Letter Writing: Advocacy and Ally-ship with Trans/Non-binary Communities

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More therapists are being asked to support clients moving through a gender transition that requires writing letters for medical treatment. This brings up questions and feelings for clinicians including fears of being sued, not knowing enough medically, or not understanding their role or requirements. Despite good intentions, the clinical field has been fraught with discriminatory gate-keeping, de-humanizing, and dis-empowering treatment when accessing letters. We offer a model that is co-created and re-centers self-efficacy, including history, clinical considerations, and example letters.

Learning objectives

● Discuss the DSM criteria and historical frameworks of writing letters from the medical standards of care (WPATH) ● Identify three ways therapists can serve as partners and allies with trans/non-binary communities through letter writing advocacy ● Develop the knowledge to complete a letter that meets the requirements for insurance and medical providers ● Explore clinical implications when writing letters and consider how to bring this awareness into the clinical relationships

About the presenters

Alison Gerig, LCSW

Alison Gerig has worked with LGBT communities since 1997 – first at Callen-Lorde Health Center and then at Mazzoni Center. As the executive director of Therapy Center of Philadelphia, she provided the vision to expand its mission to serve trans/non-binary communities through a lens of social justice. She supports leaders and organizations around culture change work and maintains a private practice. Alison (she/her pronouns)identifies as a white, cis-gender queer woman. She strives to attend to all of these intersecting locations in her clinical and organizational work.

Lane DiFlavis

Lane identifies as a white, queer, transmasculine, and feminist clinician who believes that healing is a radical act of social justice. Lane maintains a strong commitment to working with those who have experienced gender and sexuality based oppression both in his private practice and as a clinical supervisor and psychotherapist at Therapy Center of Philadelphia--offering accessible therapy to women and the trans* community. Lane is honored by the opportunity to be able to present again at this year’s Trans Wellness Conference.