WHO WE ARE
The Los Angeles Gender Center provides an environment of support, understanding, and safety while helping people explore issues of gender and sexuality. We specialize in gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, sexuality, relationships, and intimacy. We collaborate with our clients to embrace the challenges and to celebrate the richness of exploring the multiple facets of their lives.
In 1992, Marie Keller and her colleagues were inspired to found the Los Angeles Gender Center in response to a need for culturally sensitive counseling for transgender individuals and communities. LAGC continues to expand by providing more services for people with diverse genders and sexualities.
In 2007, we created our Child and Adolescent Program, which serves gender diverse youth and their families. This program has grown rapidly and is well known for the expertise of our counselors and the sensitive care we provide to our young clients. Our Child and Adolescent Program is based on a comprehensive model that includes families, schools, youth agencies, and medical providers. For medical consultations and interventions, we collaborate with Dr. Johanna Olson, the Director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Childrenís Hospital of Los Angeles.
LAGC and its therapists are experts in the field and are often called upon to offer trainings for professionals and institutions, including medical schools, graduate and undergraduate programs at universities, workplace settings, hospitals, shelters, and mental health centers. LAGC is currently an APA and BBS approved provider of continuing education credit for Psychologists, MFTs, LCSWs and LPCCs. With over 20 years of experience, we have a deep commitment to advocacy and the empowerment of transgender individuals and communities.
People come to the Los Angeles Gender Center to achieve peace with themselves and to better understand and support their loved ones. They continue to discover that LAís first center for the exploration of gender and sexuality has the experience, expertise, and understanding they need.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We envision gender and sexuality as independent but intersecting aspects of identity. For each person, gender identity and sexual identity are as unique as a fingerprint or a human face. Gender identity, which is the deeply felt internal sense of oneself as a woman, a man, both, neither, or other is integral to how we experience ourselves in the world. Gender expression is the way we convey who we are, often through clothing, behavior, hair, and other physical characteristics. Sexual orientation is the nature of oneís physical and emotional attraction to another. Sexual identity is the sense of self that develops based on oneís orientation. Sexual orientation is often confused with gender identity or gender expression, and, although related, is a separate element of identity.
For individuals, the elements of gender and sexuality are sometimes fixed and sometimes fluid. Most of humanity lies somewhere between or outside of the binary extremes. Most of the pain associated with gender and sexuality comes from a society that lacks adequate language and concepts to describe the diversity of lived experience. At LAGC, we celebrate the richness, creativity, depth, and vitality that diversity brings. We appreciate that each personís journey is unique, and this idea is integral to our work.
ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
Marie Keller, Ph.D. | Founder, Board of Directors Chairperson
I am the Founder of the Los Angeles Gender Center. For over 25 years, I have worked with people who are transgender or whose experience of gender is outside of the culture-bound gender binary. These relationships have expanded my understanding of gender and deepened my appreciation for its diversity of expression. The categories developed in western culture for conceptualizing this complex aspect of identity have been narrow and detrimental to people of gender diverse experience, as well as, society as a whole.
Graduate studies in Mythology and Depth Psychology have given me an appreciation for the ways other cultures, through time and around the world, include, value, and celebrate gender diversity. Exploring these different ways of conceptualizing human experience serves to highlight the deficits in our binary system while opening up new and creative possibilities for better understanding the real complexities of life.
My vision for the Los Angeles Gender Center has been to affect both the lives of our clients and our therapists by being a place of safety and growth for all of us. In addition, my hope is that LAGC can be a responsible agent of societal change. I value the counseling and support we provide to the clients we see, as well as the trainings we deliver to other professionals, educational institutions, and workplaces.
All people have the right to be themselves, receive equal treatment and be safe, develop loving relationships of their own choosing, and have supportive communities in which to reside. People of gender diverse experience often suffer great social injustice in the realms of employment, housing, healthcare, spiritual sustenance, and other basic necessities. Over the course of the last few decades, we have witnessed many encouraging advancements in understanding, acceptance, and legal protections. Hopefully, through continued efforts and collaborative alliances with one another, the coming years will yield even greater gains for transgender communities. Through counseling, education, and advocacy, the Los Angeles Gender Center is proud to participate in this social change.
I am a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). I have been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 1982. (MFT16943).