Queer Culture For Straight Therapists


When working with LGBTQIA+, and relationship-diverse clients, it’s not uncommon for therapists who work hard to be inclusive, affirming, and person-centered to still feel inadequate in the therapy room. This can be especially true for therapists who identify in the heterosexual-cisgender-monogamous range. Consider the title of this program: Is it okay to use the word queer as a general term? Are we still calling hetero people straight?  Are these identifiers PC, marginalizing, or harmful?

When our therapists started asking more questions and requesting more training, we knew it would take more than one person to address these topics—it would require a diverse panel. This training provides a safe place for all clinicians and professionals in the helping field to learn from and ask questions of professionals identifying with various intersections on the Gender, Sex/Sexuality, and Relationship Diversity (GSRD) spectrum. Intersections represented on our panel include educators, therapists, psychologists, gay, lesbian, bisexual, male, female, transgender, nonbinary, married, monogamous, polyamorous, and kinky. Before the training, participants will receive a questionnaire to submit questions or request special topics to be addressed during the panel discussion.

Pricing Options
Your Email Address

Queer Culture Panel

Tamara Abousleman, Ph.D.
Tamara (she/her) is a Licensed Psychologist who combines individual and group therapy with adults in an outpatient clinic. Her unique perspective at work and in her personal life is informed by being a multiracial, multicultural feminist therapist and queer woman in a same-sex marriage.

Ari Ryan Sarafian, MS
Ari is a special education administrator with the New York City Department of Education. Having earned two advanced degrees from Hunter College of the City University of New York’s School of Education, Ari specializes in providing education from a trauma-informed lens for children and the adults he supervises. A lifelong member of the Queer Community, Ari advocates for inclusive educational practices and trains staff members to be AAA (advocates, allies, and accomplices) for their Queer students.

Adrien Lawyer, Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico 
Adrian co-founded TGRCNM in 2008 with Zane Stephens to be a clearinghouse of service provision, education, and advocacy for the transgender community in New Mexico. He has facilitated over 3,500 Transgender Cultural Fluency training sessions throughout New Mexico, including training every correctional facility in the state, numerous district attorney offices, police departments, public and private schools, healthcare and social service facilities, and countless businesses, nonprofits, and other entities. Adrien has led successful advocacy efforts for model transgender student policies, gender-neutral restrooms, trans inclusion in social service facilities, statewide bullying prevention, and updating the law that governs birth certificate gender marker change.

On a national level, Adrien presents and consults on many issues impacting the trans community. He has been recognized with the Jose Sarria Into the Light Award for community service and the Vincent R. Johnson Model of Hope Award for LGBTQ role models. In 2019, Adrien won the Advocacy In Action (AIA) Professional Innovation in Victim Services Award presented by the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission (CVRC). Adrien is a trans man and father. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar with A Band Named Sue.

Brett Aretz-Sarafian, MS
Brett is a gay military brat who has spent a lifetime on the move. With a passion for lifelong learning and a belief in humans helping humans, Brett began their career as a high school math and physics teacher in NYC, where they taught for 10 years. After relocating to Los Angeles with their throuple, Brett turned their attention to creating iOS apps that enhance the human experience. Their mission is to empower people to conquer their inner demons and live their best lives. Beyond the tech world, Brett spends their time collecting stories and ideas that inspire positive change and elevate the art of humaning.

Vincent “V” Espinoza, LMSW
Vincent “V” Espinoza (he/they) is a nonbinary (maverique-enboy) pansexual individual who was born and raised in New Mexico. He began his career in clinical social work and therapy in 2015 and has had amazing opportunities of providing mental health care in a multitude of settings including a battered adults’ shelter, an outpatient methadone clinic, an inpatient subacute care rehab, and in private practice. In addition. to being a therapist, Vincent has nearly 20 years of experience working for the federal judiciary, the New Mexico Judicial Branch, and the Judiciary of Hawai’i. His own personal experiences of being multicultural, nonbinary, pansexual, and romantically diverse have strongly informed his clinical work with adolescents and adults exploring and developing their gender and sexual identities, individuals with special sexual interests, and individuals and couples questioning and pursuing diversity in their marriages and partnerships.

Lori Ortiz, LPCC
Lori (she/her) is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who specializes in sexual health and wellness. For six years, she has focused on Multisystemic Therapy, a family and community-based program specializing in Problem Sexual Behavior (MST-PSB). Lori’s compassionate approach helps identify strengths and areas for growth, encouraging straightforward steps toward lasting change. She is pursuing certification in sex therapy and provides a safe space for clients to explore their identity and sexuality challenges. Her unique perspective is informed by being a gay woman in a same-sex marriage.

Some resources to start you off:

What are Lavender Linguistics?

Where did the term straight come from?