Individual and Couples Counseling for the LGBTQ Community
While attending graduate school in San Francisco, I came to realize that I had a tremendous opportunity to “import sex positivity” from the abundantly diverse bay area, to my beloved State of Colorado.
Toward that end, I have surrounded myself with some of the best sex positive clinicians in the state. Our suite of offices in Cherry Creek is the ultimate in safe space for members of the LGBTQ community. We have four private offices shared by 8 sex positive clinicians. Each person in our office is either a member of LGBTQ community, or a close and active ally. Most of the clinicians in our suite are former students of mine or folks I have supervised/mentored. Even more importantly is the fact that each is a lovely human being that brings a warm loving energy to our office that we hope you will feel from the moment you walk in the door and pour yourself a cup of tea.
In addition to my Ph.D. in Human Sexuality and my clinical training in both individual and couples counseling, I have post-graduate certification in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Family Systems. Wherever you are in your journey related to sexual orientation or gender identity, we embrace everyone.
One of my specialties is providing both individual therapy and couples counseling to anyone who identifies as a sexual minority. I have specific eduction, training and experience in the following areas:
- Relationship counseling for members of the LGBTQ community
- Any matter related to sexual orientation or gender identity
- Coming out
- Recovery from reparative therapy, therapy trauma, or any other shaming therapeutic experience
- Healing from sexual, emotional, or physical abuse, including bullying
- Men and women’s sexual function and sexual health
- Queer and LGBTQ Teens (Age 15 and up for me however we have others in our suite who work with children and younger teens)
- Folks with Intersex Condition
Coming out can be complicated and dangerous and frightening. Coming out can also be beautiful and authentic and freeing! The coming out process is a very personal process that you control. Wherever you are in the coming out process, my goal is to give you a supportive and safe place where you can learn from those who have traveled before you.
I have been involved as a volunteer with The Gender Identity Center of Colorado (GIC) for the past decade. I ran my first therapy group at the GIC back in 2006 and have been involved with the GIC ever since then. Currently I serve on the Board of Trustees.
In addition to my work with clients, I have also done diversity training for corporations as well as the federal government. A number of years ago the Federal Government retained me as a consultant to help guide them through the first transgender client transitioning on the job at such a high level within the federal government. Truthfully, I look back on that experience with such warmth in my heart to have been given such a fabulous opportunity to help a trans woman transition on the job, and help her government co-workers learn about gender variance.
Gender non-conforming clients are safe and welcomed in our suite of offices and in our nine story office building as well. There are two gender neutral restrooms on the second floor, that the office building created in response to our request. Thank you Bridgett and Broe Real Estate Group! Bathrooms matter!
HUFFINGTON POST ARTICLE
This is an article I wrote following the tragic shootings in Orlando. When my flight took off from Puerto Rico to fly home after a conference, everything seemed normal. When I changed planes in Dallas, I heard the news of the horrific hate crime and found myself alone, crying in the airport. The Huffington Post article below was my response.
A Call for the End of Tolerance
June 29, 2016
By Neil Cannon, Ph.D., LMFT
On June 12th, 2016, a gunman walked into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and killed 49 people because of who they were. An immediate chorus of pleas from the media, religious leaders and politicians begged the nation for tolerance of the LGBT community.
With each impassioned plea for tolerance, I cringed.
What exactly is it, to “tolerate” something or someone? Our friends at Merriam-Webster say that to tolerate is to “allow something that is bad or unpleasant to exist.” So, every time someone asks us to “tolerate” the LGBT community, they’re really implying that there’s something wrong or distasteful about being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.
I have no doubt that calls for tolerance are well-intentioned. Soothing words in times of trouble and despair are difficult to come by. That said, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and these calls for tolerance send exactly the wrong message to a population already struggling to understand and accept the unfamiliar.
If “tolerance” is the wrong message, then what’s the right message? The answer lies in our willingness to understand and embrace all sexual orientations and gender identities. We desperately need a cultural sea-change that fosters a society where we honor, respect and celebrate our differences, instead of merely “tolerating” each other.
Why, then, is this so very hard for us as a nation? Human beings find comfort in the familiar. Members of the LGBT community are, by definition, sexual minorities. A typical cisgendered heterosexual, even if well-intentioned and kind hearted, will find difficulty in attempts to relate to the life experience of a sexual minority. My hope, as I write and as you read, is to offer insight and context for well meaning people and help to shine a spotlight on the difference that a few simple words can make.
Let’s begin this walk in the shoes of a sexual minority. According to the FBI, more than 20% of all hate crimes are committed against members of the LGBT community, a rate almost double the bias motivation for hate crimes driven by ethnicity. Can you imagine having to fear for your personal safety on a daily basis because of who you are? How do you think this would affect your ability to live, to work and to love? These contemplations can begin to help us understand why those who identify as a sexual minority tend to feel a heightened need for continual vigilance around personal safety. As tragically proven in Orlando, being safe is not a given. Sadly, even in this day and age, the rainbow colors remain a target for a few ignorant and hateful people.
For sexual minorities, feeling different often starts in childhood. According to Dr. Catherine Dukes, a Vice President with Planned Parenthood, “Middle school children hear one anti-gay remark every 14 minutes while they are in school.” This constant negativity is not without consequence. Being a sexual minority can be so painful that lesbian and gay youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts, and half of all transgender youth have attempted suicide before the age of 20. This unseen social genocide makes clear that the concept of tolerance for the LGBT community is not only flawed, but deadly.
Once a young person realizes they are sexually attracted to members of the same sex, or begins to identify as a gender different than the one assigned to them at birth, their sexual minority status starts to play a critical role in shaping their sense of self. If a child hears negative comments or jokes related to their emerging sexual orientation or gender identity, the child internalizes a belief that, “I’m not okay, something is wrong with me, and it’s not safe to let anyone find out.” These seemingly innocuous external messages can draw a happy, carefree child to a lifetime of secrets, stigma and shame. Words matter.
Fortunately, this is not an intractable problem, and each of us can make a difference starting today. Changing our words and phraseology is within our control and it doesn’t cost one penny. It won’t cost news editors or speech writers one red cent to use the word “embrace” instead of “tolerate.”
So, let’s stop the tolerance. Stop implying that we’re grudgingly tolerating an unpleasant odor, holding our breath until the moment passes. We don’t want to merely tolerate our LGBT brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and co-workers and neighbors. We want to fully and joyously embrace the rainbow of diversity. If we are mindful of the words we choose, we can each make a difference starting now. Let’s actively embrace diversity and make tolerance a thing of the past.