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Members of the queer community find benefits in emotional healing PDF Print E-mail
Written by JENNI O’NYONS   
Saturday, 23 April 2011 14:59

Success of first ‘Queertopia workshop’ means more for the future

The first Reverse Engineering Queertopia workshop took place in Calgary on April 12 with organizers expecting more in the future.

Local artists Keith Murray and Wednesday Lupypciw co-organized Reverse Engineering Queertopia. Murray describes it as “a group workshop with a premise of emotional healing and community renewal specifically geared towards the sexual or gender minority.”

Described by organizers in a press release as “a self-development group for sexual and gender minorities, the workshop allows individuals the self-expression to share their stories.”

Keith Murray and Wednesday Lupypciw were the co-organizers of the first Reverse Engineering Queertopia workshop in Calgary.
Photo courtesy of Keith Murray

Murray says the overall takeaway he wanted was for “participants to be able to find a deeper connection with one another and to heal deep wounds they may not be aware of.”

The pilot workshop took place April 12 and follow-up sessions will follow next month. Murray says that judging by the success and interest of the first workshop, another installment is sure to come in the fall.

He says he has “had it fairly easy” as a gender minority in a conservative city like Calgary. He says he is aware that there is an intense amount of pressure for young people forming an identity against the norm.

He says he feels lucky to have received adequate support in his own life, and wants to give back to others in the queer community who may not have been as fortunate.

However, Lupypciw has not always been so lucky and has suffered discrimination as a sexual minority in the past. She says she always liked the idea of offering an outreach for queer youth. She says she didn’t want the workshop to be a support group, as she has found that such groups “offer practical advice but do not explore the existential or sociopolitical.”

Lupypciw describes the goal of the workshops as “productively transgressive” and wants participants to gain “a sense of community and a sense of possibility.”

Beth Hedva, who has a PhD in psychology, became involved with Queertopia after being approached by Murray, who had previously attended one of her emotional healing and renewal sessions.

“By sharing our own stories, group participants discovered universal themes; no one liked being labeled and we all experience pain from feeling different, like we don't fit in or belong,” Heva says.

She adds that the need for emotional healing and renewal are not limited to the queer community.

“Every human suffers isolation," she says.