A very lively and interesting talk by Silva Neves. The energy in the room was very enthused and engaged. Silva presented an overview of GSRD, challenging the heteronormative and mononormative social constructs and the impact this has an individual’s developing sense of self esteem, if who they are sits outside these narrow restraints of acceptability. Silva asked us to reflect on our very first crush and recall how wonderful this felt. He then asked us to consider what if this first crush was someone of the same gender? The confusion, the shame of “I must be bad” because the messages from society is that this is not ok. Noticing we have male/female parents, the media and tv only showing heterosexual couples, our school peers bullying anyone who is different, all subtly reinforcing heteronormativity.

Silva presented shocking statistics about the continued criminalisation of homosexuality in 67 countries today and how people in the UK have to remain hyper vigilant and fear judgement or attack, doing something like taking hold of their same sex partner’s hand in public. He reflected on increasing the awareness of therapists, so we do not unconsciously project heteronormativity and mononormativity onto our clients. For example assuming for instance, that an opposite sex couple, are heterosexual and monogamous.

Following the talk, I discovered this BACP article, authored by one of the academics Silva referenced,  Dr Meg-John Barker which explains GSRD in more detail and suggests recommended reading for each area


Silva presented a thought provoking talk, which was very well received. HACP will definitely be inviting him to return for a day training in the future.

Julie May