By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Diversity Center of Oklahoma will hold its 4th Annual Mental Health, Prevention & Education Symposium on Friday, June 8. The event will address best practices for “Bridging Intersectional Gaps In Gender Diverse & LGBTQ Communities.”
The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Eddie’s Ballroom, 930 East 2nd Street, in Edmond. The symposium will be located on the 1st floor. The vendor area will be located downstairs in the lobby outside of the large conference area, next to registration. Gender neutral restrooms will be available for guests.
“Gender Diverse and LGBTQ persons experience multiple forms of discrimination such as class, sexual orientation, ability, gender, and age,” said Kelley Blair, CEO and Executive Director of Diversity Center of Oklahoma Inc. “These barriers of discrimination intersect, and overlap, marginalizing and disenfranchising minority groups such as our gender diverse and LGBTQ communities and their families.
“We will have national and internationally recognized speakers who will discuss how these intersecting constructs do not exist independently of each other but are complexities that are interwoven,” Blair continued.
“These social stratifications intersect creating ‘gaps’ in their ability to access culturally sensitive and equitable medical and behavioral health services.”
The Diversity Center of Oklahoma opened its doors earlier this year on Feb. 12 at its new location at 2242 N.W. 39th Street.
“We are the first and only non-profit agency in the state to provide direct behavioral health services to Gender Diverse/LGBTQ communities and their families, as well as other disenfranchised and marginalized people of color,” Blair said.
The Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., evening and weekends by appointment only.
“We desire to empower the community through education. We educate practitioners that provide services direct services to gender diverse and LGBTQ persons,” Blair said. “All proceeds from the symposium go directly to the Diversity Center of Oklahoma’s Gender Diverse & LGBTQ Community Resource Center.”
DCO’s 4th Annual Gender Diverse & LGBTQ Symposium is partnering with leading clinicians and professionals in the field to provide a full day of training with the option of continuing education credit.
This year’s keynote speaker will be Ryan Thoreson J.D., a researcher in the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch. Thoreson will speak at 3:45 p.m. on “The Ethical and Legal Implications of Moral and Religious Exemptions in Healthcare.” His presentation will examine recent moral and religious exemptions, how they affect LGBT people, and how they square with ethical obligations in healthcare professions and with human rights commitments.
Morning speakers will include Rockey Robbins Ph.D. (Choctaw and Cherokee), an internationally renowned American Indian psychologist; Erica E. Anderson Ph.D., clinical psychologist, academic administrator, healthcare executive, professor, and consultant; and Shawna Lawlis M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Children’s Physicians in Oklahoma City.
Afternoon speakers will be Jerome Morales Lárez Ph.D., co-founder & board chair of Arttitude (Dallas/Fort Worth Area) and Sage Mauldin. MHR, Adjunct Professor of Human Relations in the Department of Human Relations and an Affiliate Faculty Member of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma;.
Topics to be covered during the symposium include: Health Disparities Among the Transgender Community, Conversion Therapy, Families and Aging LGBTQ Communities, Transgender Community and Families, and Helping Families Support their LGBTQ Youths.
“DCO works to provide gender diverse / LGBTQ education, prevention and resources directly to the community,” Blair said.
One of the primary goals of the Diversity Center of Oklahoma (DCO) is to increase the number of mental health professionals trained and experienced in providing quality treatment for gender diverse and LGBTQ populations through education.
Online pre-registration rate (general admission) without CEU’s (continuing education credits) which includes lunch is $50. Pre-registration rate for licensed professional seeking CEU’s, which includes lunch is $150. Pre-registration rate for students (show student ID at venue) is $35.
To register, become a sponsor, or for more information, call 405-252-0372 or visit diversitycenterofoklahoma.org.