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* The following is an update from the artist,
submitted on June 28, 2013:
It has been a long time goal of mine to start a support group for LGBTQ-abuse in the DV services that I work in. As often as the DV community has
acknowledged that this is an under-served population, there seems to have been little movement within existing DV programs to actually create LGBTQ-specific services. Funding is a barrier, space is a barrier, staff-resources are a barrier, etc.
Though I try to facilitate an environment of tolerance and respect for everyone in the open groups, there have been homophobic comments and heterosexual biases that have compromised the emotional safety of the group atmosphere. Haven Hills, the organization I currently work with, began holding networking meetings, staff trainings, community surveys, etc. to explore what it would take to launch an effective LGBTQ DV support group.
When the I CAN WE CAN project came about, I was offering the workshops in the support groups I lead and in the general community. We facilitated a workshop for our staff and volunteers and I created my I CAN hand to reflect my goal of creating a safe space for LGBTQ survivors to discuss their intimate partner violence.
In a beautiful coincidence, on the night of the San Pedro opening of the I CAN WE CAN exhibit, I got the official word that I could begin implementing the LGBTQ support groups. Though there is still a lot of work to do to advertise the program and expand the services, my I CAN is coming true!
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