Occupational (Therapy’s) Possibilities: A Queer Reflection on the Tangled Threads of Oppression and Our Collective Liberation

Can J Occup Ther. 2022 Dec;89(4):346-363. doi: 10.1177/00084174221129700.


This presentation stems from the work of occupational therapy and science scholars who have critically described how systems of dominance perpetuate health inequities and limit the occupational possibilities of those we aim to support. Liberation is discussed as a communal process and outcome of untangling, undoing, and reconfiguring systems of dominance that negatively impact health and limit the occupational possibilities of individuals, groups, and communities. In critically reflecting on my personal, professional, and ongoing journey toward liberation as a gay, white, able-bodied, man, I draw parallels between the systemic and intersecting oppressive forces that limit the occupational possibilities of historically marginalized groups and the need for our profession to consider its own liberation. Informed by queer theory, I question the binary discourses that separate the “Us” from the “Them,” illustrating how our struggles to transform practice based on anti-oppressive principles and the liberation of our full potential as occupational therapists must be tied to the liberation of the communities we aim to support. Drawing on lessons from liberation movements, I argue for the necessity of a representative and compassionate professional community to support collective action and to position the celebration of communal achievements as resistance and acts of gratitude.

PMID:36440582 | DOI:10.1177/00084174221129700

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