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Unconditional Love and the Voyage Beyond Gender Norms with shawndeez, Ph.D.
Episode 11727th February 2024 • Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen • Heather Hester
00:00:00 01:03:43

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Discover the power of love and acceptance as I am joined by the insightful shawndeez, Ph.D., to explore the journey of parenting LGBTQ children. Through our conversation, we unearth the intricacies of identity, acceptance, and the transformative self-discovery that not only reshapes the lives of LGBTQ individuals but also their loved ones. Hear the touching stories that cut across the fabric of spirituality, gender, and the path toward embracing one's true self, offering a glimmer of hope and guidance for those supporting queer and trans family members.

The episode traverses the emotional landscape that parents navigate as their children reveal their gender identities, delving into the delicate balance of protecting and accepting, and the profound realization that unconditional love can deepen through understanding and awareness. We discuss the importance of patience, education, and dialogue in fostering a family environment where differences unite rather than divide. With shawndeez's personal narratives serving as a backdrop, the discussion highlights the healing potential of open-hearted acceptance within the family dynamic.

Listen as we contemplate the societal impacts of gender fluidity, and how fostering joy within the lives of trans individuals can lead to a culture of thriving. Whether you're a parent, a friend, or simply someone seeking understanding, this episode is a beacon of hope and guidance in the quest for a more inclusive world.

About our Guest:

shawndeez, Ph.D. (they/them) received their doctorate in UCLA’s Department of Gender Studies. While at UCLA, they created and led courses on Trans Magic, Queer & Trans Muslim Feminisms, and QTPoC Resistances while simultaneously serving on the Trans Wellness Team, a collective of medical doctors and mental health providers working to provide gender-affirming healthcare to trans students across the UC system. shawndeez’s dissertation research explored how queer, trans, and nonbinary individuals engage with the spiritual as a form of resilience, healing, and possibility. They are now a full-time public speaker, spiritual guide, and workshop facilitator, offering spiritually-conscious spaces for queer/trans people to lean into their joys. 

shawndeez is currently most excited for their newest adventure – offering one-on-one support for parents and elders of trans and gender non-conforming people who seek guidance in reimagining their relationship with their child. If you are interested in learning more, please visit their website shawndeez.com.

SOCIALS: 

ig - @drshawndeez

website: https://www.shawndeez.com/

the specific page for parent support work: https://www.shawndeez.com/work/parents

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawndeez/

email address: shawndeez@ucla.edu 


Connect with Heather:

Get Your Ally Toolkit Now, including a free primer! https://toolkit.chrysalismama.com/ally-free-gift

YouTube: @chrysalismama9499

TikTok: @chrysalismama

Learn how you can make an impact: https://linktr.ee/chrysalismama

Solutions listed on her website: https://chrysalismama.com/solutions

Please subscribe to, rate, and review Just Breathe. And, as always, please share with anyone who needs to know they are not alone!

Transcripts

Heather Hester:

Welcome to Just Breathe: Parenting your LGBTQ Teen, the podcast, transforming the conversation around loving and raising an LGBTQ child. My name is Heather Hester and I am so grateful you are here. I want you to take a deep breath. And know that for the time we are together, you are in the safety of the just breathe nets. Whether today's show is an amazing guest, or me sharing stories, resources, strategies or lessons I've learned along our journey, I want you to feel like we're just hanging out at a coffee shop having cosy chat. Most of all, I want you to remember that wherever you are on this journey, right now, in this moment in time, you are not alone.

Heather Hester:

Well, welcome to Just Bbreathe. I am so happy you are here. Welcome back. If you are a regular listener, and welcome, welcome, if this is your very first time here, I'm so happy you are here. I am really, really excited about today's show. I have just the most interesting and cool guest. So I am delighted, delighted for you to hear. But really quick since this is something that I have started this year, and I want to keep doing because it has been so much fun for me to do as well is to share reviews that I have been getting, and hopes that you will DM me if this is your review that I read. And if you DM me, I will answer any question that you have. I will do it on video, I will post it on Instagram and YouTube answering your questions. So if this is you, please let me know. If you have not left a review, I would be delighted and honored for you to do so. So please take a moment on Apple podcast to do that. And while you're doing that, you can also make sure you are following since the updates that happened at the end of last year, knocked a lot of people off of the podcasts that they were following. So make sure you check that out as well. But for today, the review is from upon a branch is the user name and they say inspirational such a raw and vulnerable podcast supporting the challenges and pitfalls faced in the day to day lives of gender diverse teens. As a parent of a now gender diverse adults, I only wish we had available such a wonderfully supportive and insightful resource during our teenager years. Thank you. Thank you so much for leaving that review. I am honored and I absolutely love this work that I do. I love this podcast. I love working with parents. I love speaking and so it means a lot whenever I hear from people letting me know. And I think that you will especially enjoy today's guest who reached out to me a few months ago and I'm so happy that we have finally had the opportunity to connect. And I'm just going to read their bio because it is so impressive. And there's a lot here so forgive. Forgive me for not looking into the camera if you're watching this on YouTube. shawndeez is a PhD and lecturer and UCLA is Department of gender studies, and has spent the last seven years studying how queer and trans people find spiritual meaning, which is so, so fascinating. The more they studied queer and trans spiritual existence, ritual and history, the more they realized the answers they were searching for are not in the books they were reading. They were in the crackling fire under a starry sky. The utter silence of a sunrise in the mountain tops the warmth of sun's rays on their chest. While at UCLA, they contemplated their dissertation research on how queer trans and non binary Iranian Americans experience their relationship to Islam, God, faith and spirituality. They created and led courses on trans magic, spiritual explorations of gender nonconformity, Muslim feminism's queer and trans perspectives and power US Empire. And que te POC resistances they They've served on UCLA trans wellness team for three years, working to provide gender affirming health care to trans non binary and gender non conforming students across the University of California. Through their time at the university, they learned that although they're an academic by training, their heart is a ball of spiritual mash. Now they practice as a public speaker, spiritual guide and inspirational soul. They hold workshops, give lectures and hold private individual spiritual guidance sessions for clients who wish to expand their spiritual practice. So without further further talking, I'm so so honored to bring you my conversation with shawndeez

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, I'm so happy you are here, I am happy to have you on the show. And for everyone listening to learn from your incredible wisdom and life experience. And you are just, you're doing some incredible work in the world. And you're so young. So bravo, that I am, I'm delighted to have you here. I'm so delighted that you reached out. And I think that I'd like to just start with you giving a little bit of background about who you are, how you got into this work. And, and we'll take it from there. Yeah,

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: well, first of all, thank you, thank you so much for having me inviting me on. Yeah, in terms of a little little background on me. I like say I was born and raised in Southern California, you know, raised in a little immigrant home what I consider a normal immigrant home. Right? And yeah, taught to be a good woman, right? Obviously, that didn't work out. Right, I was raised to be sis had to, you know, follow a lot of normative gender rules. And so I mastered actually, the art of repression very young, and, you know, didn't have a language around what was happening definitely didn't have, you know, safe elders telling me my expression, or my experience was appropriate, right, it was actually the opposite. So a lot of confusion and a lot of self secrecy, actually, as young person which was was a lot to carry, right. It wasn't until I went to undergrad went to UC Berkeley. You know, I saw other people being queer, and I thought, Oh, maybe I could maybe I could do that, you know, is it's like a very philosophical idea at the time, right. And it wasn't until actually, I entered my Ph. D. Program, which I did at UCLA and studied gender studies. And, you know, that was where I actually came out as trans learn myself as trans, medically transitioned. And yeah, I think I, you know, tapped into who I want to be, and created myself as that. Now, I get to do this work, which is working with the trans community, primarily trans community and queer community as well. But you know, focusing on my trans peers, and you know, what it means to actually allow us to entertain joy, a lot of the work that dentists around trans Joy have created the trans Joy workshop and do a lot of work around that as, for me, it's actually very spiritual consciousness, right? So I do take that spiritual wisdom and offer it to other trans people and allow them to see themselves as divine and beautiful. And it's really transformative. We've been doing that now for almost five years, which is really sweet. So yeah, I'm excited to be here and to discuss.

Heather Hester:

I love that. Oh, my goodness, I think that is, that is a beautiful, beautiful story. And there's so many pieces of that, but I think the initial part of your story, and then being able to go away to school, and be able to see people that you were like, Oh, I identify with that. i And so like the power of being able to see yourself in another, whether it's an actual human or in, you know, on screen and abuk, whatever. There's such power in that, and then going and actually studying this, which I think so cool. And now teaching it and you've added or kind of put together this element of spirituality, which I think that they, you know, they are they do go hand in hand. And that is something that I think people are a little afraid to talk about. So, I'd love to go there first. Let's

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: Oh, yeah, let's do that. Yeah. So is there a question and there is yes,

Heather Hester:

there wasn't really I was more of an observation of the story. But I kind of the let's go there first. Let's go. Let's just hit that first. Yeah,

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: totally. Thank you. And I will very much acknowledge that there is serious fear of spirituality of faith, particularly when we're talking in the queer and trans community right because of the you know, blatant apparent exclusion of the queer and trans life body experience from traditional monotheistic faith, right. Um, so yeah, actually, I I was sure that such as hilarious I entered the PhD. program a gender studies, I was very clear and confident that I was a queer woman of color. Right. And that was the identity that I held. Right. And I had, I had no clue I had zero awareness if you'd asked me. Right, which is hilarious, because, you know, I obviously didn't end that way. Right? I graduated with a full beard and you know, different bodies different life, right. But what's what's interesting, obviously, I trust my God, right brought me there for a reason I ended up setting obviously, now I have my PhD in gender studies. But what I did study, right, so what what did I studied? You know, people do get their dissertation, they can actually pretty much study whatever area they're interested in. So for me, I was looking at how do queer trans people actually have faith? Right. And for me, was actually looking at my community. I'm Iranian. So it was the Iranian American community looking at, you know, how does this community struggle? being queer and being trans right? On top of being Muslim, right, which is, notably in this country is seen as very anti queer, right? And, you know, how are the younger generation adopting these ideas, seeing the politics, but also, for me, the real question was, how do they find God? Right? Where is their God? What does God give them? Right? And do they feel like they can't? Right? So those are the questions that I was really interested in. Because I knew from jump from very young that the only reason that I was alive was because of God. Right? So I've always had this deep intuitive connection very clear on that myself. And yeah, I guess I was just curious what other people who had my life experience were doing with that question, right? Because I've learned everything I have through a spiritual epiphany of some sort, right? And I think for me, being trans in a while, it's about identity, and pronouns, and body and all that stuff. For me, it was it's actually a deeply spiritual awakening, right? It's a huge, huge transformation where you realize that you haven't been allowed to live your life where you aren't living who you are to be right. And, for me, it was a really powerful moment where I realized, oh, like, I'm actually depriving myself of my full life. Right? And so what can it mean to live? Right? And so it was, for me hugely spiritual to kind of reach that that consciousness. Yeah.

Heather Hester:

Wow. And was there a moment you you talk about it a little bit? That you you discovered your own magic? Was there a moment where you're like, wow, it is, it is my spirituality that allows me to be fully authentic in the world. Yeah,

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: yeah, it is. I wouldn't say it's, I don't have like a day in time. But I'll tell you, it was actually during the COVID pandemic, right. The beginning that first summer when everyone was scared and terrified my partner, and I just gave up our lease, we left LA, we all threw it in the car, and we went to the woods. And it was a very wild decision. But it was a time when the entire world was essentially up in arms chaos, right. So it was like, no decision was wilder than what we were already going through. So we just moved and we didn't move with nowhere to go. We just, you know, had a few rentals. And just a few months out in the in the woods, right. And for me, I at that point was going through a lot of transphobia was my early transition. So I was experiencing a lot of a lot of IK a lot of gunk a lot of knots, niceness, we'll call it that right? And so I was like, I need to get out and get out I need to go back to the earth. And so yeah, for me, the the trip actually took us to Idaho, we were out in the end, just like literally the wild of Idaho for a month. And that was where a lot of really powerful awareness came to me right. And I think what I always tell people, especially younger people, is I learned some of the most important lessons in my life, outside of the university, away from books in the woods far away from any classroom, right. And I think what it taught me right it also as a graduate student, as someone who's invested in the university, who's doing all this work was, you know, we can't we can't pretend like the UFC has it all figured out either, right? There's a lot of wisdom to be hunted or to be found elsewhere. And for me, it came in nonverbal ways right through the silence of the wild, right. And so that was really important for me and you know, having, you know, like a month to be out there and to have nothing to do and to really sit and rest with myself and ask really different questions right like to have the time to say, Who am I right? Who am I? What do I want to do with my life? Right? What kind of love Do I need? What kind of love Do I want to create? How do I want to help other people who have suffered like me? Right? I didn't have time to ask that stuff. When I was driving two hours in traffic parking two miles away walking to work like fridge figuring out how to struggle through the daily grind. Right? So it was a really important moment for me to be out. Yeah. be out of town for sure.

Heather Hester:

Oh, my goodness. Yeah. To sit in that discomfort. Yeah, so lot of discomfort there. And I like that you said that too. I like that. Kind of acknowledging that, like sitting through the EQ, that that's, it's okay, those feelings are okay. I remember somebody saying to me when Connor first came out, I was actually sharing with them. It was one person that kind of was like, it's okay to let them know. And I had a family member. And I said this and they said, Oh, well, he's been posting lots of homophobic stuff on social media. And at the time, I was, like, interesting. But as I've learned, and now, you know, just like talking to so many different people that that is a very normal stage. Right. Like, that is something that is so understandable. And, and to be able to sit through that and like, face it, which is what you did. And what a gift to be able to do that in that way. I mean, yeah. I think there's there's nothing scarier, but nothing greater than having to sit in that that silence and that, that discomfort. Yeah,

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: totally. And now, you know, I'm grateful, right. I always tell people take the trip, you're gonna learn a lot, a lot more about yourself than you would have elsewhere, if you didn't write, but also, you know, what they offer me now was what I do for a living, right, which is offer actually spiritual guidance to career insurance people, which I don't, I don't know, I don't know if I could or would if I didn't have that time. And that initial, you know, Crash Course and what it means to do that, right. So yeah, right.

Heather Hester:

Exactly. Oh, my goodness. Well, and I think I like to, you know, coming from different. What is the word I'm looking for? You know, a lot of I talk about Christianity, because that's kind of my background. Right. And you talking about Islam? Because that's your background? And, and I think that's so important to have these conversations, because at the end of the day, right. Well, I mean, that's a conversation for another day. But I think that that is I love having, like people are getting this more broad view, well rounded view of where lots of people are coming from, it's not just in one place that we see this one thing. So having that spiritual journey, I just think is so, so very important and talking about it with young people, which I just love, because I feel like so many of them are like, well, there's such ugliness out there. So I don't want any of it done.

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's the biggest, I'd say there's this an epidemic, and it is actually faithlessness hopelessness, right. If people don't want to use the language of faith, it's hopelessness. The degree of apathy that I see is out of this world, right. And most people come to me and they're like, I have no hope. Right? They're like, they look at me, they're like, how are you living? And I'm like, life is beautiful. All right. It's like we're living in the same world. And it's, uh, yeah, we are right. So it really does come down to, you know, what is my relationship with faith, right? Because if we have no faith, if we have no awareness of the Divine, or we have no relationship to God, right? I found that to be actually some of the most miserable forms of existence, right? And if that if that is how young people are living, if that is how queer and trans people are living thinking they can't access God, God isn't there for them, right? That's a really lonely life experience. Right? And, you know, I've gotten over a lot of my, whatever personal myths where people are gonna think all sorts of stuff. As soon as you talk about spirituality, they're like, Oh, you're one of those or whatever. And I've had to get over a lot of that crap. Because it's so clear to me that this is the only way forward, this is the only way to be right. And so you know, now I do it face first, you know, with a happy face because it's actually so clear to me that there's no there's no other thing that I could be talking about. There's nothing else that I'm here trying to do. Right. That's this is this is clearly where we're gonna find our heart and the reason that we're here, right?

Heather Hester:

Yes. Well, and I liked I love that you are actually giving people permission to find their, their divine connection. Right. I think that's one of the misconceptions is that there's, you know, every religion believes in one god that looks a very specific way. So being able to kind of break away from that and be like, wait, but my God looks like this. Right? My faith looks like this. And, and that's okay. And that, that takes some work, right? I mean, that takes a lot of breaking down and building back up again. And that's the work that you're doing, which is so vital. Yeah. Thank you so much. I want to shift just a little bit because we were talking about this before we started and I would love to hear your wisdom on on this. I know that you do a lot of work with parents and elders of young people. They probably older people too, who have for queer and trans and all on the gender you know, gender non conforming, gender, non, you know, all of the gender. And that was so not eloquent the way I said that, but

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: I got, I got you.

Heather Hester:

I would love to, I know that you've had some very personal experience, as well as just working with others. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. And then we'll get to some specific questions. Yeah,

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: totally, you know, I think, oh, first, to just give a synopsis. What I do do is now work with parents and elders of trans people, non binary people, obviously queer people, as well, but primarily the trans and non binary community, because I don't see it right. So I've worked now with the trans community, you know, like, for instance, the young adults, the trans people for five years, and I see them doing the work that I'm healing them trying them on learning. And then the parents don't, the parents don't, right, I just see very vividly that they'll come back and be like, no one, my mom doesn't know it. My dad doesn't get in my uncle is whatever, right? And so I think what I asked myself was, does my heart have the space to hold both sides of this journey? Right? And it was like, hell yeah, actually, I do. Right. Like, someone has to help the parents, right? Someone has to help the SIS parents of trans people, right. And I just didn't see a whole lot of that. So I, you know, basically was like, Can you do it? And I responded, yeah. And I would love to write, there's nothing more beautiful to me than restoring family. I don't want to hear many more stories about how transness ruins families, right. That to me is old news. Right? So for me, it's like how do we actually allow transits to bring families closer? Right. And that's what that's what I get to do. And that's the work that I do. And yeah, I think, you know, I found it really refreshing to be able to just create a space for parents and elders, and start with compassion, right? Because nine times out of 10, if there is anything for parents that is informative, it's usually not rooted in compassion, which is so unfortunate, right? It's usually rooted in, you're behind, right? You don't know enough, you haven't figured it out, or you're being a bad parent or whatever. Nonsense, shame, guilt that's being thrush, that parents, right, who are already doing so much to create and sustain the lives of their families, right. And so for me, I found it really important to say, Well, what compassion space for a mother of a child that's coming out as trans look like, right? How can I hold that space for that person, so that they can express their fears? Right, because I think most of what happens is, you know, parents do love their kids, they just have no idea what's going on, they don't understand where they're afraid, or they think it means something, or it's catastrophic, or they think it's the end of their world, it's the end of their social community. Right. And I think, you know, it's really important to have someone who knows the journey have and hold space for that particular set of fears, right? Because I think we have to go to those, take those fears and go to your kid is actually what's really tragic, right is because the child, who's also dealing with all of their emotions are super intense, particularly at the early onset of transition, right? They can't hold mom is afraid mom doesn't want to tell, you know, the neighbor, you know, they don't know. Right? Right. So it's important for them to have a space that's separate from their own kid to really grapple with this and you know, 90% of time, I find parents that are just alone, they're just afraid they've never heard of this, they don't know where to go, they have no nowhere that they can think of where it's safe to talk about this, right. And obviously, a lot of what I'm sharing is the work that I've done, but also very much about my own experience with my mother right and her watching her see me learn this go through all this right has been super instructive. And I just now that I've been through it with her, I wonder what would it look like to hold space for people like this? Because their love is there. Right. But there's so many other things that are also happening, right. And I think if we begin with that love, there's a lot that can come up, right?

Heather Hester:

Yeah, yeah. Oh my gosh. 1,000%. And, and holding that space with curiosity, because that's exactly what they need. Is that like place to be? Where they can, like, say all the things,

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: right, right. Like, like, just like, I don't know what to do. I don't know how to tell my my my neighbors like, I don't know what's gonna happen when my child cuts their hair and looks different. What am I going to say? How am I going to navigate that looks because half of transition is also your family holding that transition, right? And learning that and how to talk about you and how to articulate you and share that with the rest of the world. That's a lot to do without any guidance. That's actually ridiculous that we think that we can do that without any discussion and reflection. Yeah, exactly.

Heather Hester:

Exactly. I mean, that it's so much to hold. It is so much to hold. And so yes, having that Space I think is so so important. Even just saying, Hey, you can create that for yourself, right? If they cannot access you, or access somebody who does this, like, it's okay for you to create that space to have all those thoughts to say that out loud, write it down to get it out. No, because then that's how you move forward. Right?

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: Because it's actually most of it is guilt. Most of it is shame, right? And it's just lodging in the body. It's just, I've met so many parents that are like, well, I don't know what I'm doing. I want help. I don't I'm trying and then like, but there's just so much fear. There's so much fear and shame in this work, and rightfully so we've made weariness and transits to be seen as such a shameful thing, right? Which is unfortunate. But, you know, unlearning that shame, as a parent, in relationship to the child actually liberates both of you, right? In a way where you're like, oh, what types of nonsensical, social shames that I've been holding on to because the world told me I should? Right? And how do I actually get more free? When I allow my child to be more free? Right? That's precisely the larger project, right? Yes.

Heather Hester:

Oh, my gosh. Yeah. How we'll send 1,000% You had made a comment earlier about becoming a parents helps you connect with this even more. Yeah, and connect with that unconditional love even more. I want to talk about that a little bit, too, because that's a huge piece of this, of this puzzle.

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: Yeah, you know, I say that I never thought I could do this work. I didn't even imagine that I would do this work. Right. For me. It was actually it was holding both my journey and story with my mother. Right? Doing that work with my mom, because as the child right of a parent, and then also Yeah, I think when my partner was pregnant, I started entertaining. Like, well, what would it mean, right? And then actually, when the baby was born, I was like, well, well, well, yeah. I have. I've known love so deeply, right prior to the birth of this baby, but now I'm like, Well, you know, it's just actually having a child, for me is an invitation to love more than we knew we could, which is actually so beautiful, right? Which makes me want more children, which is great. But yeah, I think it opened my eyes into particularly what you're saying, right? What does it mean to love someone unconditionally, right, and actually work with a lot of parents on us, because parents love their kids. And they say they love their kids. And then they put a billion conditions on that love, right? It's like, but you have to look like this. But you have to dress like this. But you have to, you know, go get this job that I think you should have, or whatever it is right and actually step back into that unconditional love. Primarily, probably what you felt. Yeah, in the newborn in the first year, right? When it is just so pure, and there's really nothing else happening is, yeah, it's such a reminder of like, what can my relationship with my kid be if I remain in unconditional love, right? And to remember that I'm human, I will mess up I will, you know, absolutely, positively. move more towards conditions and roles, right. But what happens if we can remember and have that awareness and move back into unconditional love? And be that guidance for our kids? That's, well, yeah, we'd live in a really powerful world. Yeah.

Heather Hester:

Oh, my goodness. I mean, I have like chills sitting here thinking about it, because I just have this like, image of like, untangling you know, all of the all of the shoulds and the, you need, and the, the, it's all fear, like, all the fear based things that just get programmed. And even without thinking about it, right. I mean, I, I fully believe that most of these things that we're programmed with, out of fear is not a conscious thought of. Right, right. But it happens. And so then just untangling all of that, and like moving back and being like, Okay, this is this, like extraordinary human being. Yes. That I had the honor of bringing into the world. Right. And so, wow. The I'm a little bit speechless right now. Just the thought of like, what that could be like, right? Yeah. And that will take your vulnerability and a lot of like, willingness to have like, just be uncomfortable, which is kind of my biggest thing. Like it's okay to be uncomfortable. It's okay to be messy. It's okay to just like, right. Yeah. Because that's where the connectionists is like in those moments of messiness. Yeah. Yeah.

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: And through the whole ourselves in the mass, right, like, yeah, it isn't always pretty it is not always sunshine, we know As parents as kids, we've all lived through bad moments stays periods, whatever it is, right. And so you know, what, what, for me is, like, really important is how can we continue to carry the question of returning to unconditional love whether with your partner, your spouse, your kids, your whoever's in your home, right? And that's, that's an eternal practice, right? I think some people look at me, they're like, No, you agree that you figured it all out? And it's like, no, no, I'm grumpy as hell. Like, how do we? How do we continue? Right? The question is actually, how do I have an awareness that brings me back to oh, I want to be loved, right? I want to be loved to my wife want to be loved to my kid, I want to create that environment so that my child right actually expects that in their world and creates a world following suit. Right. And so there's different ways that we relate to each other. Right. But what if we actually taught our kids to relate to each other like that, as opposed to the terrible things that I hear on the news?

Heather Hester:

Grateful, wouldn't that be? I mean, it's kind of the whole and it sounds so simplistic, but the idea of like, relating to one another, like, approaching one another with curiosity, yes. Like that instant judgment, which we're so that's just so ingrained, right, that we enter a room full of people and what is ingrained in us to do judge, right, or compare? And stead if we could walk into a room and, and be curious? Right? Yeah. It's that tiny little shift and, and your mindset? Yeah,

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: I think an open mind is the most underrated and most powerful thing that we aren't tapping into, for some reason, right? And it's actually like, it's something I practice a lot in the last few years, and it's led me into a life that is 1000 times more enriching, right? Because if I don't close the realm of possibility, when I go somewhere new when I meet a new person, when I, you know, I'm experiencing something, if I don't already predetermined and decide what it's going to be or how it's going to go or what I expect and closed down, like infinite possibilities, right? Life's actually really, life's actually really sweet. There's a lot of other things that we're missing, right. So that openness brings you new material, right. And I think that yeah, it's it's actually it's just more fulfilling way to relate to the world, as opposed to I already know what's gonna happen. I know how this is gonna go. I know who you are.

Heather Hester:

Right. Right. Right. And again, I think that all circles back to fear. Right? Yep. That fear that's, like, the underlying fear, and so much of, if not most things. Yeah. You know, I think, too, it seems like a scary thing, because that's, we're gonna mess up. We're going to just sort of percent, like, right, we're going to fall back into old ways. That doesn't mean that you can't do it. It just means that a look, you're aware enough now that you realized you did it. Right. And and you can do this, right. Like you can, like, in that moment, be like, Oh, wait, no, I don't want to do that. I don't want to be judgy or I don't want to be whatever, comparing myself to other people. I want to be like, Oh, this, that person looks really interesting, or whatever it is, like just that place of curiosity. So yeah, be gentle with yourself, I guess is my point. Yeah, yeah. Totally.

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: Right. It's,

Heather Hester:

but it's good work. It is. It is.

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: And, you know, in truth, it will set you free, right? Because I think for me what I realized when I was coming into my transness I was also like, kind of queer, I'm Iranian. I'm Muslim. I'm non binary. I'm all these things, right? I was so aware, right? That the world didn't like my identities, right? Like I was carrying this fear, this pressure, this hate this violence, whoever was right. So much, was hitting me all the time, right. And I thought that I had to resist, I thought my whole identity, my whole life story was to just resist whatever it was that was hurting me, right. And that for me, is actually for me. Now. I'm thinking out loud. It's like, oh, that's living in that fear mindset, right is to compulsively be afraid of more pain, and then to fight against that pain and to be in that cycle with fear and pain, right? And so, to actually, you know, I, when I went to Idaho, when I had my epiphany, my awareness, right, it was like, I can't live like this. I cannot live like this. My whole life. I cannot live like this. Anything more. So an awareness of like, it's just exhausting, right? And more importantly, God did not bring me here to just fight petty idiots all the time. This is not what life is about. Right. And so I had to pull back and say, What is life about? Right? And then, you know, the question became clear, right? And in any moment in any situation. There's really a fear choice and a love choice, right? And what does it mean to one out of that awareness, right and then to allow that quest to kind of navigate your life, right? And be like, I don't want to utterly live in fear. That's a choice. It's a really tough one. But it's a choice, right? And so, you know, for parents of queer trans kids, right? Thinking about how do I, how do I deal with this? Right? How do I deal with this? Well, it's like, I can choose fear, right? Like the number one thing that I get is, I love my kid, I don't want them to experience pain. So I'm going to tell them to not be this thing that they can clearly just not be. Right. And yeah, that's the fear based choice, right? And that's okay. And I've heard it and that's understandable, right? It's coming from love, but it's in practice, it's asking someone to shrink themselves, right. It's asking someone to not be who they are. Right. And that's a really dark form of non love, right? And so as parents, we don't want to give that to our kids, right? We want to love them right? To go back to a retirement a moment ago, what it means to actually just unconditionally love your kid and let them be who they are. I'm here, I'm tasked with the job of supporting and raising this beam. That's it, right. So who am I to tell them? They shouldn't be who they're telling me they are? Right? Like, they actually know who they are better than anyone. Right? And so it's actually, yeah, I think really important to create that that space so that we can realize what a loving response to the kid that's coming with really, you know, perhaps challenging or shocking news? How can I love this child of mine?

Heather Hester:

Yeah. Oh, my goodness. Yes. And I think that's so interesting. Thinking of in that moment, there are so many options, right, of how to respond and what to do with that information. And, and then, of course, you know, for so many there's, it takes time. Oh, yeah. And that's okay. This time, that's actually good. Because that was the normal.

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: That's right. Yes, I totally does.

Heather Hester:

Yeah, I wonder what you would say, though, to a parent, who is like, I just, I, I just can't because you kind of you just addressed this a little bit by like to go just a little bit deeper. I, I love them. Like, in their mind. They're saying I love I love my child. But I don't, I don't like that they're trans. I just can't, I don't agree with it. I read my own stuff. And all the stuff I read says they're wrong, that they're it's their choice, and they're making the wrong choice. But I love them so much. Yeah, yeah. You say to that parent? Yeah,

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: I'd say one. Thank you for being here. Right. Thank you for asking that question. Because a lot of parents don't. Right. So one that tells me that parent is preoccupied and concerned with their relationship with their child, which is actually the first step right. That's, that is an act of love. Right? And so then, and then comes the declaration, right, the verbalization. I love my kid, right? And then there's that beautiful word. Right? But right, and it just shows up. And it says, but which means something else, right? Which means actually something in contradiction to I love my kit, right? Which is actually precisely what's coming out. As they say whatever it is, it's coming out. Right, which which, you know, what I would say to that is it is fully normal and totally appropriate to be terrified of having this news enter your home, right? Yes, right. I always share when I do my talks that when I, when I discovered that I was trans, I wept in bed for a month, and I didn't move right. It was the most depressing thing I ever, ever realized, right? Because I lived in a world that told me transness was synonymous with more pain, right? So it makes full and total sense, right? that a parent would likewise be terrified of this of this news, right? Because you love your kid, and then they're actually coming to you telling you, they're going to live a life, that's absolutely going to cause more pain, right? There's going to be more pain, there's going to be more, you know, let's just say conflict, right? With the world, but people with medical world, whatever it is, right? There's gonna be a lot of pressure there. Right? So that makes sense, right? And I think by making that space for parents, hopefully allows them to realize, oh, okay, so maybe perhaps I don't need to take out, you know, my fear of what the world is going to do to my kid and turn it into you shouldn't be trance that's going to make your life harder, right? Because, you know, even my mom, my mom, this was what she did. She was like, life's gonna be really hard. I don't want you to go through any more pain, right? Which I'm like, cool, but what I what I told my mom I'll share what I said to my mom was for the first time in my entire life. I was 24 years old when I finally told her and came out as trans for the first time in my life, right? So for 24 years I've been living and not been happy for the first time I found what's gonna make me happy. That's huge. That's unreal. If my kid came to me and said, I figured out why I'm not happy. I'm going to be happy now. Help me sleep. Word me, we'll figure this out, right? That's such an invitation. That's huge, right? Because we finally have a person who's been struggling for whatever reason, because of whatever messages they've seen whatever world they find themselves in, that doesn't feel safe to be themselves, right? And then finally figures it out. Right? Like, actually, what a moment of celebration, right? And, you know, perhaps, you know, not everyone's there. Not everyone sees it as a moment of celebration, I sure didn't. Like I said, when I first learned it, I was crying. I was scared. I was depressed. It was really dark. But now I'm like, Wow, it's so beautiful. There's actually a child finding more clarity in their own lives, getting closer to happiness that well, what else could I want for my kid? Right? Right.

Heather Hester:

I love that. And how did your mom initially respond to that? And then I know over time, it took time, but what was her kind of initial? If you don't mind me asking if you do totally understand. So you tell me.

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: Yeah, no, it's one of the most important stories that I share is the story of my mom, my mom, you know, I was raised. Like I said, in a what I consider a normative immigrant household, right? We follow gender rules, there was no discussion men were men, women were women. And that's exactly what it was. Obviously, there was this very clear notion of you are going to grow up and be a common, abiding heterosexual person, right. And so, you know, you know, this was a little while ago, right? So not necessarily very recent, but like, in a world that was still very openly anti gay, right? In a world that was very common to say things like that, right. And so my mom, you know, I think ingested and put out a lot of that ideology. Right. So she was just very flatly homophobic, transphobic, right. Very, very comfortable and non right, didn't live in a society or community that, check that, right, because that's what the world was, like, you know, 30 years ago. So I think, for me, I was raised to think the corners and transits were gross. Here's my mom, saying that, right? You know, walking around, not getting in elevators, because she's a queer person, right? Like, very visible, very comfortable, you know, just like, No, these people are not natural, right? Not normal, and those type of stuff that she would say to me, and so, you know, as a kid, I was like, wait, what? Because, you know, part of me is like, not even old enough to conceptualize what's happening, but it's like, I'm definitely that thing that mommy says is really bad. Right? I'm definitely that thing that mommy scared of. Right? And it's like, that's a lot for a young person to hold on top of that, whatever else is happening for them developmentally. Right. And so I, you know, was very clear that I couldn't share this with my mom. Right? And that's, that's also something I think, for parents to chew on, right? Is how much of your relationship with your kid are you losing out on if you don't invite the full breadth of that human being into the picture? You're asking them to erase or hide a part of themselves when they come to the table? Right? When they come to sit next to you? Right? When they're sitting, you know, on the couch, right? They can't actually share what's happening with them, because they don't feel like they can. Right. And that was very clear to me that that was okay. Because that was the that was the creating environment, right? My mom wasn't like, tell me, you're gay life, right? My mom was like, get A's enter graduate school, you know, you know, marry a man, whatever, right? Succeed in the normative tropes that she had been taught, right? And I think, for me, what's been very humbling and powerful as I get a little older also is to be like, well, how can I have compassion for what my mom went through what she was taught, right, and how she was taught certain values about bodies and gender, and relationships and sexuality. Now, obviously, I've spent about a decade studying gender and sexual theory. So I thought about it a little bit more, right, but have compassion for, you know, this was what she was taught. And this is what she chose to believe and operate on. Right? And so there's a degree of compassion, but also acknowledgement of Whoa, you know, so she chose that she chose to reproduce a lot of these ideas, right, and to not move in more loving ways. Like, oh, like, so what? If my kid is square, right? I can still love them. That didn't really happen. It didn't happen until, you know, actually, that was my mom that I was queer. Because I think a part of me really deep was like, I'm more than that. Right? So I never was like, Hey, Mom, I'm a lesbian. I never had that conversation. Because I think I knew deep down it was going to be I'm trans. And so I kind of didn't have that conversation until I realized that I was trans. And then I had that conversation. I invited her into my home and I said, you know, quite so many to talk. I've done that. Never. So my mom knew that it was serious. I invited her into my place. And I asked my partner leave so just two of us and we had the space to ourselves and I just said, you know, I'm I'm not a woman. I'm not I'm not a woman. And her initial response was yeah, just like break down tears fear so much right? The fear of like Are you going to do I don't want to change your body. I'm scared of that stuff. I don't know what it's going to do to you. Right? So much fear, right? And for some reason, and I believe, you know, again, God was very much with me in that moment, I was able to hold space for my mother in that conversation, which is not normal, right? Usually when a trans kids coming out, they are scared, they don't know what to do, they're freaking out, right. But for me, for some reason, my heart did the Grinch, it just grew, right, it grew three sizes right there. And I was able to say, Oh, my God, my mom is in so much pain, right? And I was able to hold space for her in that conversation be like, you know, console her a little bit and say, you know, it's gonna be, it's gonna be all right. Which is actually funny. But I think about it, but more importantly, right. And she was naming her fears. She was naming all of her hesitations. And, you know, she was like, I don't know what trans is. I don't know what this means. I don't know what a transgender body modification. It is. Right. But at the end, she concluded with, but I love you. And that was it. And that was that was all that I needed. Right? We didn't solve world hunger on that evening, right. But what we had was a commitment that a mother loves her child. Right. And with that, we started, we started with how we started and it took a long time, it took a lot of conversation, a lot of yeah, just reflection, and my mom went from being, you know, just this super visible homophobe transform to a woman that was signing up for, you know, a full day workshop on, you know, how can parents understand medical transition and support their kids or something like that, you know, and I was like, wow, what, oh, there's nothing but while it's coming out, because it's like, I did not think the woman that I was raised with whatever ever be able to hold and carry herself in that way. Right? What it taught me, which is why I do this work is parents do love their kids. Parents do love their kids. And that's actually the only thing that I know, right? And if I know that parents love their kids, then that is possible, right? I believe that there is that inner transformation possible. And someone has to believe that someone has to believe in those parents, right? I know, I'm not kidding. My mom was bad. Like my mom was, you know, she dragged me to the voting booths, and she voted against gay marriage in front of me like this was bad. This was bad, real bad. So never nine years, I think my mom could be run around correcting people when they use the wrong pronouns, right? It's like, wow, look, look what what can be done when we choose love. And we commit to that love. Right? And to go back to that another question, right? No, it did not happen overnight. And I don't like the narrative that like, once someone tells you, you should have figured it out within 48 hours. It's like, no, it took, yeah, at least a year, right? At least the year a lot of time, because the parent has to process all this stuff. Let's imagine the trans child has thought about this for UPS, you know, six months a year, maybe longer, right? Mom's here about this, perhaps been in such strong denial or whatever it is never thought of it. Right. And so that takes them a long time as well. So what does it mean to have that space set graciousness as you learn something that's, you know, very challenging,

Heather Hester:

right? I think the alphas so powerful that you just said that, thank you, because that is, I think one of the most important things for everyone to know, right? Both people, you know, where people coming out to their parents and their loved ones, like, they need a minute. That doesn't mean they don't love you. That doesn't mean they don't affirm you. They just need a minute, because this is a show. Right? And, and for, you know, parents and loved ones to honor the fact that you know, your loved one who's coming out to you. This isn't something they just decided overnight, this is something that they have thought about for a very long time. Yeah. And, and, and the courage that it takes for them to come to you and say those words. No. Immense. Yeah. So to honor that as well. Right. So a lot of places that we are totally right, and it takes, you know, I think that just allowing that, allowing that space, which is one of my favorite phrases to and I always giggle when I say that to people who are not as familiar with this, this languaging because people will like look at me funny and I'm like, Okay, I have to explain what but it's such a great like, what I you know, the first person that said that to me a few years ago, I was like, I love it's like the perfect way to describe this, right? Like, just like that's what you need, like just kind of like imagine this container of like, okay, yeah. So, thank you for sharing that. I just, I know that it's gonna bring comfort to so so many people and I really, really appreciate that barrier. And just, you know, wisdom and and goodness Just a moment, just giving everybody a moment. I have a question that's totally off subject. But I'm just curious knowing that your PhD is in gender studies, and something that has come up and questions and kind of just in general, in recent times, I've had a couple of things, talking about the fluidity of gender. And I'd love to know, to hear your thoughts on that. Because I think and I guess the kind of the background behind this is the thinking, which I'm sure you're fully aware of, is the you know, people love a binary and people love a box to check. So there's a lot of discomfort around it any kind of fluidity any kind of spectrum of anything. That this is your, your area of specialty. So I'd love to know, just, you know, a little of your thinking on that.

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: Yeah, yeah, totally. You know, and this is a particular example, coming to mind, I work with a grandmother who was like, I have a non binary grandchild, I don't know what to do. I don't understand. Right. And so we had to have this conversation, because yeah, this turns out, there's gonna be more and more gender fluid, people now that we live in a society that's slightly allowing people to be themselves, right. And so what does that mean? It means that people that were raised in a very rigid binary world, right, are going to have to engage with this right? Maybe, you know, hopefully absorb it, but also engage with it right? What does it mean to think about? And, yeah, in terms of the gender binary and gender fluidity, I think what's really important, right in the way that I've come to learn it, and teach it and think through it, right is right, we live in a social system that's obsessed with these two boxes, right? And not just because, because it serves a political function, because it's literally useful, right? It's functional, to be able to say, these are males, and these are females, right? We've literally constructed our entire society around this. And it's worked, right? It's comfortable, it's convenient, we've raised every single person in our society to believe that this is a natural and normal way to categorize human beings, right? Which, you know, if we step out and step back from a man, right, it's like, Whoa, oh, maybe we went ahead and actually just create that. And if we created that, then we can also commit to on creating it as just the same, right? And I think for many people, the non binary is really threatening, it's really threatening as an identity, because it's confusing, because it does not abide by those two categories. Right? flatly, that's a lot to understand. If you're like, there's men, and there's woman, right? I'll never forget, in the beginning, when I tell people, I'm getting my PhD in gender studies, there'd always be that classic dude that would say, what do you need to study? There's men and there's women, right? Like, for sure. Thank you for that. I didn't know. Right. So yeah, I mean, I think, you know, as someone who now I, you know, consider myself to be non binary, right. I think the question really is like, what is that? What does that mean? Right? And for me, I've spent a lot of time reading and writing about it, because it's, it's so much more than a gender identity, right? It's actually it's a commitment to life. I said, it's a commitment to the human body in ways that don't follow the rules that the world gave us, right? It's a commitment to this person and this form of expression, whatever, you know, it is it's coming out of me. And it says, I honor how I want to express in ways that that is actually the biggest priority, right? As opposed to, I'm gonna worry about male, I'm gonna worry about female, I'm more worried about gender, right? Because I'm not right. It's actually it's it really radical honoring of oneself and whatever that looks like. And, you know, I think that's, and it's a lot, it's a lot to swallow from, from, you know, perhaps people that might not have really thought about it for a while, right. And I think it was a lot of myths, right? It has to look a particular way, right as to call itself a particular thing, or you have to use particular pronouns or all that jazz, right? And it's actually like, no, it's just someone that's committed to themselves and honoring their expression above what the category of male or the category of female is forcing on the rest of us right. And it's actually it's choosing freedom right when it comes to body and the gender right and you know, I think that's that's sweet people that choose freedom I meant to that. So yeah. Oh, totally.

Heather Hester:

I think that's such an interesting way of looking at it and I think is so helpful is being able to I think we don't realize until we sit and think about it specifically like the roles of gender right the roles of man and the roles of woman of women, right like where, so me as a woman Woman, all the things that are just like, in that I was just programmed with, like, I, this is what I am to be and do in this world. Right? And to think about, like stepping outside of that, and kind of leaving that over here and being like, but how do I really relate with the world? Right? Like, how do I really relate with the people around me the people that I have the honor of meeting, and, and, you know, having as friends and my children and I and my partner and, and so it? I mean, you're, again, 1,000% I'd love that, like it is freedom. That's what all of this is that we're talking about. Really? Right?

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: Which you just laid out? Yeah, yes. Which is actually funny, because, you know, a lot of people are afraid of the trans would they call the trans agenda, right? And it's actually, gender liberation is for all people, right? And that's actually what's what's really unfortunate, right? It's like, you know, people that aren't in the trans community aren't really invited to see that, right. But think of the like, you know, let's, let's imagine whoever's listening, right? Think of the millions of ways that you police your own gender every single day, right? I got a, you know, shave, I got to plug my rose, I got to make sure I'm skinny, I got to make sure I got muscles, I got to whatever it is, I got to not cry, I got to not feel whatever, whatever whatever, whatever it is, there's millions of ways, right that we police our gender, whether you're trans or whether you're sis right. And so the project of actually moving towards freedom, right? It's like, what would the world look like, if we were free? That beauty should not be limited to just trans people, right? But trans people obviously get thrown into that consciousness very quickly because of their life experience. But, you know, the same to be said, for the parents of trans people, or anyone for that matter, right? Everyone deserves this consciousness so that they are at ease in their body, right? Because think of how much pain and force and pressure we're holding when we live like that.

Heather Hester:

Great. Well, it's a gift. I mean, it really is a gift to every human being.

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: And everyone deserves it. I believe that right? So if we do, you got to do that. We deserve that for ourselves and for each other. Right. And so, you know, question i carries. How can I absolutely not police gender for myself? Because that's a that's a similarly it's an eternal dance. Because everywhere you look, someone's telling you to police your gender. Right. But then, on top of that, how can I make sure I'm not policing the gender of other people? Right. And that, obviously to reduce that to the nuclear family to the home right to my kids, right. I don't want to police the gender of my children, either. Right,

Heather Hester:

right. Right. Oh, my gosh. Oh, that is a question we could just really couldn't wait. To be continued. Perhaps. Write write a new write a new book? Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Oh, my goodness. Okay. Well, I would love to I think this is definitely a To be continued down the road conversation on so many pieces here. But I would love for you to share how people can get in contact with you. And anything else? This is your free space to talk about whatever you want. Yeah, well,

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: in terms of folks want to get in touch with me reach me for the parent sessions, or if you have a trans child, and you want them to take part in the trans strike workshop, which is, you know, I believe I mentioned this, but you know, in case I didn't trans joy, for me is really about asking, What does it mean to make joy, the priority for trans people, right, as opposed to surviving struggling bare minimum crumbs? Going through life? very unhappy, right? What does it mean to make Joy actually the centerpiece of trans life? Right? And how does that reorient how we see ourselves and what we deserve and what we're worth and what this life is about? Right? It's very powerful work. So I do all the Translate workshop twice a year. Right. But, um, on top of that, yeah, the parents sessions, I think, will be most probably relatable and necessary here for your audience. Yeah, and those are, you know, private sessions, I think, because I respect the fear and the intensity that surrounds most of it. So I only I only do that work, one on one. But yeah, if folks want to get in touch, my email is actually the best way to do so. Right. So it's shanties@ucla.edu, which I will spell here sh a wN dez@ucla.edu. And that's how you can get in touch with me obviously, you can also find me on Instagram at Dr. Shawn ds, where I post most of the flyers for the workshops that I hold in different events that I hold in that space as well. Yeah. Perfect.

Heather Hester:

Awesome. And I will have all of this in the show notes as well. So if you missed that, well, then just take a look at the notes this will be on I'll put it out on social all the socials as as well. And we'll tag you so you can, you know, comment or add to anything that I've said And I'm just so, so grateful that we were able to have this conversation. And to put all of this out in the world, because this is just really powerful. And, you know, occasionally I get to have an interview where I think, oh my gosh, I have to listen to that again, because I'm honored. Thank you. So thank you so, so much for being here. I so appreciate it. And have a really, really great weekend. Yeah,

Heather Hester:

shawndeez, Ph.D.: thank you. Thank you for having me.

Heather Hester:

Thank you for being here today. Thank you for listening. I hope that you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. It was absolutely a delight. And I truly learned so much I was not kidding when I said that I'm gonna go back and listen to this again, because there are so many pieces of just wisdom that are in there. So please feel free to listen to it twice, or three times. And again, like I said, right there at the end, if you wish to get in touch with shawndeez there information will be in the show notes and on social media. And just also a reminder that if you wish to be part of my book launch team for the forthcoming parenting with pride, which I'm so excited about. Please, please reach out to me, send me an email, which also is my show notes, but just say habit. It's hh@chrysalismama.com. I would love to have you as part of my launch team helping me get this book out into the world. Until next time, take care.

Heather Hester:

Thanks so much for joining me today. If you enjoyed today's episode, I could be so grateful for a rating or review. Click on the link in the show notes or go to my website, chrysalismama.com To stay up to date on my latest resources as well as to learn how you can work with me. Please share this podcast with anyone who needs to know that they are not alone. And remember to just breathe. Until next time

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104. Decoding the Whispers of Intuition and Inner Energy with Heather McGuire
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103. Breaking Free: A Therapist's Journey to Queer Identity | David DeVore
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102. Becoming a Voice: Advocacy, Mindfulness and Storytelling with Yuval David
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101. Parenting with Love: Research Insights on Sexual Health in LGBTQ+ Youth with Dr. David Huebner
00:46:53
100. Our Family's Transformation through Openness
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99. Transformative Listening: A Path to Deeper Relationships with Candy Motzek
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98. Unraveling the Power of Breath and Boundaries with Madhur-Nain Webster
00:54:34
97. Embracing Identity, Intersectionality, and Authenticity with Dr. Ronnie Gladden
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96. StereoType: Empowering Authenticity in Fashion with Elizabeth Brunner
00:47:57
95. The Intersection of Sexuality, Gender, and Parenting: A Conversation with Court Vox
00:48:21
94. The Power of Unity: Strengthening Support and Fighting for a Brighter Future
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93. Gender Magic: Achieving your Own Gender Freedom with Rae McDaniel
00:50:51
92. How to Become a Savvy Ally with Jeannie Gainsburg
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91. The Coming Out Process: Stage 4 (Acceptance) Stage 5 (Pride) and Stage 6 (Synthesis)
00:19:18
90. Fostering Deeper Family Bonds with Emotional Self-Care and Conscious Parenting Techniques with Maureen Spielman
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89. Embracing Authenticity: Genderfluidity, Self-Discovery, and Empowerment with Lori Sweetman
00:47:12
88. The Coming Out Process: Stage 3 - Identity Tolerance
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87. Odyssey Teen Camp: Embracing Diversity and Acceptance with Adam Simon
00:41:12
86. The Coming Out Process: Stage 2 - Identity Comparison
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85. From People Pleaser to Self-Love: The Journey to Embracing Your True Identity with Annie M Henderson
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84. The Coming Out Process: Stage 1 - Identity Confusion
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83. Tragedy, Loss and Love Amidst Family Crisis
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82. Overcoming Gender Inequity in Schools with Jason Ablin
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81. Gender Fluid Panel: What Does it Mean to Be Non-Binary?
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80. Rainbow Stories: Creating Connections Through Shared Experiences
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79. Emotional Support Animals: Uncovering the Mental Health Connection with Daniel Maigler
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78. When Your LGBTQIA+ Loved One Faces Non-Affirming Folks During the Holidays
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77. Beyond Disordered Eating & Eating Disorders with Dr. Theresa Bussart
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76. Bisexuality, DEI, & Strategic Intentionality with Victoria Pelletier
00:39:14
75. Uncovering Unconditional Love with Kim Sorrelle
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74. Positive Masculinity with the Gender Sensei with Mac McGregor
01:03:21
73. Critical Therapy with Silvia Dutchevici
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72. The Trevor Project and Suicide Prevention for LGBTQ People
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71. Navigating the Digital World with Your Kids with Sarah Maynard
00:54:39
70. Bringing Curiosity to The Conversation
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69. Healing Your Mind, Body and Spirit To Reach Your Highest Potential with Jennifer Takagi
00:38:06
68. Your Message Can Change People’s Lives with Michelle Abraham
00:33:41
67. How To Be a Good Ally
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66. Building Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging into a Brand’s Core Values with Crystal Whiteaker
00:39:27
65. A Beacon of Authenticity for the Community and Allies Alike with Lisa Sugarman
00:56:43
64. Raising LGBTQ Allies with Chris Tompkins
00:58:50
63. The Journey of Self-Discovery Continues with Connor Hester
01:14:56
62. Unapologetically Me with Katie Miller
00:34:18
61. Be You; Do You with Sam Castle
00:50:07
60. Manifesting Your Desired Outcome with Candy Motzek
00:45:49
59. Show the World Your True Self with Rick Clemons
00:47:53
58. Removing Labels with Julie Ann Salisbury and Vicente Asaro
00:34:32
57. The Power of Being Present with Mia Moran
00:29:58
56. The Tao Te Ching Path to Self-Discovery with Jessie Kanzer
00:50:05
55. Talks that Save Lives with Jackie Simmons
00:54:03
54. The Importance of Inclusive Literature with Middle Grade Novelist, Greg Howard
00:59:03
53. Podapalooza
00:41:48
52. Surviving (and Thriving!) During the Holidays! 2021 Repost
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51. A Few Moments of Gratitude
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50. Aha Moments
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49. A Unique Journey Through LGBTQ History - An Interview with Robert Steele
00:40:06
48. Introducing Maxxie LaWow: Drag Super-Shero, An Interview with Anthony Hand
00:46:49
47. Talk About It! Suicide Prevention with Cara McNulty
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46. The Power of Connection - An Interview with Robbin McManne
00:47:40
45. Your Questions Answered!
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44. A Guide for Depression and Anxiety
00:31:07
43. Demystifying Pronouns
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42. An Interview with Trystan Reese: How We Do Family
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41. The History of Pride
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40. Let's Talk About Sex with Dr. David Huebner
01:04:23
39. How to Respond to Biphobia and 5 Common LGBTQ+ Myths
00:22:53
38. The Magic of Mindfulness with Andrew Jordan Nance
01:23:53
37. What Your Non-Binary Teen Wishes You Knew with Rae McDaniel
00:57:49
36. A Substance Use Primer with Richard Capriola
00:44:11
35. Tips for Responding to Non-Affirming or Unsupportive Family and Friends
00:21:19
34. Hard Days Suck
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33. A Gay Man's Guide to Life with Britt East
01:04:23
32. Parenting an LGBTQ Teen - Buckle Your Seatbelt!
00:27:36
31. How Do Hard Times Help Us Heal? An Interview with Kevin Nahai
01:26:45
30. How To Be A Good LGBTQ Ally
00:21:40
29. The Transgender Experience: One Woman's Journey
01:21:31
28. A Dad's Perspective - A Conversation with Steve
00:58:13
27. Struggling for 2020 Vision with Kirsten Beverley-Waters
00:59:21
26. Depression Awareness 101 with Maureen Kebo
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25. Understanding Transgender with Susan Buss, LCSW
00:58:36
24. Highs and Lows of Our Coming Out Journey
00:54:11
23. Connor Shares His Story - Part Three
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22. Connor Shares His Story - Part Two
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21. Connor Shares His Story - Part One
00:47:32
20. What Are These Boundaries You Speak Of?! An Interview with Diane Becker Part Two
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19. What Are These Boundaries You Speak Of?! An Interview with Diane Becker Part One
00:55:58
18. Raising Hell with Julie Ferwerda
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17. Differently Wired with Debbie Reber
00:58:09
trailer Just Breathe Podcast Trailer
00:03:38
16. When It Feels Scary
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15. 015 - Soul Not Skin with Jen Slumac
01:02:16
14. Protect Your Energy!
00:28:18
13. Help Your Teen Manage Their Anxiety with Dr. Melanie McNally
01:01:58
12. Faith Questions Answered Part 2 with Susan Cottrell
00:50:19
11. Faith Questions Answered with Susan Cottrell
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10. Understanding the Mental Health of Your LGBTQ Teen
00:32:36
9. A Powerful Call to End Teen Suicide with Jay Reid
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8. Self Care - The Ultimate Plan for Taking Care of YOU!
00:43:17
7. Hey Parents, This is What Your Teen Wants You to Know!
00:46:22
6. Finding a Support System that Works!
00:34:18
5. Tips for Surviving Crises During the Holidays
00:30:04
4. Parents, You Get a Process, Too!
00:33:13
3. Embracing the Messiness of it All!
00:31:57
2. Coming Out - It is a Process!
00:38:35
1. Welcome to Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen
00:28:33