As we conclude Pride Month, it is important to remain committed to its values of inclusivity, compassion and the lifting up of voices all year round, especially as societal and judicial forces continue to undermine these values as seen in today’s Supreme Court ruling limiting protections for the LGBTQ+ community. Today we are inspired and proud to spotlight some of our learners from across Pacifica:
- Marieke Cahill (HMC graduate & current student in Jungian & Archetypal Studies)
- Fran Varian (Depth & Creativity)
- Minh Tran (Counseling grad and current student in Integrative Therapy & Healing Practices)
- Eduardo Viezca (Integrative Therapy & Healing Practices)
Read more about them and their stories below. Additionally, please stay tuned for upcoming details about a Pride event planned in August to coincide with Santa Barbara’s Pacifica Pride week.
Marieke Cahill (they/them), 2023 Graduate M.A. Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life, with Emphasis on Depth Psychology; Currently in M.A./Ph.D Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Jungian and Archetypal Studies
“I was a late bloomer in my awareness of my sexuality and gender, coming out when I was in my mid-30s. My first Pride was the huge celebratory parade and gathering in West Hollywood, California where I gave out “queer mom” hugs (and got some of my own). My first Pride after the Covid quarantines was a small gathering in my neighborhood of Sunland in the Foothills of Los Angeles. We stood at the corner of a park, waving flags and making our presence known in an area of town that is not known for being inclusive. The next year, I participated in planning the first official Pride event in Sunland, including speakers, performances, and more. My child (pronouns it/its) had just come out a few months before at age 8, and we had faced many challenges in our community and at its school. We spoke together at the event about the importance of support for queer and trans kids and how to practice using people’s correct pronouns. Pride is essential to bolstering the queer community and in helping my child and I know we are not alone in our journeys.
While at Pacifica, I found my calling for queering depth psychological ideas, or rather, identifying the queer already within them. Using Jungian Arts-Based Research and autoethnographic methods, my work centers on sharing my experiences in such a way that spectators are invited in so they can see we are not so different, but that the differences are beautiful and reflective of our humanity. My work has led to opportunities for publication, including an article in a forthcoming collected volume by Routledge, and opportunities to present professionally. Most recently I was asked to give a seminar in 2024 with the International Association of Jungian Studies. My goal in my depth psychological work is to expand the awareness of the queer in Depth Psychology so queer people’s experiences are understood and respected throughout the field, from arts and culture to the therapy room.”
Fran Varian, student in M.A. in Depth Psychology & Creativity (second year)
“Hello, my name is Fran Varian, and I am a queer femme activist and writer completing my master’s degree in Depth Psychology and Creativity this winter. I have curated, toured, and performed in many queer artistic spaces throughout North America for the past twenty-five years. My activism primarily focuses on fighting for the health care and human rights of all queer people, especially our trans and nonbinary family, who are currently experiencing disturbing attacks on their civil liberties and well-being. Upon completing the program, I plan to open a creative and spiritual healing practice focusing on depth psychology, ritual, and somatics to help my many intersecting communities find relief and resilience from the trauma of increasing oppression and second-class citizenship. I also plan to start a depth psychology-inspired writing and performance group for queer youth and allies. I have been published in Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation and several anthologies edited by former Sister Spit creator Michelle Tea. I have previously taught at the Bent Queer Writing Institute in Seattle.”
Minh Tran, graduate of M.A. Counseling Psychology and current student in the Integrative Therapy & Healing Practices Ph.D. program (dissertation phase)
“I, Minh Tran, identify as a gay man of color. Since before becoming a depth psychotherapist, I was already working in community mental health at various LGBTQ+ centers in LA and Orange Counties, including the Orange County LGBTQ+ Center, and the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team.
I believe Pride is about being proud of one’s self and one’s uniqueness, as well as a celebration of the uniqueness of our LGBTQ+ community.
Queerness is always a part of my work in the world. My ‘musical-lectures’ tour this year at various professional and academic conferences is a queering of edification and entertainment.”
Eduardo Viezca, Student in the Integrative Therapy & Healing Practices program (dissertation phase)
Reflections on gay pride month:
“As I reflect on gay pride month, I can’t help but reflect on the queer women-of-color, especially the ancestors, who have paved the way for me within academia and the world at large. Being in the throes of the fourth year of the PhD journey—deep in the trenches of dissertation land—I am taken back to the queer women who ignited the engine to my healing journey in the depths, or my individuation as Jung called it. These queer women of color had the audacity to imagine a more just, humane, and less fragmented world, especially for queer and other oppressed kin, those standing on the peripheries. Family.
My initiation into the enchanting world of academia began roughly fifteen years ago when I was introduced to the critical thought of Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, and many other brilliant queer women of color. Through the powers of documentary filmmaking and literature, I was introduced to the poiesis and ferocity of James Baldwin, I bore witness to how Angela Davis transmuted rage and grief into a soothing medicinal balm and learned how trans sisters of color like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera engaged in critical praxis from the streets, lo cotidiano. Fifteen years later, roughly 100 pages into my dissertation manuscript, my dissertation research is taking me back—rather synchronistically— to the queer, third-world women of color scholarship that spring-boarded me into my training as a healer in the academe.
My dissertation research explores the thinking of radical third-world feminists like Gloria Anzaldua and how their scholarship, weaved alongside Jungian and decolonial studies could aid in creating a more sustainable psychological praxis that is congruent with what some indigenous communities in the U.S. call right relation or what indigenous groups in Latin America describe as a world where many worlds fit. I am currently holding the tension of the opposites, caught in a pressure cooker between the Jungian and the decolonial, working on the emergence of a more wholistic third.
This moment in my life has me in the throes of a full-circle moment. Like the hermeneutic circle, I am coming back to myself. I am thankful to the queer ancestors who walk with me, my cultural ancestors, and those who were well versed in the path of healing. I am also grateful to the ancestors who, by standing up for humanity through courageous acts of dissent, harnessed a fire that can aid in alchemizing collective pain. We are who our ancestors dreamed of. Here’s a toast to gay pride month and our continued pursuits of collective liberation.”
Eduardo identifies as queer and uses the pronouns he, him and they. He is a happily married love coach, couple’s therapist, and initiate of the Q’eqchi’ Maya priesthood. Eduardo specializes in working with queer, multicultural couples and provides spiritual coaching to those seeking healthy, sustainable, long-term romantic connection. His interests lie within the intersections of decoloniality and reclaiming ancestral practices as a form of cultivating love. Earlier this year Eduardo traveled to Guatemala where he engaged in a series of initiations as part of his path for the Q’eqchi’ Maya priesthood and had the honor of doing a fire ceremony in the sacred land of Tikal with the holders of the lineage during the Maya New Year. He is also completing his dissertation in Jungian and decolonial psychologies at Pacifica and hopes to defend next year. Eduardo can be reached at Eduardo.Viezca@my.pacifica.edu.