Lavender Space and galaei are partnering to host three workshops for QTBIPOC to help foster safer work spaces, organizations and institutions. Lavender Space is a peer-led, grassroots organization that provides remote and in-person mental health services to LGBTQ adults, including focus groups and workshops.
Lavender Space founder Cass Phanord will lead the upcoming workshops, which will consist of autism competency on May 2, suicide intervention on May 9, and trauma processing on May 23. All workshops will be held at galaei (118 Fontain Street) from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Phanord identifies as “a Black, radical, queer and trans, disabled autistic adult who works loosely within psychoanalytic, mindfulness and dialectical behavioral therapy,” according to the Lavender Space website.
“I personally am an autistic person, so I think that the autism competency is close to me,” Phanord said. “I do think that with the more general heightened awareness of autism, I think it’s important that autistic people have a resource for knowing how they can seek workplace accommodations and succeed at that. And also how people at organizations who want to be supportive to autistic people can do that successfully and engage in community care in that way.”
For the suicide intervention workshop, Phanord plans to teach participants how to help people struggling with thoughts of suicide in a calm, collected way, as well as develop their own resources and coping strategies. According to a 2022 survey from the Trevor Project, 45% of LGBTQ youth respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.
“I think that it’s easy to kind of freak out if somebody shares feelings with you around suicidal ideation,” Phanord said. “It doesn’t come naturally what to say or what to do. I don’t think there’s a whole lot that I on an individual level can do about how high suicide rates are amongst queer people, but I think that this is a small way I can contribute by sharing education on intervention strategies that peers can take on a non-clinical community support level.”
Queer and trans people often experience trauma that stems from a variety of factors, such as social and systemic discrimination, familial rejection, or intimate partner violence, for example.
“I definitely think queer people deal with [trauma] at much higher rates,” Phanord said.
Although Lavender Space provides a free online trauma worksheet, Phanord hopes to build awareness of that resource and encourage people who have experienced trauma to try journaling as a way to process trauma.
“It can definitely be helpful to sit down and think through your trauma,” Phanord said. “A lot of people think that they don’t have trauma until they sit down and think about how things that have happened to them are affecting them today, even in small ways. I think that us taking care of ourselves and processing the things that we need to process is the first step in being able to engage in community care with other people.”
Interested participants can register here. Refreshments, masks, SEPTA passes, and at-home COVID tests will also be available.