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ACA 2018 Conference & Expo Sessions

133 - Affirming Counseling Practice with Queer People of Color: From Margins to Center

Apr 27, 2018 11:00am ‐ Apr 27, 2018 12:00pm


Within the diverse LGBTQ+ community, queer people of color (QPOC) represent a variety of gender, affectional and cultural identities and experiences. Intersectionality offers a unique lens for understanding multiple minority identities, cultural strengths and resilience. Using intersectionality as a conceptual framework, the presenters will review current research, share personal and professional reflections from the field and identify culturally relevant affirming counseling practices with QPOC.

The American Counseling Association Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (Ratts, Singh, Nassar-McMillan, Butler, & McCullough, 2015) highlight the importance of cultural competency with diverse populations. Despite the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Queer-identified (LGBTQ+) community, Queer scholarship often expresses a culturally encapsulated view, neglecting the cultural variation of minoritized populations within the Queer community. The research suggests there are many unique dynamics for Queer people of Color, including cultural and Queer identity, level of outness, community acceptance and marginalization, spirituality, racism outside and within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as intimate partner and family of origin issues (Kuper, Coleman, & Mustanski, 2013; Moradi, DeBlaere, & Huang, 2010; Moradi, Wiseman, DeBlaere, Goodman, Sarkees, Brewster, & Huang, 2010). With a growing research base (Harper, Jenewall, & Zea, 2004; Huang, Brewster, Moradi, Goodman, Wiseman, & Martin, 2010; Meyer, 2010), counseling and psychology are exploring the needs and assets of Queer people of Color to provide culturally competent affirmative counseling. Intersectionality provides a unique framework for counseling practice with Queer people of Color by addressing multiple and intersecting forms of oppression (Smith & Shin, 2015) and individual and relational resilience (Meyer, 2010; Singh, 2013). Through the lens of wellness, counselors are well poised to facilitate culturally responsive affirming counseling practice by highlighting resilience, emphasizing cultural strengths, and applying intersectional approaches to counseling conceptualization and practice (Bowleg, 2013; Chang & Singh, 2016; Singh, 2013). Using lecture, group discussion, case examples as well as personal and professional experiences, the presenters will: • Review current research and theory of LGBTQ+ affirming counseling practice. • Identify literature-based Queer people of Color counseling issues as well as cultural strengths and resilience. • Provide a theoretical overview of intersectionality and its application to Queer people of Color. • Describe and apply practical counseling strategies that emphasize cultural strengths, wellness, and resilience of Queer people of Color.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe intersectionality as a framework for understanding the diverse experiences of Queer people of Color.
  • Identify, assess and emphasize cultural strengths and resilience with Queer people of Color in counseling practice.
  • Implement culturally competent affirmative counseling knowledge and skills in counseling practice.


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