Sexual and Gender Identity Issues
All of the professionals at Counseling and Psychological Services are qualified to address the full range of concerns students bring to counseling. However, our counselors do have various areas of special interest or experience. Below is a list of our therapists who may be especially good matches for LGBTQ students.
If a situation is urgent and a particular counselor is not immediately available, it is generally not wise to delay seeking assistance. It is best to initiate treatment with a counselor who is more immediately available; students are always welcome to transfer to a different counselor at a later date.
Sexual and Gender Identity Team
Kori Bennett has been interested in how students make sense of their multiple identities, including those related to gender and sexuality since interning at Cal Poly Pomona’s Pride Center as an undergraduate student. Kori views the intentional honoring of the unique stories we each hold and being an ally as integral components of community-building, including working toward what author and activist Bell Hooks describes as a “place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope, and possibility.” Kori is particularly interested in trans/gender intersectionalities, polyamory/relationship orientation, and international gender and sexuality topics. Kori holds drop-in hours weekly in the Lerner 5 office.
Motoni began her training in LGBTQ affirmative psychotherapy during her year-long internship at the University of Oregon Counseling Center, where she helped create and co-led a support group for bisexual students. She has co-authored articles on assessment of sexual orientation and sexual identity development of Asian American adolescents, as well as taught a graduate seminar on LGBTQ mental health at Teachers College. Motoni is committed to promoting the emotional and physical wellbeing of LGBTQ students, as well advocating on behalf of LGBTQ students of color. Motoni is fluent in Japanese and Mandarin.
Sadi is a member of the LGBTQ community and has a passion for work that affirms those who are LGBTQ. She has experience working with LGBTQ students who are coming out, transitioning, exploring gender, seeking support, struggling with body image, and coping with relational issues. Her work seeks to affirm the person you are.
Wardeh has experience in working with LGBTQ+ persons who also face challenges with acculturation in the United States. She has facilitated support groups for LGBTQ+ people from the Middle East and North Africa. Her other interests involve work with persons from polyamorous/non-monogamous communities and kink-identified communities. Wardeh also works with persons navigating identities related to gender, sexuality, and Islam. She can understand Arabic at a basic level.
Adam has training in working with the LGBTQ community in various settings and has been involved in human rights work internationally. His experience includes issues related to sexual and gender identity, coming out, navigating relationships, stigma, and sexual health. Adam also has specialized experience within the community, including with gay men with HIV, individuals with substance abuse concerns, LGBTQ veterans, and individuals identifying within the Latino LGBTQ community. Adam seeks to create a safe and nonjudgmental space that allows students to feel accepted and openly explore concerns. He is fluent in Spanish.
Ernesto is part of the LGBTQ community and has experience working with LGBTQ individuals through both his clinical work and research. In his clinical work, he has been cognizant of the importance of intersectionality and how sexual orientation, gender identity, class, race and ethnicity, religion and spirituality impact the lived realities of those who identity as LGBTQ. Ernesto is committed to providing students with opportunities to discuss relationship concerns, coming out, identity development, intersection of identities, as well as finding opportunities for creating meaningful and authentic relationships. Ernesto is also fluent in Spanish.
Sherina Persaud is a member of the LGBTQ community and has experience working in sexual and reproductive health. Sherina believes that our various identities come together to create our unique experience of the world. She therefore aims to understand how these identities intersect for students as they navigate issues related to their gender and sexual identity. She is interested in working with students who are questioning their identities or are facing challenges related to being in the LGBTQ community in an academic setting. Sherina is fluent in Spanish.
James Pollock began his training in LGBTQ affirmative psychotherapy at the Institute for Human Identity, the oldest LGBTQ therapy center in New York City. Much of James’ clinical work and research has focused on sexual health, negotiating desire with safe sex, and understanding the association between substance use and sexual behavior. James regards with care the diversity of LGBT identities, recognizing that gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, ability, age, religion, class, and family of origin influence one’s experience with sexual orientation. James has extensive experience working with LGBTQ veterans.
Maggi has years of experience working with students who are in the process of coming out. As in all areas of self-expression, Maggi encourages students to find their own voice and become comfortable with who they are. She has experience helping students negotiate the often difficult journey they face in the coming out process with family. Maggi also enjoys working with gay and lesbian couples.
Addette is a member of the LGBTQ ally community and has a particular interest in working with students wanting to explore their multiple and intersecting identities to achieve an integrated sense of wholeness and wellbeing. Over the years, she has worked with individuals and couples who identify as trans and gender nonconforming.
Keoshia is interested in intersectionality and the role sexual and gender identity plays within this intersection. In Keoshia’s personal and clinical experiences she has noticed the challenges that comes with identifying as non-heterosexual. Specifically, how checking the “other” box can sometimes overshadow the additional and salient parts of oneself. For some and for Keoshia, religion, career identity, race, and personal endeavors become second or third to one’s sexual and gender identity. Working with students and student-athletes who are navigating through this process is not only a clinical interest of Keoshia, but also one in which she has experienced. She is passionate about helping students explore and gain insight into all identities, identifying strengths and overcoming struggles related to sexual and gender identity, as well as developing a sense of acceptance and compassion for themselves in the process.
From time to time, when there is sufficient student interest, we offer support groups and other special programs for LGBTQ students. We welcome hearing from student groups who would like to partner with us in developing programs to serve the LGBTQ community. Contact Associate Director for Outreach Anne Goldfield.