Liberation Approaches in LGBTQ Behavioral Health and The Crossroads of Racial and Sexual/Gender Identity
Randall Leonard, LCSW-C, and Kate Bishop, MSSA
April 5, 2023, 1:00pm-3:00pm EST
A Liberation-focused practice seeks to meet marginalized people where they are, within their cultural, historical, and community contexts, and to support clients in healing from the impacts of white supremacy, homophobia, gender binary rigidity, and other systems of dominance and oppression. We know that substance over-use is a common tool used by marginalized community members to find relief from the continual soul-scraping of living with degrading experiences, microaggressions, exploitation, intergenerational trauma, and colonial legacies. Effective liberation prevention and treatment approaches are those that pull back from individual choices and focus on the underlying systems that create intolerable conditions for living. These frameworks engage structural and institutional analysis, including a critical look at the ways behavioral health care systems may act as a tool to reinforce systemic inequity, and offer community-nested, strengths-based, empowerment-focused healing approaches.
- Locate substance use as an adaptive tool for managing minority stress.
- Apply a liberation framework to creative outreach strategies and prevention messaging.
- Examine the role of behavioral health providers and systems in maintaining oppressive care structures and apply new models to substance use treatment.
- Develop a liberation framework analysis of current treatment options available to BIPOC LGBTQ people.
Randall Leonard, LCSW-C, is a licensed clinical social worker who has specialized in the care of LGBTQ individuals for four years. They currently serve as a Staff Therapist at the Center for LGBTQ Health Equity, a Center of Excellence of Chase Brexton Health Care, providing individual therapy as well as assessments for gender-affirming surgery. They also facilitate “Identity Talk”, a group for trans and gender-diverse people of color to process intersectionality between culture and gender.
Before joining the Chase Brexton team, Randall served survivors of intimate partner violence at Family and Children’s Services, where they provided individual therapy and a weekly support group. In addition, they worked as a Behavioral Specialist in the Emergency Department of Union Memorial Hospital. They started their social work career working with people with severe and persistent mental illness at Sheppard Pratt Health Systems. Randall holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland School of Social Work with a concentration in clinical behavioral health.
Kate Bishop, MSSA, Education Coordinator at the LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton, is a seasoned professional development trainer with expertise in working with LGBTQ populations, sexual and reproductive health care, adolescent development, intimate partner violence, and sexual trauma. She is certified as a trainer through GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) as well as SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders). Before joining the Chase Brexton team, she developed the capacity building program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s STAR TRACK Adolescent HIV program, providing cultural responsiveness trainings for agencies that serve sexual minority youth of color. Ms. Bishop holds a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies from Hiram College and a Masters in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University.