Book launch and BPS Guidelines day

October 3rd saw the launch of Sexuality & Gender for Mental Health Professionals: A Practical Guide as well as a day with 60 or so colleagues reflecting on the British Psychological Society guidelines on working with sexual and gender minorities.

There is a Storify of the live tweeting from the event here, including a summary of discussions and many helpful links to books and reports.

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DIVA article on non-binary gender

The authors of Sexuality & Gender both appeared in DIVA magazine last month (the September 2013 issue) in an article which Meg wrote on non-binary gender. DIVA kindly allowed us to reproduce the article here:

Beyond the binary: Gender outside of the two-box world

Meg Barker

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Last month, when I flew to the states, the flight attendants frequently referred to me as ‘Sir’ when they appeared behind me with the drinks trolley. Once I’d spoken they’d correct themselves, flustered, ‘I’m sorry Madam’. Neither word really feels like it refers to me.

Once out in America a waitress greeted me and my friends (a cis lass and a trans guy) as ‘ladies’: a term which none of us related to.

Later on it felt good to share stories about the confusion and discomfort we’d received from department store staff when shopping for clothes. The group I hung out with included transmasculine folk, butch women, and people who identified as non-binary.

This latter term is one which I increasingly relate to myself. So what is it like if neither of the accepted gender labels fit?

DIVA spoke to several non-binary people, as well as to professionals who work across the gender spectrum, to find out how it is to occupy a place outside the binary. The main message is that, like bisexual or gay people, non-binary people are ordinary folk who should be treated with the same respect as anybody, rather than as some kind of special case.

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The Bisexuality Report

The Bisexuality Report, the first of its kind in the UK, was published in 2012 by BiUK in collaboration with the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance and the Faculty of Health and Social Care at The Open University. It summarises national and international evidence and draws out recommendations for future bisexual inclusion in many different settings.

The report is part of Meg Barker’s research on the bisexual community, particularly in the UK. They said: “Government policy and equalities agendas generally consider lesbian, gay and bisexual issues together.

“However, bisexual people often face prejudice from within lesbian and gay groups as well as heterosexual communities. They are invisible – not represented in mainstream media, policy, and legislation or within lesbian and gay communities.

“Government and communities need to single out bisexual people as a separate group in order to address this equality gap.”

The Bisexuality Report: Bisexual inclusion in LGBT equality and diversity was written by Meg Barker; Rebecca Jones, Christina Richards, Helen Bowes-Catton, and Tracy Plowman – all of BiUK, with Jen Yockney, of Bi Community News; and Marcus Morgan, of The Bisexual Index.

Listen to Dr Meg Barker and Rebecca Jones, both lecturers at the OU, talk about the topics covered in The Bisexuality Report in this podcast.