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Trans & Gender Non-Conforming Members of the Polyam Community Represent

Danielle Carlson photo
Danielle Carlson photo
Danielle Carlson, AMFT pronouns: she/her; they/them

by Danielle Carlson, AMFT

Back in May, I was fortunate to be part of a panel of trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) members of the polyam community at the 1st Annual Chicago Non-Monogamy conference. We got to talk about our own experiences of dating and being non-monogamous as non-binary people, and also had the chance to answer questions and offer advice to other polyam community members about dating TGNC people. There was also conversation about how cis people can unpack their privilege and support their TGNC partners.

On the heels of Pride month, I wanted to share a couple of the tips and advice that were shared by the panelists:

  1. Take care with pronouns. Make sure to ask someone’s preferred pronoun, rather than assuming it based on their appearance.
  2. Notice if in an attempt to understand someone you might be asking questions that are too personal or that rely too much on stereotypes. Try to be open to who they are, not what their labels might say about them.
  3. Trans and non-binary people’s bodies are often under scrutiny. Be respectful, and similarly to pronouns, don’t assume anything. Find out what terms and types of touch feel affirming for them, especially when related to gendered sex terms or areas of the body that are gendered by society, such as the chest. Like in any encounter, consent and communication are key!

The conversation was very generative and so much more was shared! I’m excited to see more panels like this at polyam conferences in the future.

About Danielle Carlson

Danielle Carlson is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist and has been practicing depth-oriented therapy at LifeWorks for almost 8 years. They have completed Level 1 of the Internal Family Systems training and their clinical work focuses on helping queer, poly, and kinky folks develop a more compassionate and authentic relationship to their parts. Their love for their work stems from feeling so much gratitude that they spend much of their day in meaningful human connection.

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