Intersectional Relational: Inquiring into Gender Beyond the Binary

As part of our intersectional relational project, we have invited Meg-John Barker and Ellis Johnson to reflect on the relational as we explore gender beyond the binary and its racialised construction.

Date & time: Sunday July 4th 2021 3-6pm on Zoom

Reserve your place here: ☞ Tickets

Meg-John Barker and Ellis Johnson will be in dialogue with each other and exec members Jane Czyzselska and Robert Downes, reflecting on therapeutic thought and practice in relation to gender beyond the binary and its intersections drawing from a wide range of ideas and experience.

We invite you to engage with the resources below to inform your own inquiry and investigation.

The Speakers:

Meg-John Barker (they/them pronouns) is the author of a number of popular books on sex, gender, and relationships, including graphic guides to Queer, Gender, and Sexuality (with Jules Scheele), How To Understand Your Gender and Sexuality, Hell Yeah Self Care, and Life Isn’t Binary (with Alex Iantaffi), Enjoy Sex (How, When, and IF You Want To) (with Justin Hancock), Rewriting the Rules and The Psychology of Sex. They blog and publish zines, comics and podcasts via, and support other creatives around queer and therapeutic writing.

Meg-John Barker was an academic psychologist and UKCP accredited therapist for many years before focusing on writing full time. They are an internationally recognised expert on gender, sexual, and relationship diversity (GSRD) and therapy, with numerous academic books and papers on the topics of bisexuality, open non-monogamy, sadomasochism, non-binary gender, and Buddhist mindfulness. They co-founded the journal Psychology & Sexuality and the activist-research organisation BiUK, through which they published The Bisexuality Report. They have advised many organisations, therapeutic bodies, and governmental departments on matters relating to gender, sexual, and relationship diversity (GSRD) including writing the BACP document on the topic. Meg John Barker’s publications, blog and website can be found: here

Ellis Johnson (he/him pronouns) is a Psychodynamic Psychotherapeutic Counsellor working in private practice, mainy alongside trans, queer and questioning people. He believes that being open about his identity as a queer, trans man of colour is helpful to the therapeutic process. 

Ellis delivers training in trans awareness for counsellors and to wider organisations around the country, alongside offering training in anti-racism and inclusion with regard to supporting trans people of colour. In the past he has delivered counselling for an NHS Wellbeing service, and worked with students in a university counselling service. He spent several years working in the voluntary sector as a mental health advocate, trainer and group facilitator for LGBTQ people. Ellis Johnson’s website can be found: ☞ here

Suggested reading, listening, viewing materials:

The gender chapter from ‘Life Isn’t Binary’ by Alex Iantaffi,  Meg-John Barker

Gender Trauma : Healing Cultural, Social, and Historical Gendered Trauma by Alex Iantaffi

‘How to Understand Your Gender’ by Alex Iantaffi and Meg John Barker

Good Practice across the Counselling Professions 001 Gender, Sexual, and Relationship Diversity (GSRD) by Dr Meg-John Barker

Further suggestions:

Paper: Adult Attachment and Transgender Identity in the Italian Context: Clinical Implications and Suggestions for Further Research. Anna Lisa Amodeo, Roberto Vitelli, Cristiano Scandurra, Simona Picariello, and Paolo Valerio

Paper: Melancholy Gender-Refused Identification. Judith Butler.

Paper from Psychoanalytic Dialogues: Virginia Goldner Ph.D. (1991) Toward a critical relational theory of gender, Psychoanalytic Dialogues,1:3, 249-272

An alternative, “decentered”; gender paradigm is then proposed, which conceives of gender as a “necessary fiction”; that is used for magical ends in the psyche, the family, and the culture. From this perspective, gender identity is seen as a problem as well as a solution, a defensive inhibition as well as an accomplishment. It is suggested that as a goal for analytic treatment, the ability to tolerate the ambiguity and instability of gender categories is more appropriate than the goal of “achieving”; a single, pure, sex‐appropriate view of oneself.

Book: The Emergence of Trans Cultures, Politics and Everyday Lives
Edited By Ruth Pearce, Igi Moon, Kat Gupta, Deborah Lynn Steinberg

Documentary: Disclosure Trans Lives on Screen is a 2020 American documentary film directed and produced by Sam Feder. The film follows an in-depth look at Hollywood’s depiction of transgender people and the impact of their stories on transgender lives and American culture. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2020. It was released on Netflix on June 19, 2020.

Poetry: Max Binder and Mo Crist – “Real Boy/Real Girl”.

TEDX talk: Amrou Al-Kadhi author of My Life As A Unicorn and a non-binary queer British-Iraqi drag queen.

Schooling: Alok V Menon explains the difference between gender non binary and gender non-conforming.

Video: What It’s Like To Be Intersex?

Video: Intersex Inclusion and Representation with Diva columnist Valentino Vecchietti.

Presentation from 10 years ago: Dr. Igi Moon

Paper: The Gentle Violence of Therapists: Misrecognition and Dis‐location of the Other by Igi Moon

Igi Moon is the Chair of the MoU Coalition Against Conversion Therapy.  They are a Senior Lecturer of Counselling Psychology at Roehampton University and they also lecture at Warwick University, Sociology. They have  designed and are now delivering ‘Beyond the Binary: Trans/Forming gender’ which is the first module of its kind in sociology in the UK and they are putting together a textbook for future reference.

They have edited 3 books: ‘Feeling Queer or Queer Feelings? Radical Approaches to Counselling Sex, Sexualities and Genders’; ‘Counselling Ideologies: Queer Challenges to Heteronormativity’ and ‘The Emergence of Trans: Cultures, Politics and Everyday Life’. They are interested in the way therapeutic knowledge and affect is shaped through historical, cultural, political and colonialist tropes. What makes a liveable life?