Brainbow: A Virtual Conference for Pride-Minded People

10am-5pm CST
Pajamas and Pets Welcome

July 31, 2021 ASL Accessible

Spend the day with us and explore a variety of topics along three tracks: Head, Hands, and Heart.

Scroll down for schedule, workshop descriptions, and presenter bios.

All workshops are ASL and hearing accessible.

Brainbow is presented by:

Three Tracks.

One Conference.

Let’s chat.

Head: discussing mental health issues and clinical considerations for therapists, counselors, and caregivers.

Hands: exploring issues related to interpreters and DeafQueer culture (RID and BEI CEUs provided).

Heart: Examine topics and issues affecting the Queer community as a whole

Check out this short video tour of our conference platform!

Conference Schedule

Scroll down for full workshop descriptions and presenter bios.

10:00-10:50 CSTFacilitating Gender Euphoria In Mental Health Settings
with Braden Weinmann
Interpreting Sexual Concepts
with Bethany Gehman
Trauma informed Call In/Call Outs
with Zandra Ellis
11:00-11:50 CSTExploring Religious Trauma in Queer Populations
with Sasa Vann
Self-Care for Queer Interpreters
with Lindsey Hall
Gender Evolution: Why Identity Language Matters
with Dr. Aiden Hirshfield
12:00-12:50 CSTQueer Immigration Issues and Resources
with Lindsey Warwick
Ethical Volunteering for Interpreters
with Tiffany Lloyd
When Your Friend is Suicidal
with Kerry Musico
1:00-1:50 CSTSupporting and Affirming DeafQueer Clients
with Bethany Gehman
Interpreting Protests and Rallies
with Monique Champagne
Curating Trauma-Informed Creative Spaces
with Bitsy la Bourbon
2:00-2:50 CSTSupporting and Affirming Queer AAPI Clients
with Vy Cao-Nguyen and Marijo Villano
Cultural Issues in Interpreting: Examining Biases and Assumptions
with Monique Champagne
Cancel Culture vs. Accountability Culture
with Dr. Karen McDowell
3:00-3:50 CSTSupporting and Affirming Queer Sex Worker Clients
with Madison Hurley
Interpreting in Triggering Situations
with Tiffany Lloyd
Current Legal Rights and Resources for Trans Folx
with Shelly Skeen
4:00-4:50 CSTHow Queer Mental Health Professionals can Navigate Shared Community Spaces
with Kitzia Moreno
Exploring Mental Health Settings and Perspectives for Interpreters with Dr. Karen McDowellPractical Tips for Coping When You’re Triggered
with Sidrah Khan

Workshop Descriptions and Presenter Bios

Supporting and Affirming Queer Asian American Clients (co-presented with Marijo Villano)

In this interactive and experiential presentation, you will be introduced to the unique struggles of queer Asian American clients and learn how to curate safe spaces that honor their intersectional identities.

 Vy Cao-Nguyen (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University. Vy has specialized training in multicultural issues, social justice advocacy, and diversity and equity. In her work as a therapist, assessor, and consultant, she strives to provide compassionate, trauma-informed services from a sex-positive and feminist framework. Vy has worked with young adults and adults at a variety of settings such as shelters, hospice, and a university counseling center. Vy believes that healing begins by fostering clarity and connection in relationships, and uses an emotion-focused and strengths-based approach to empower clients to grow. Never one to underestimate the power of art and nature, Vy enjoys incorporating creative elements into clients’ growth journeys. When she is not doing therapy, Vy may be found in the garden with her dogs or camping at the local craft store.

Interpreting Protests and Rallies
Cultural Issues in Interpreting: Examining Biases and Assumptions

This workshop (Interpreting Protests and Rallies) will outline specific techniques for interpreters to utilize when working at protests and rallies. We will discuss elements of interpreting relevant to pre-conferencing. considerations during and after the assignment. We will also discuss questions to consider before accepting assignments in this realm for personal consideration (i.e., boundaries, application of ethics). 

As interpreters, it is important to frequently assess our own biases and work to combat our contribution to systemic oppression. This workshop (Examining Biases and Assumptions) will provide participants with an opportunity to examine their own biases and assumptions made in their personal and work lives. Participants will explore their own identity variables and related values and beliefs. Participants will leave with an increased awareness of how to address their personal and professional biases in their own work.

Monique (she/her) has been working in the Deaf community since 2002. She has earned her M.A. in Counseling Psychology and holds counseling licensure (LPC- Licensed Professional Counselor) as well as state and national interpreting certifications (BEI-IV, NIC-Master). Monique has served her community in various roles (sign language interpreter, teacher, mentor, researcher, and mental health provider). Monique was born into the Deaf community by two Deaf parents and identifies with DeafHeart. She provides counseling services in both spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL). Learn more about Monique here.

Trauma-Informed Call-Ins/Call-outs

Calling in and calling out are important parts of justice work. But what happens when that strategy traumatizes or re-traumatizes marginalized people? In this workshop, Zandra Ellis (she/they) will discuss various ways to challenge problematic behaviors without causing further harm.

Zandra (she/they) is a Masters-Level Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and founder of Rise Above Counseling Services, a private practice and peer support group founded on the principle that sobriety is not boring. Zandra is also the lead substance abuse counselor and one of the co-founders of Foundation 45 in world-renowned Deep Ellum, a get-yo-life-coach, social activist and commentator, rabble-rouser, professional loud mouth, sex rights and sexual health advocate, and is dedicated to the idea of dismantling negative social systems.

Mental Health Issues Impacting the DeafQueer Community
Interpreting Sexual Concepts

Deaf individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, or queer face numerous significant barriers in accessing healthcare, especially mental healthcare. Their healthcare experience is more challenging than they need to be if interpreters do not evaluate their own biases with regard to LGBTQIA+ people and do not have the appropriate knowledge and vocabulary to impartially assist this unique group of patients. This training will provide professionals with a framework for incorporating LGBTQIA+ issues in their professional work, including respectful vocabulary, that will allow clients and their family members to feel comfortable in opening up to their healthcare provider, regardless of the situation.

This workshop (Interpreting Sexual Concepts) will prepare interpreters to address awkward, embarrassing, and uncomfortable situations appropriately in ways that do not interrupt Deaf client’s ability to fully receive information. Participants will exercise their sexual health interpreting skills, which will cover topics such as birth control, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, relationships, and more. Participants will also learn appropriate and effective tools to aid in becoming more comfortable with interpreting sexuality content.

Bethany Gehman (she/her) M.Ed., Founder and owner of jooux (Deaf Sexual Wellness Center) is an AASECT certified sexuality educator, with more than a decade of experience in providing caring, contentious, thoughtful sexual health and education services and professional trainings for educators and interpreters. Currently the Director of the Deaf, Deafblind, & Hard of Hearing Services at the Family Tree Clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota. Through experiencing her own barriers to sexual education and healthcare, it motivated her to get her masters in Human Sexuality Education. Bethany strives to listen, respond and collaborate with communities, seeking to eliminate the health disparities within the Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late-Deafened communities. Bethany is passionate about education and access to evidence based healthcare. By providing sexual health education for people of all ages, professional training, and promoting affirming and comprehensive sexuality education in Deaf K-12 academic programs. She is a firm believer that advocacy and education cannot happen without genuine connections and dismantling systems of oppression.

Supporting and Affirming Queer Sex-Worker Clients

This workshop aims to offer clinicians practical considerations for providing affirming, client-centered care while working with queer sex workers. This session includes a brief overview of current issues sex workers face, barriers to receiving inclusive mental health services, and recommendations for affirmative care. 

Madison (she/her) is a current Counseling Psychology doctoral Student at Texas Woman’s University. She is a therapist and graduate teaching assistant. She is particularly interested in sex positive feminism, fat liberation, and providing affirming mental health services for sex workers. Madison loves cats, planted aquariums, and reading romance novels.

Self Care for Queer Interpreters

This workshop will introduce participants to the true, complex meaning of self-care, which is often over simplified and implemented incorrectly. Together we will discuss why and how we, as queer sign language interpreters, may need to incorporate self-care directly in relation to our work. 

Lindsey Hall (she/her) graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in theatrical performance in 2011.  She later graduated in 2015 from Tarrant County College with a degree in Sign Language Interpreting.  She holds an Advanced Certification from the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters and has been working in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for about 6 years. She has worked in several settings, from higher education to community to VRS.  When she’s not interpreting, she co-leads Sundown Collaborative Theatre, a non-profit theatre company based out of Denton, TX, and loves working with her fellow company members to create unique opportunities for actors and artists in the area. As a human with anxiety, she is on a never ending path of discovery with coping skills and self-care, and is thrilled to be able to share some of what she’s learned so far. 

Gender Evolution: Why Identity Language Matters

In this session, Dr. Aiden Hirshfield (he/they) will help participants explore the ever-changing world of identity language. Based on his extensive background researching gender identity and psychological wellness, Dr. Hirshfield will introduce new ideas for personal insight and community support.

Dr. Hirshfield (he/they) is a consultant, researcher, mentor and educator who has been involved with The Gracious Mind since 2015. He holds a a PhD in Media Psychology and has more than a decade of professional experience in media research, production, and consulting with much of his work focused on gaming, user experience (UX), gender + sexuality, and immersive technology. As a TGNC and Queer-identified professional, Aiden is committed to promoting equity, inclusion, and better representation of marginalized communities in media and tech.  Learn more about Aiden here.

Practical Tips for Coping When You’re Triggered

Triggers can come out of nowhere, and end up making a big ol’ mess out of your day! In this class, Sidrah will help participants understand why triggers happen, and provide useful tips for coping that you can implement immediately. Whether you are a trauma survivor yourself, work with survivors, or love a survivor, this workshop is for you!

Sidrah (she/her) is an Associate Counselor who persistently dismantles the injustices built into the framework of our society that directly affect AAPI, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and neurodiverse individuals. Through a person-centered framework, Sidrah provides counseling and education that center on the individual experience and the authentic relationships we create. The journey towards healing can be challenging, but it’s a journey we can go on together.

Curating Trauma-Informed Creative Spaces

Bitsy La Bourbon (she/her) is a self-described “Performance Activist,” a performer that uses their skills to activate discussion and positive progress in their community at large. Her topics have ranged from drug abuse, to bisexual visibility, to street harassment, and rape-culture. She has worked with many theaters, organizations, and nonprofits in various mediums.

After establishing the rape awareness campaign “More Than “NO,” ” she created “Cabaret Con-Sensual”, a live, monthly show where survivors of sexual assault and their allies can explore their frustrations and healing through performance in a fun, sex-positive, supportive atmosphere. In 2019, she hosted More Than “NO”‘s first retreat, Rainbow Revive, alongside Dr. Karen McDowell.  The retreat focused on Queer survivors of sexual assault healing from trauma.  Bitsy is currently working on More than “NO”‘s next retreat, for which she received a grant from The Effing Foundation for Sex-Positivity.  Bitsy holds a BA from UCLA in Theatre and performs regularly in Los Angeles.

Interpreting in Triggering Situations
Ethical Volunteering for Interpreters

This workshop (Interpreting in Triggering Situations) will focus on how to manage your emotions and navigate interpreting situations that are triggering. We will evaluate the different types of triggers there are (internal and external) and learn coping skills and tools to be able to approach these delicate situations.

This workshop (Ethical Volunteering for Interpreters) will focus on how to manage your emotions and navigate interpreting situations that are triggering. We will evaluate the different types of triggers there are (internal and external) and learn coping skills and tools to be able to approach these delicate situations.

Tiffany Lloyd (she/her) is a graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language and Theatre. She later attended and graduated from Tyler Junior College with a degree in Sign Language Interpreting and an ASL skills certificate. She currently lives and works in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has an Advanced Certification from the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters. Tiffany is passionate about education, intersectionality, inclusion, equality, justice, and how it all relates to mental health. She strives to find ways to uplift and invest in the interpreting community and beyond.

Exploring Mental Health Settings and Perspectives for Interpreters
Cancel Culture vs. Accountability Culture

This workshop is designed for interpreters and mental health professionals who may utilize interpreters. Dr. McDowell will provide an overview of interpreting issues that are unique to mental health settings, including exploring types of settings and services, ethical issues, and integrated perspectives of consumers, clinicians, and interpreters.

Dr. Karen McDowell (she/her) is a licensed psychologist and Creative Director at The Gracious Mind. In addition to her doctorate in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in social justice issues, she holds a master’s degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in Education of the Deaf, a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences, and an associate’s degree in Multimedia Technology. She was a licensed interpreter for more than 20 years, including BEI and NIC certifications, and is a former high school and college-level educator. Learn more about Karen here.

How Queer Mental Health Professionals can Navigate Shared Community Spaces

As a Queer mental health professional, navigating community spaces can be tricky. In this workshop, Kitzia will explore ways that professionals can continue to enjoy community spaces while honoring client privacy and boundaries.

Kitzia Moreno (she/her) is a Doctoral psychologist-in-training, earning her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University. As a relational, person-centered therapist, she believes it is an honor to hear clients’ personal stories and walk with them on their healing journey. Kitzia has training in trauma-informed practices and multicultural counseling; however, she believes that the client is the expert in their own life. Kitzia has considerable experience working with survivors of trauma and LGBTQ+ identity development.

Kitzia es bilingüe. Entiende las diferencias culturales y las barreras que existen para encontrar servicios en español. Su enfoque multicultural le brinda la oportunidad de conectar más profundamente con sus clientes.

When Your Friend is Suicidal

Knowing that someone you care about is suicidal can be difficult, stressful, and downright terrifying. In this workshop, Kerry will provide tangible tips for supporting friends and family members, responding to cries for help, and accessing resources for yourself and others.

Kerry Musico (she/her) is a crisis specialist in the North Texas area and has extensive training in suicidology and clinical intervention for self-harm. She has worked in mental health for 12 years and has conducted workshops on mental health wellness and suicide prevention. Kerry is currently the Crisis Program Manager for Texoma Community Center. 

Kerry is also the Artistic Director for Mustache Envy Drag and Queerlesque, one of the longest running monthly performance shows in DFW, which promotes queer expression, gender advocacy, and body celebration. 

Current Legal Rights and Resources for Trans Folx

Shelly Skeen (she/her) is a Senior Attorney for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving the full recognition of civil rights for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV.

With twenty years of experience as a practicing attorney, Shelly brings to Lambda Legal her experience as a seasoned litigator, mediator, trial advocacy instructor, and appellate practitioner.  Shelly has served as the Chair, Vice Chair, and Council Member of the LGBT Law Section for the State Bar of Texas and President and Vice-President of the Dallas LGBT Bar Association.  She has been a frequent speaker and author on a variety of LGBT related topics, including the retroactivity of Obergefell, First Amendment, public accommodations laws, and LGBTQ family law and estate planning.  Shelly has served on boards of nonprofits, including as a founding member of, and Co-Chair for the Policy & Advocacy Committee for the “Coalition for Aging, LGBT” and for “Legal Aid of Northwest Texas.”  Shelly has been involved in Texas-based Name and Gender Marker Change Legal Clinics, organized numerous fundraising and volunteer events, and is currently serving a three year term on the State Bar of Texas CLE Committee.  Last year, she earned her LL.M. from UCLA School of Law with specializations in Constitutional Law and Law and Sexuality (LGBTQ Law). 

Exploring Religious Trauma in Queer Populations

Join us in a conversation about religious and spiritual trauma experienced within the queer community. Learn meaningful language to create safe and affirming therapeutic spaces. Explore your biases around navigating spiritual violence and leave with resources and thought-provoking questions to examine on your own. 

Sasa (she/her) holds two master’s degrees, and is currently earning a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. She is a SUCCESS Mentor Program graduate assistant, a therapist, and a mental performance consultant. 

Supporting and Affirming Queer Asian American Clients (co-presented with Vy Cao-Nguyen)

In this interactive and experiential presentation, you will be introduced to the unique struggles of queer Asian American clients and learn how to curate safe spaces that honor their intersectional identities.

Marijo Villano (she/her) is an advanced doctoral trainee earning a degree in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University. She works to create a safe, trauma-informed space to help clients freely and creatively explore themselves and their world. Marijo believes that experiencing safety in relationships, including with the self, can be the key to living an authentic and healing life. Marijo also believes in the strengths and resilience that people hold that not only help them survive, but thrive. She has experience working with trauma ranging from racial, sexual, complex, and familial. She also has experience in working with AAPI issues, relationship issues, and work/career related issues. When Marijo isn’t in session with clients, you can find her hiking, watching anime, exploring different food scenes, or changing the layout of her island in Animal Crossing!

Exploring Queer Immigration Issues and Resources

Lindsey will be discussing issues facing Queer immigrants and refugees, discussing options of immigration and seeking asylum, and providing resources (legal, governmental, and advocacy).

Lindsey Warwick (she/her) holds a Master of Science in Counseling and has been in clinical practice for four years, and is currently completing a Ph.D. in Counseling Education and Supervision. She holds both LPC Associate and LMFT Associate licenses, under the supervision of Don Zablosky, LPC-S, LMFT-S. Lindsey is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, a trauma-processing intervention, and works from a gestalt-existential lens. Her work focuses on the present moment and helping clients explore their own meaning-making. Learn more about Lindsey here.

Facilitating Gender Euphoria In Mental Health Settings

In this session, Braden (they/he) will talk about the differences between gender dysphoria and euphoria, provide rationale for clinicians to facilitate gender euphoria with clients in clinical work, and provide suggested strategies and considerations for exploring where a client might discover their euphoria.

Braden (they/he) is a therapist at The Gracious Mind. Their primary passion in counseling is holding space for clients to be deeply curious about their identity, particularly regarding sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression. They enjoy providing counseling with an emphasis on relational dynamics, emotional expression, honesty, and authenticity.  Learn more about Braden here.