Selected Presentation, Workshop, and Media Topics

Laura A. Jacobs, psychotherapist, psychotherapy, therapy, public speaker, public speaking, writing, activist, LGBTQ, transgender, transsexual, transexual, genderqueer, gender nonconforming, gay, lesbian, BDSM, kink, gender, sexuality, HIV, AIDS, polyamory, poly, counseling, bereavement, grief

Presentations, Workshops, and Media

Leap into the boundless and make it your home.
— Chuang Tzu

Selected Presentation, Workshop, and Media Topics

Some selected topics.  If you have other topics on which you'd like me to speak, feel free to reach out and we can discuss them.

GLMA (Gay/Lesbian Medical Association)

GLMA (Gay/Lesbian Medical Association)

Transgender Issues and Identities: A Cultural Competency Workshop

A discussion to help providers and members of the community develop cultural competence when working with trans and gender nonconforming clients.  The discussion will include the nature of gender and gender identity, cultural construction of identity, issues of marginalization, historical understandings and current trends, case examples, philosophies of care and clinical approaches to working with this vulnerable population.  This workshop can be crafted to target any specific audience.

All You Ever Wanted To Know About Therapy For Trans and Gender Nonconforming People But Were Afraid To Ask

This workshop is designed as an interactive discussion between trans and gender nonconforming individuals, allies, providers, and an experienced therapist to explore the ways psychotherapy can aid transition.  It offers the opportunity to raise topics from philosophies of care, the roles of the individual versus the therapist, choosing a therapist, the therapy process, therapy as a safe environment to explore questions of identity and meaning, and any others.   It also provides a forum to discuss therapy with someone not their own therapist.  The workshop focuses on therapy as client-centered and trans-positive, and therapy as a tool to explore gender as part of one’s evolving identity.

This workshop can be geared toward those in the trans and gender nonconforming community, toward providers, toward allies, or any combination of the above.

Hormones and Handcuffs

Laura Jacobs presents on alternate interpretations of “Transgender” and “BDSM”, and how to work with clients involved in such lifestyles.  She will talk about trans not as the standard “born in the wrong body/meant to be” narrative of victimization, but as the idea that gender can be a conscious choice following a path of healthy exploration... as well as that people engaged in alternate lifestyles such as BDSM may not be abusers and abuse victims replicating past trauma, but can be people involved in creative, transgressive and loving relationships exploring sexuality, power, and intimacy.  This workshop is presented in hopes of helping us, as social workers and psychotherapists, work with clients on their journeys of exploration.

Queering Healthcare Delivery

Due to lack of cultural competence and general discrimination members of the LGBTQ community do not receive quality care. This workshop discusses possible ramifications of a physician's inability to effectively communicate with their LGBTQ patients and how as future doctors, policy makers, or general citizens may do their part in shrinking the equitable healthcare gap between LGBTQ patients and the general public by teaching the future doctors to approach every client as an individual in need of sensitive, skilled medical care regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, socioeconomics, ability/disability, or anything else.

Trans Providers Speak: A Panel Discussion

A panel of trans-identified providers discussing the challenging and complex ways in which gender identity comes up for individuals and professionals in practice.  Topics include issues of transference, countertransference, and treatment considerations when working with trans and gender nonconforming clients.  This discussion is aimed at a mixed audience of professionals both trans-identified and not.

Who’s Afraid of Choice?         

The dominant narrative of trans identity – that of “born in the wrong body” – is a narrative of brokenness and victimization.  This workshop is a look on how that narrative came to be, why narratives of choice have historically been less accepted, and how we as trans and gender nonconforming people can reconceptualize our TGNC identities as creative explorations of gender.  We can fashion positive, empowered narratives of trans identity that more honor our selves and our agency.  Ultimately we can live the lives we want, the lives we choose, whether they conform to social norms or not.

I, Cyborg

Human identity has been intertwined with technology since the harnessing of fire.  Transportation, electricity, agriculture, education, and medicine are so integral to our lives that we almost ignore their existence… Yet for most trans and gender nonconforming individuals the association is still more explicit; hormones and surgeries transform our bodies while telecommunications and psychotherapy enable us to engage in dialogue that helps fashion our selves.

Soon, prosthetics, genetic modification, advanced surgical techniques, and hormones will offer the possibility to create bodies that no longer mirror ‘natural’ human forms but are artistic and novel, while immersive virtual worlds will give the opportunity to fashion identities that may not even be bound by traditional material laws.  Hopefully these technologies will be available to all.

Trans and gender nonconforming people, those of us who perceive our transitions as imaginative constructions of body, identity, and relationship to society, can be at the forefront of this revolution.  This workshop is an interactive discussion on how trans* and gender nonconforming people can be among the first to evolve toward the posthuman.           

Autism Spectrum Disorders and Trans Identity

Research indicates that rates of Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism, Social Communication Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome) may be higher in the trans and gender nonconforming community than in the general population, and yet very little writing on the topic exists. This presentation will include an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders as well as the literature and research to date.  Afterwards, there will be a case presentation demonstrating the complicated interplay of an Autism Spectrum Disorder and a trans identity, a case that also highlights the challenges for the clinician, even one versed in trans and gender nonconforming issues and a firm believer in trans-positive, client-centered, Informed Consent philosophies of care. 

Psychology, Philosophy: A Discussion about The Life, Universe, and Everything of What It Is That We Do [BDSM]...

The things we do - BDSM, polyamory, swing, ageplay, exhibitionism, gay sex, bi sex, lesbian sex, gender changing, queer, and so on - all push the boundaries of acceptable sexual and gender expressions in our society. What is it about?  What does it mean for us? Do these practices and labels define us, or do we define them? How do they fit into our connection to others and our exploration of our own identities?   Laura will present some of her ideas and lead a discussion with the audience exploring some of these issues.  (Participation is encouraged.)  She will draw on a wide variety of sources, including queer theory, postmodernism, and writings on BDSM.  In the end, she wishes people to come away with the idea that all these activities are part of our own search for meaning, and loving, creative expressions of who we are.

The Boundary Between Change and Continuity in Trans Identity

 “Whenever I run across another trans-person, I always find myself asking them about their name.  It’s fascinating to me.  What was your original name?  Where did it come from?  When you changed your gender, why did you choose the name that you did?  Did you name yourself after your mother?  A television character?  Your first love?

“Choosing your name is the process of making meaning of your individuality and identity both as a trans-person and as a human being.  It’s a microcosm of the overall change, one small piece of the picture that holds significant clues to the meaning of the larger whole.  Picking what you want others to call you, and what you wish to call yourself, is an act of maturity, an act of individuality, an act of stepping outside the person you have been told you are and becoming the person you make yourself to be.   It’s buying your own clothes rather than letting your mother pick them out for you.  Don’t want to wear those ugly flannel shirts?  Fine.  Don’t.  The name you pick captures your hopes, fantasies, and fears; in those few syllables is a vision of the self made manifest.  Picking your name says, ‘This is who I am.’” - Excerpts from Many Paths: The Choice of Gender.

Using the story of how I chose my own name during transition, I will discuss a chapter from my upcoming book highlighting how this choice involved connection to my personal and familial past.  This chapter illustrates how the choice of my name represents the way I understand myself as transgendered, an understanding different than the dominant trans* narrative of “born in the wrong body” or “meant to be”.  It sheds light on an alternative narrative, one of choice.