Meg-John Barker, former volunteer counsellor at London Friend
Meg-John was a volunteer counsellor at London Friend from April 2014 to March 2018.
Meg-John (they/them/their) or MJ for short is a queer therapeutic writer and author of Rewriting the Rules and a number of other books about sex, gender, and mental health, as well as Queer: A Graphic History and many other comic books and zines.
Meg-John was an academic psychologist and UKCP accredited therapist for many years before focusing on writing full time. They are an internationally recognised expert on gender, sexual, and relationship diversity (GSRD) and therapy, with numerous academic books and papers on the topics of bisexuality, open non-monogamy, sadomasochism, non-binary gender, and Buddhist mindfulness. They co-founded the journal Psychology & Sexuality and the activist-research organisation BiUK, through which they published The Bisexuality Report. They have advised many organisations, therapeutic bodies, and governmental departments on matters relating to gender, sexual, and relationship diversity (GSRD) including writing the BACP document on the topic.
We asked MJ to talk to us about their 4-year experience with London Friend as a volunteer counsellor and their work to advance awareness of the needs of bisexual and non-binary people.
"London Friend has such a dear place in my heart. I volunteered there as a counsellor for several years. It's where I learnt most about therapy - as well as a good deal about myself - from my amazing supervisor, from the other counsellors, and from many extraordinary people I worked with, who I still remember with much fondness.
I'm sure you'll hear this over and over again, but London Friend is deeply special for its friendliness! Every time I popped in, I was warmly greeted by staff who made it their business to learn about, and value, every single person who walked through the door.
It was a particularly affirming place to be as I navigated my early days of being out as trans.
Speaking as someone who has spent decades working towards bi and non-binary inclusion, London Friend is an LGBTQ+ space which is deeply welcoming in far more than name only, offering invaluable support for the most vulnerable people in our communities."
“What is the change you’d love to see in our community?”
The change I'd love to see in our community is even deeper kindness towards one another. We're living through such painfully polarized and alienating times. Can we refuse attempts to divide us and come together in solidarity, centring the needs of the most oppressed and traumatised in our midst? This is the ethics of friendship that London Friend embodies.
Explore and share MJ's work and resources. You can find more about them here
DOWNLOAD FREE BOOKS
These free books are collections of the posts and essays that MJ’ve written on various subjects over the years. They aim to update these books with any new writing on each topic every new year.
DOWNLOAD FREE ZINES
You are free to download these zines and use them for any purpose: teaching, workshops, use with clients, or self-exploration. If you find it helpful, and if you can afford to, please consider supporting MJ's patreon, or make a one-off donation to their paypal.
Watch Meg-John Barker TED Talk on Rewriting the Rules here
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