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I’m not a Lesbian but … my girlfriend is 1997 Over 12 years, Ellen DeGeneres has burst through gender limitations in stand-up comedy She wins Showtime’s.

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Presentation on theme: "I’m not a Lesbian but … my girlfriend is 1997 Over 12 years, Ellen DeGeneres has burst through gender limitations in stand-up comedy She wins Showtime’s."— Presentation transcript:

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2 I’m not a Lesbian but … my girlfriend is

3 1997 Over 12 years, Ellen DeGeneres has burst through gender limitations in stand-up comedy She wins Showtime’s Funniest Person in America Prize, People’s Choice Award and an Emmy for her own sit-com tv show “Ellen” As speculation builds she avoids press and career opportunities… and then finally comes out on “Oprah” She becomes the subject of a national split of comment, criticism and praise. She and Oprah receive death threats in a highly vociferous right wing religious backlash

4 Astonished at the vitriol received by Ellen, President Bill Clinton puts his weight behind LG issues as a Human Rights priority Meanwhile the tabloids report that shortly after coming out Ellen meets film actress Anne Heche at a party. Within 24 hours, Anne declares her love for Ellen. It’s Anne’s first relationship with a woman. In 1998, Ellen says publicly she would rather die than live without Anne. They finish each others’ sentences and “think with one mind”. They plan children.

5 While Ellen wins awards for activism and human rights work, professional awards disappear from her calendar Ellen’s advertising sponsors cancel due to “family oriented concerns” Anne is no longer considered castable as a romantic lead and only gets supporting roles The once high rating “Ellen” series is dropped as having content which can only appeal to a minority audience

6 2000 Anne begins to reveal a tragic family history to the press. Her Baptist preacher father died of AIDS contracted from male prostitutes. Her mother has become a “reparative therapist”. Anne suddenly leaves Ellen. She says she has been living through an alter ego as protection from childhood abuse. She marries a cameraman and never talks to Ellen again.

7 Together Consider these terms used by LesBi women about LesBi relationships U-Haul Syndrome“UHS” Urge to Merge“UM” Brainless Sameness“BS” Lesbian Bed Death“LBD” Late Onset Lesbianism“LOL” Stay-at-home Dommed“SAD” Scarey Scarcity“SS” Do they have any real bearing on the relationships of female couples who seek therapy?

8 Together What factors might influence some GSD couples committing very shortly after meeting? What factors might influence not committing? In what ways are different kinds of GSD partnerships even more likely to be unrecognised and devalued? How might these issues surface and be addressed in therapy with individuals, couples, partners or families?

9 Together What could be behind lesbian, or other GSD, couples more typically coming to therapy if their sex-life has cooled off, compared to vanilla, heterosexual couples? In Pairs What empathy or judgments do you experience when clients present different aspects of sex and relationships such as: In/Fidelity  Open Relationship  Multiple Partners High/Low Drive  Autoeroticism  Celibacy/Asexuality Fixed/Fluid Gender Identity  Fixed/Fluid Orientation Inhibition  Un/Disinhibition  Exhibitionism  Voyeurism Role Play  BDSM  Vanilla  Paraphernalia  Dress Up

10 Together What additional pressures are there on gay, lesbian, bi and trans people to stay in relationships after they have broken down? What further complex dynamics impact a GSM person who is being subjected to Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault from their partner(s)? Might a person from a GSM need extra support to leave an abusive relationship? What kind of support can a therapist offer?

11 Exploration with Couples Consider how assumptions of sameness can deny or exaggerate power imbalances and disparity of needs between same-sex partners Individual Needs and Quotas of ConversationAffectionVariationSex SolitudeSocialisingStatusFun StimulusCaloriesTidinessSleep Different Demands and Assets of MoneyStructureHonesty SecurityHealthIndependence DisclosureFamily SupportEducation

12 Exploration with Couples With a partner, consider a point of friction in your close relationship(s), or a relationship where you have friction. Does friction occur over: Different Needs and Quotas of ConversationAffectionVariationSex SolitudeSocialisingStatusFun StimulusCaloriesTidinessSleep Different Demands and Assets of MoneyStructureHonesty SecurityHealthIndependence DisclosureFamily SupportEducation How can you communicate your different needs, wants, endowments in a non-defensive, non-judging way? How can you be more sensitive or tolerant to the other person’s different needs, wants and assets?

13 This presentation is offered to trainees of BeeLeaf Institute and Pink Therapy as revision material. The music and pictures are included in good faith that they will not be copied or distributed. Anyone who wishes to use these slides for training purposes or to share with colleagues should in the first instance contact Pam Gawler-Wright on


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