This Deep Dish will examine the following paradoxes related to creating and maintaining the LGBTQIA+ Living Out Loud Health and Wellness Center in Tucson, within the current socioeconomic environment :
1. Health disparities among LGBTQIA+ individuals are significantly higher than their heterosexual and cisgender/gender normative counterparts, yet systems of care cause further harm to LGBTQIA+ individuals via micro- and macro-aggressions and insults –significantly more so for LGBTQIA+ people of color.
2. Despite the systems of oppression, and negative, damaging, and traumatizing experiences with healthcare and mental health professionals, LGBTQIA+ individuals continue to seek services and treatment out of necessity and by choice.The need for health and wellness services for the LGBTQIA+ communities is especially necessary for members of intersecting and marginalized identities: queer and trans people of color; homeless youth; diversely abled queer and trans folk; and, undocumented immigrants.
3: Providing services within a space that is affirming within a system that has been historically stigmatizing creates services that focus on both clinical and social liberation. In order for us to provide service, we, the providers, must acknowledge, address, advocate, and prevent social injustices.
4. Health and wellness are social justice issues within LGBTQIA+ communities.
5. In oppressive systems, we must not become the oppressor in our work with LGBTQIA+ individuals while also speaking oppressive clinical languages.
Chad Mosher, Ph.D. is the program coordinator for Living Out Loud. Living Out Loud is an integrated health and wellness center, supporting physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health need of the LGBTQIA+ communities. He is also an adjunct instructor for the University of Arizona Counseling Program, and one of the founding members of the Arizona Association for LGBTQ+ Issues in Counseling. He received his doctorate in counseling psychology from The University of Memphis, with an emphasis in multiculturalism, gender and sexuality. He sings with Desert Voices, and is still trying to find that queer punk rock band that will accept his cello playing.