Friday April 4, 2014 at 10:00 AM BST
Saturday April 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM BST

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Resource for London 
356 Holloway Road
London N7 6PA
United Kingdom

Driving Directions 


Dominic Davies 
Pink Therapy 
020 7836 6647 

Trans* 2014 - Emerging trends

A two day conference on contemporary issues for clinicians interested in Trans* and gender variance.
Day 1 will focus primarily on clinical and research issues, Day 2 on the social context and emerging trends.  You can register for one or both days.  


Friday April 4th
10:00 am 1:00 pm: Keynotes

  • Dr Meng-Chuan Lai - The Gender and Autism Spectra: Crossroads and Unresolved Mystery
  • Dr Victoria Holt-  Associated Difficulties presenting in families of Gender Variant young people 
  • Alex Drummond - Genderqueer: an auto-ethnographic report from the frontier of Trans*

 2pm to 3pm: Seminars

  • Christina Richards - Trans* - Clinical Aspirations and Pragmatics
  • Lee Middlehurst - Online Questionnaires: Re-conceiving Transgenderism to Help All Trans Identities
  • 3.15pm to 4.15pm: Seminars 
  • Tina Livingstone - Impacting practice - trans' clients perception of helpfulness and unhelpfulness in therapy
  • Nicola Horley - The narratives of those who identify as gender variant but wo live without surgical interventions.

 Saturday April 5th
10:00 am 1:00 pm Keynotes

  • Dr Meg Barker on Non-Binary Genders
  • Michelle Bridgman on The role of therapy before & during transition
  • Sam Feeney on Adolescent Emerging Trans Identities & the law

2pm to 3pm: Brief Presentations

  • GIRES - the creation of educational resources and information
  • Mermaids - peer support for families of gender variant young people
  • Clinic Q - setting up a sexual health clinic for trans* people 

3pm - 4.30pm Panel Discussion and close

Amanda Middleton, Serge Nicholson and Paris Lees in discussion with Dominic Davies  discussing “Is Trans-Oriented an emerging sexual orientation?” 

Friday Abstracts and Biographies

Dr Meng-Chuan LaiThe Gender and Autism Spectra: Crossroads and Unresolved Mystery

Both gender and autism are constructs used to describe a spectrum of social, behavioural, cognitive, and probably biological characteristics that varies substantially in human being. The relationships between the two spectra have been proposed in certain theoretical formulation. Recent research in multiple domains (psychology, biology, social sciences) has started to provide relevant descriptive and empirical findings. This talk will summarise current knowledge regarding the relationships between the two spectra, and the many remaining questions that await clarification.

Meng-Chuan Lai, MD., PhD.  Autism Research Centre, University of Cambridge is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and autism researcher. He is Research Associate at the Autism Research Centre, University of Cambridge, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the National Taiwan University. His research focuses on disentangling the relationships between sex/gender and autism at multiple levels. He also studies other neurodevelopmental conditions (ADHD, tic disorders), adolescent mental health (anxiety, depression, early psychosis, and addiction), sexual identity and gender development, and resilience.

Dr Victoria Holt -  Associated Difficulties presenting in families of Gender Variant young people 

This paper presents the findings from an audit on demographic variables and associated difficulties in 218 children and adolescents, with features of gender dysphoria, referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in London during a one-year period. Data were extracted from patient files (i.e. referral letters, clinical notes and clinician reports). The most commonly reported associated difficulties were bullying, low mood/depression and self harming. There was a gender difference on some of the associated difficulties with reports of self harm and abuse being more common in the natal females and Autism Spectrum Conditions being more common in the natal males. The findings also show that most of the difficulties seems to increase with age. Findings regarding demographic variables, gender dysphoria, sexual orientation and family features are reported and limitations and implications of the audit are discussed. 

Dr Victoria Holt is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist specialising in working with gender dysphoric children, adolescents and their families. She works in a National Specialist Team at the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock Clinic in London and has a number of years of experience in this area. She also does group work and works with partners of Trans people.   

She joined the team of Clinical Associates at Pink Therapy in June 2013 and is a Graduate of the Diploma in Gender and Sexual Diversity Therapy.

Alex Drummond - Genderqueer: an auto-ethnographic report from the frontier of Trans*

On the borderlands of gender, intentionally inhabiting a space she defines as 'explicitly trans*' - and thereby not 'passing' but ‘being', the author reports back on the findings of three years of being out' as a trans-female. So, what are the possibilities and realities for a new generation of people in the C21st contemplating options lived beyond the gender assigned at birth?

What might the experience of a genderqueer trans-activist, especially one presenting female on a male frame, tell us about social attitudes to gender expression and definition? How might it inform our practice as clinicians in the field?

And if 'transsexualism' has to some extent an established anthology of research to call on, what do we actually know of the experience of non-surgical transition, and specifically the new and emerging identities that sit beyond hegemonic gender binaries? 

This paper offers a unique insight into those uncharted waters: drawing on personally derived data Alex will set out to answer those questions from a subjective-reflexive position. 

Alex Drummond is both a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist with research and clinical interests in transgender and ADHD,  & a senior accredited clinician with BACP &  accredited as a specialist in sexual and gender diversity with Pink Therapy she continues to combine research, activism, and clinical work with a passion for photography. 

Christina RichardsTrans* - Clinical aspirations and pragmatics

Trans* is a wide and often contentious area which invites vigorous debate, both in the purely academic and also the clinical literatures. It is also an area which is constantly evolving and consequently invites continuing engagement from NHS clinicians who must necessarily critically engage with shifts in the evidence base and wider thought. In doing so a balance must be struck such that quality up-to-date care is provided, but also such that potentially damaging change is not instigated on an inadequate basis simply because it is in line with the zeitgeist. This conference paper considers future directions of clinical practice within the NHS, especially pertaining to non-binary genders, and the pragmatic realities which should be met to ensure that safe, effective interventions are available which are free at the point of delivery.

Christina Richards is Senior Specialist Psychology Associate at the Nottingham and WLMHT (Charing Cross) NHS Gender Clinics. She is a BACP accredited psychotherapist, as well as an Associate Fellow of the BPS. She is the co-author of the BPS Guidelines for Counselling Sexual and Gender Minority Clients as well as the book Sexuality and gender for mental health professionals: A practical guide; and the forthcoming Palgrave handbook of the psychology of sexuality and gender.

Lee MiddlehurstOnline Questionnaires: Re-conceiving Transgenderism to Help All Trans Identities.

Abstract - From 2nd Jan. 2007 to 12th Dec. 2010 six different types of online questionnaires were available that gained information about the diverse trans identities.  When they closed, they had gathered 390,227 inputs from respondents. This presentation will discuss some of the data, presenting graphs that visually indicate the distinctiveness of this information. There will also be discussions about future studies of these questionnaires. 

Lee R J Middlehurst has a doctorate in Sociology and Criminology and has studied trans communities in Manchester, which includes examining data concerning contemporary (transphobic) hate crimes.  He is also an author, film-maker and artist producing work that promotes environmental awareness.

Tina Livingstone - Impacting practice - trans' clients perception of helpfulness and unhelpfulness in therapy

The BACP’s Systematic review of research on counselling and psychotherapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender people reported “helpfulness of psychotherapy was associated with the client’s perception of their therapist’s attitude” (p.7), moreover that negative attitudes predicted lower satisfaction (5.1.5). Having recently completed post graduate research into Trans-identified and Trans-historied people's experience of therapy this presentation will ask participants to reflect upon what impacts helpfulness of therapy  for Trans* clients in  counselling for everyday issues (rather than gender counselling), discuss the evident similarities and differences between these findings and those found with lesbian and gay populations, and explore implications for future good practice.

Tina Livingstone is a Client-Centred counsellor, counselling supervisor, and Pink Therapy Advanced Accredited Sexual Minorities Therapist, with almost fifteen years experience of working with gender diverse clients. Published in CPJ (2004), Therapy Today (2006) and PCEP Journal (2008), she gained an MSc in Counselling at Strathclyde University, November 2013, based on quantitative research into trans-identified and trans-historied clients experience of everyday counselling. Further details of her work can be found at: http://www.positivebeams.com 


Nicola Horley - qualitative research into trans* people’s lived experience


Saturday Abstracts and Biographies

 Dr Meg BarkerNon-binary genders 

One of the most interesting recent developments in relation to gender experience are the increasing numbers of people identifying in some way outside of the gender binary, for example as bigender, pangender, genderqueer, gender neutral, androgynous, or simply non-binary. The experiences and identifications of such folk challenge the malfe/female binary, as well as heteronormativity more widely, given the assumptions around binary gender that are embedded within this. There are also, perhaps, challenges here to binaries around trans/cisgender and bio/social understandings of sex and gender. In this presentation I'll explore the ways of being non-binary that are currently emerging, as well as some of the language which is developing to articulate those identities and experiences.

Meg Barker is a senior lecturer in psychology at The Open University and a UKCP accredited therapist. Meg is the editor of the journal Psychology & Sexuality, as well as being co-author/editor of many books and paper on these topics, such asSafe, Sane & Consensual (Palgrave, 2007), Understanding Non-Monogamies(Routledge, 2010) and The Bisexuality Report (www.biuk.org). They have also published extensively on counselling and psychotherapy including the books Understanding Counselling & Psychotherapy (Sage, 2010),  Mindful Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2013), and  (Sexuality and Gender for Mental Health Professionals (Sage, 2013). Meg’s self-help style book Rewriting the Rules: An Integrative Guide to Sex, Love and Relationships was published by Routledge in 2013. They are also a regular blogger on www.rewriting-the-rules.com (megbarkerpsych on twitter).

 Michelle Bridgman - The Role of Therapy Before & During Transition

Gender, gender identity, transsexuality, transgender (as verb and noun), sexual orientation. We get so hung up on descriptors that we are in danger of missing the person and who the person is.

Do people feel they are required to find a box that fits them or do they they should fit themselves into it.

Perhaps gender identity should be a joyful exploration of a gender spectrum. What if everyone could find a place that they feel comfortable with and be able to see whats best for them before seeking medical intervention?

How can the role of psychotherapy can be a vital aid in helping people find a place that’s right for them.

Michelle Bridgman MSc is a Psychotherapist and is currently on a doctoral programme at Middlesex University. The subject: 'The clinical treatment of people presenting with gender identity issues.'

Michelle is a member of The World Professional Association for Transgender Health and was recently described as one of the world’s leading experts in this field. She is currently on a committee at The Royal College of Psychiatry which is addressing the treatment of transgendered people and has been consulted over the DSM V proposals to remove Gender Dysphoria from the list of pathological conditions.

Michelle has been married for thirty eight years, has two grown up daughters and a granddaughter.

Sam Feeney - Adolescent Emerging Trans Identities & the law

An estimated one in every hundred adolescent young people describe themselves as trans* or gender variant. Recent population data suggests this means there are 74,000 trans* or gender variant 10-19 year olds in the UK today. The vast majority of these may well not be apparent or be considered as LGB. With access to the internet and social media trans* young people now have the opportunity to create their emergent felt gender identity as their new selves and interact with others, form relationships in that way.

Recent cases in Scotland and England where young people have been criminalised for sexual activity where they have not disclosed their gender history have sent shock waves around the trans* and queer communities.

Adolescent sexuality is fraught with risk for all young people and there are widespread concerns around issues of teenage relationship abuse and attitudes to consent and sexual/relationship violence. The needs of gender and sexually diverse young people are often not adequately integrated into sex/relationship education curricula. For many trans* young people some coping strategies and their internalised shame may put them at greater risk of harm and indeed potential criminalisation and being a registered sex offender.

It is vital and urgent that we create spaces where trans* and gender diverse young people can sensitively explore issues of consent, risk and harm as they negotiate the complexities of their developing sexual relationships and their relationship with themselves and the gendered boundaries of their bodies.

Sam Feeney is a transmale counsellor and trainer. With many years’ experience of working with young people and adults, including in the youth and criminal justice sector and in LGBT youth work, Sam now works as a trainer for Victim Support and volunteers with SexYouAlity to support trans and gender diverse young people across Cambridgeshire.

While doing Pink Therapy’s Diploma in GSD, after his own transition, Sam wrote a dissertation around safeguarding issues working with trans and gender diverse children and young people. He passionately challenges the prevailing cissexism and transphobia that directly results in the harm, maltreatment and abuse of gender diverse people of all ages.

There will also be short presentations on the work of GIRES by Terry Reed OBE and Bernard Reed OBE


Michelle Ross co- founder of cliniQ NHS sexual health and well-being service for trans* people

Amanda Middleton  is a qualified Family and Systemic Psychotherapist, with a special interest in Sexual and Gender Diversity.  She works therapeutically with families, couples and individuals who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender and beyond.  Amanda is a Graduate of the Dipolma in Gender and Sexual Diversity Therapy at Pink Therapy.

Paris Lees  is a journalist, presenter and transgender rights campaigner.  She topped The Independent on Sunday's 2013 Pink List, and was awarded the Positive Role Model Award for LGBT in the 2012 National Diversity Awards

Serge Nicholson  is a Trans* arts  producer with an interest in the making of sex positive trans* and queer work. CliniQ volunteer.

Dominic Davies is founder and Director of Pink Therapy, a Fellow of BACP and has over 30 years clinical experience of working with gender and sexual diversity clients.  He co-edited (with Charles Neal) the first three British textbooks on LGBT therapy (1996 & 2000).