Queer Ethos in Art Therapy
Artist. Art therapist. Activist. What is the relationship between these identities held by the author, and what is their significance to Queer approaches in art therapy? This is the central question the author, as a Queer art therapist, interrogates in this chapter. Engaging in critical, art based inquiry, this researcher addresses the historic and contemporary engagement of the art therapy profession with the Queer community in terms of training, practice, and research, pointing to specific ways art therapy has reified material and symbolic forms of oppression and, in turn, caused harm to Queer practitioners and clients. Centering collaborative and individual art making focused on quilting, comics, and other fiber crafts, the author engages in a reflective, intersectional exploration of Queer experience, ultimately proposing the practice of Queering art therapy as a political act. Specifically, the author challenges the American Art Therapy Association’s alignment with Karen Pence and the role of this partnership in affirming anti-LGBTQ+ federal legislation implemented by the Trump/Pence administration. Queer Ethos in Art Therapy is a call to action for art therapists to push the field toward a truly inclusive space for Queer people through centering Queer voices and experiences.