ETHICS: Supporting Gender-Expansive Clients

“Bodywork can be very clinical, and as many of us know, even skilled medical professionals lack the training to work with bodies that don’t fit social norms. Often, queer and trans folk don’t think we deserve to care for ourselves and heal, mainly because there hasn’t always been spaces for us to do that. Structural oppression makes us ill both mentally and physically, and many of us go ages without care for our bodies, and end up doing more damage. Our own bodies can be such a huge source of trauma so it’s nice to have people who are committed to being intentionally welcoming and inclusive.”

                                                        -Mercedez, Massage Therapist (quoted by Gabriel Joffe)

Gender-expansive is an umbrella term used for individuals who broaden their own culture’s commonly held definitions of gender, including expectations for its expression, identities, roles, and/or other perceived gender norms. Gender-expansive individuals include those with transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary identities, as well as those whose gender in some way is seen to be stretching society’s notions of gender.

Massage therapists are in a unique position to offer transformative and affirming care that can help counteract the physical effects of living in a climate that often keeps our bodies locked in trauma response.

In this 4-hour class, we will:

    • explore our assumptions, beliefs, ethics, and practices in order to strengthen and deepen the quality of our work with gender-expansive clients;
    • identify concrete practices to create safer and more authentically welcoming spaces for gender-expansive clients;
    • come to a common understanding of language and terms currently used within LGBTQ communities;
    • familiarize ourselves with local and national resources and supports for gender-expansive clients; and
  • learn self-care techniques especially beneficial for bodies experiencing trauma, transition, and transformation.

Favor Ellis, MA, LMT #9207   she/her pronouns
Favor has spent the last twenty-five years holding space for, working with, and counseling homeless, runaway, and street-dependent young people, queers, trans & nonbinary & gender expansive folks, and college students. Her lens is healing-centered, intersectional, intuitive, and empathic. She holds a Master’s degree in Transformative Language Arts, Imaginal Psychology, and Embodiment Studies. What this means is that she engages metaphor, dreams, and vulnerability, and is always exploring the ways we can live more soulful and embodied lives. She is especially curious about stories of transition: birth, death, grief, loss, identity, relationship, and growth, and the ways our bodies interact with these stories. She’s a Holding Space coach and facilitator, a DONA-trained birth doula, and a Humanist chaplain & celebrant. She is currently studying at the Santa Fe School of Massage.

I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better. -Maya Angelou


ETHICS: Supporting Gender-Expansive Clients 7/13
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