals about LGBTIQ peoples coming out. The workshop will: (1) contextualize the process of coming out within frameworks for understanding LGBTIQ identity development; (2) situate coming out within the South African context and consider how the cleavages of race and the specificities of culture, class, and language shape coming out; (3) examine how women/womxn’s gendered status and subjectivity informs their coming out experience; (4) reflect on trans perspectives of coming out; (5) highlight the Psychological Society of South Africa’s Practice Guidelines for Psychology Professionals Working with Sexually and Gender-Diverse People, as a resource to guide best therapeutic practice; and (6) offer practical tips to psychology professionals when supporting LGBTIQ people through their coming out. In doing so, the workshop will weave together personal reflections and professional guidance with the aim of enriching and deepening the knowledge and skills that psychology professionals bring to their therapeutic work with LGBTIQ people through their coming out. The workshop will be of interest to psychology professionals engaged in therapeutic practice as well as healthcare professionals, researchers, and allies interested in better understanding the coming out process for LGBTIQ people.
PsySSA Workshop Series 2023: Workshop 1: Coming out: Personal reflections and professional guidance for psychology professionals
Meet our Presenters
Jarred Martin, PhD, is an early-career researcher, senior lecturer, and registered Clinical Psychologist based in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pretoria (UP), South Africa. At UP, he teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, manages the postgraduate degree programme in Clinical Psychology, and supervises postgraduate student research in critical studies of gender/s and sex/uality/ies. His research and writing concentrates on critical studies of bodies, gender/s, and sex/uality/ies, with a growing focus on sex-positive studies of erotic subjectivity, sexual practice, and queer intimacy in communities of kink. In addition to this, he sits on the Executive Committee for the Sexuality and Gender Division of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA).
Nkanyiso Madlala is a registered Clinical psychologist at the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). Nkanyiso is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of South Africa focusing on the area of sexuality and gender diversity specifically in the carceral population. Nkanyiso is a committee member of the LGBTQI+ Africa Human Rights project, an executive member of the Sexuality and Gender Division of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA), and a member of the Professional Association for Transgender Health South Africa (PATHSA). He was involved in the development of the gender affirming health care guidelines by the South African HIV Clinicians society. A committee member for the core committee currently reviewing and revising the Psychology procedures manual for psychological services in the DCS. In addition, he has worked at spearheading training workshops for DCS professionals (Gauteng region) and correctional staff. The workshops are geared towards sensitizing correctional staff of the LGBTQ+ community in correctional facilities and their needs, and equipping DCS staff with basic tools and skills needed to work with the LGBTQ+ community.
Vickashnee Nair is a registered Counselling Psychologist in private practice based in Bryanston. While working at a children’s home, providing therapeutic services, she is also employed as a consultant psychologist at a medico-legal and evaluation company working in assessments. She was an Executive Member of the Southern African Sexual Health Association (SASHA). Her education includes a Masters in Community Based Counselling Psychology through the University of Witwatersrand. Her passions include LGBTQ+ issues, social justice, advocacy, and community psychology.
Chris McLachlan is the Chairperson of the Sexuality and Gender Division of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) and the Professional Association of Transgender Health, South Africa (PATHSA). Chris also serves as a World Professional Association in Transgender Health’s board member, represents South Africa on the International Psychology Network and an advisory board member of Wits Reproductive Health Institute trans clinics. Chris has been involved in the sexually and gender diverse field since 1992 and was one of the first registered marriage officers in South Africa under the Civil Union Act. Chris is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of South Africa and a registered Clinical Psychologist working at a Thuthuzela Care Centre (rape crises centre) in KwaZulu-Natal. He also runs a small private practice focusing primarily on members of the LGBTQI+ community. Chris is also a trainer/lecturer in the field of sexuality and gender diversity and has published various articles. They had the privilege to be part of the core group that developed PsySSA’s guidelines on sexual and gender diversity. Chris identifies as genderqueer, trans masculine and lives in a beautiful village with his children in the Midlands, KwaZulu-Natal.
Juan Nel, DLitt et Phil, is a registered Clinical and Research Psychologist, Research Professor of Psychology at the University of South Africa (UNISA) and an NRF-rated researcher with recognised expertise in LGBT+ mental health and well-being, hate crimes and victim empowerment and support, more generally. Juan is a former President of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) (2014-2015), former member of its Council, and founder and Deputy Chair of the PsySSA Sexuality and Gender Division. He, furthermore, represents PsySSA on (inter)national structures in fields related to his research towards furthering PsySSA’s profile as a Learned Society. In this regard, most noteworthy are his roles as i) leader of the research sub-committee of the South African Hate Crimes Working Group; ii) co-representative on the International Psychology Network for LGBTI Issues (IPsyNet); and iii) leader of the PsySSA African LGBT+ Human Rights project aimed promoting well-being and human rights for LGBT+ persons in Africa, and from which the PsySSA Practice Guidelines for Psychology Professionals Working with Sexually and Gender-Diverse People emanate. He is passionate about equality and human rights, and strengthening healthcare provision through evidence-informed and sustainable community-based services, and the development of a body of knowledge towards policy reform.
Pierre Brouard is currently the Acting Director of the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G) at the University of Pretoria (UP) and a registered Clinical Psychologist, with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, obtained in 1993 from the University of the Witwatersrand. He has worked in HIV since the mid 1980’s (initially as a volunteer) and at the Centre since 2001. His interests and work include sexualities, gender, human rights, stigma, governance, leadership, accountability, transformation, diversity and social justice. At UP he sat on a committee which drafted an Anti-Discrimination Policy, and contributed to and taught on a number of short courses and modules, mostly on sexualities, gender and HIV, including short courses on Gender Equality and Sexual Minority Rights. He was instrumental in developing a workshop on sexual harassment which has been rolled out over the last 5 years at the university and helped to develop a protocol for the university to meet the needs of trans and gender diverse students and staff. In addition to this, he is an Executive Committee Member for the Sexuality and Gender Division of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA).