Beck Gee-Cohen has a passion for trans issues—and by that, he means talking the greater community through how they can fix their “issues” with trans people. “I identify as transgender,” he says. “And when I talk to clinicians, I explain to them: It’s not us, it’s you.”
Listen to Beck’s first show on our podcast: Gender Matters.
Listen to Beck’s second show on our podcast: The Language of Gender.
Sure, Beck has a personal connection to issues of gender and sexuality. But his background has also afforded him a wealth of experience and skills to further the trans conversation in this country. “I’ve been working with the LGBT population for a long time,” he says. “My passion is with the trans community and helping clinicians, therapists, and the world to know more about trans people.”When he’s talking to an audience on how clinicians can better help their trans clients in addiction treatment (he’s a regular NCAD presenter), he can tell it’s a controversial topic—because not everyone wants to talk about it. But overall, Beck says it’s less about the mistakes you make in speaking the wrong way and more about being open to learning a different and better way. “I wanted to give a voice to the trans community, and that begins by not being afraid to start that conversation,” he says.
Whether he’s talking to professionals at prisons, schools, or treatment facilities, the message about how we can better serve the trans community is clear: Language is powerful. But the healing starts in speaking out. “This is such a traumatized community, and we need to talk about it,” he says. “We need to start asking questions: Why are they hypervigilant? What are they angry? Why are they scared? Because the world around us is scary.”
Beck’s role at MHNR is evolving, and we’re excited to explore more issues that delve into the intricacies of gender and sexuality. Stay tuned for more conversations on the chasm that exists between male and female and how clinicians can better help those clients, who often feel trapped in a world that doesn’t know their name. “Let’s get beyond the semantics of he/she,” says Beck. “It’s really not that difficult. We’re all just people.”