FeaturesGayest & Greatest 2021

Gayest & Greatest 2021: Health and Beauty Part I

Nakita Bowman’s mental-health practice empowers queer people of color.

Nakita Bowman (photo by Photo by KB of Emporium House)

Best Nonbinary Mental Health Therapist

Do you know any nonbinary therapists who have performed as a drag king, studied mechanical engineering, and once had a career in professional women’s football—playing and winning national championship games?

Let us introduce you to Nakita Bowman—this year’s Gayest & Greatest Best Nonbinary Mental-Health Therapist. 

Bowman (also known as local drag performer Sir Debon Aire) officially began their therapy practice two years ago, but had been doing paraprofessional counseling with young people since 2009 through the Tackle Your Dreams Youth Foundation. As a full-fledged therapist, their current clientele ranges in age from 17 to 65, mostly from Hispanic or African diaspora backgrounds, and primarily from queer communities. 

With a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Bowman brings an analytical mind to their practice by finding a process that works and then fine-tuning it. “With my clients who have social anxiety, I utilize the scientific method to form a hypothesis about what’s going to happen in the future, and then [we] test that hypothesis out. From there, we figure out what happened. Then we come back and test it again to see how we can better the process. It limits their anxiety over time.”

Companionship is a part of what Bowman offers as a therapist. “I walk with you to determine what needs to go, what needs to stay, what relationships, habits, and behaviors are serving you, and what behaviors are no longer serving you. I work to empower you to make those decisions for yourself. Sometimes clients have to borrow my faith as I help them to develop their own [faith] in themselves, and in their ability to make decisions.” 

In the course of the counseling sessions, Bowman might engage pop-culture references, drawing from shared experiences in TV, movies, or music. “I call myself a Pop Culture Mental Counselor, or PCMC.”

When asked about their pronouns, Bowman responds, “All of them. I like the journey of people figuring out who they’re talking to, and what energy they’re receiving from me.” 

Bowman wants to be visible as a nonbinary Black therapist. “Diversity matters. The courage I get on days when I don’t want to do anything—I have my own depression and anxiety I’m dealing with—I know that just showing up means the world to another person. I hope that in showing up I inspire someone else to show up as well. Their existence is important to the world’s population. I hope to make my brothers and sisters proud with the way that I’ve been showing up. I really appreciate the opportunity to serve the community.” 

For more info, visit tackleurdreams.com.


Best Female Eye Doctor

Nancy Lo
Finalists: Juliet Farmer, Michelle Hung, Christine Tyler

Best Male Eye Doctor

Paul Lovero
Finalists: Bimal Patel, Scott Sawyer, Stewart Zuckerbrod

Best Community Health-Services Provider

Legacy Community Health 
Finalist: Avenue 360 Health & Wellness, St. Hope Foundation

Best Fertility Clinic

Aspire Fertility
Finalist: Houston Fertility Institute

Best Foot Doctor

Vanessa Barrow
Finalist: Neda Mehmandoost

Best Female Physician

M. Sandra Scurria
Finalists: Jennifer Feldman, Julia Kovacs, Natalie Vanek

Best Male Physician

Gordon Crofoot
Finalists: James Carroll, Abel Flores, R. Todd O’Neal

Best Female Physician’s Assistant/Nurse Practitioner

Maggie White
Finalist: Christine Wysong

Best Male Physician’s Assistant/Nurse Practitioner

Derek Smith 
Finalist: Donnie Harvey

Favorite Female Nurse

Christina Wells
Finalist: Kandice Webber

Favorite Male Nurse

Adam Sirico
Finalists: AJ Sarabia, Robert Vasquez 

Best Male Psychiatrist

Daniel Garza
Finalists: Barry Gritz, Chad Lemaire, Jim Simon, ks Stanley

Best Male Mental-Health Therapist

Ty David Lerman 
Finalists: Tony Aucoin, Daniel Garces, Jeffrey Myles, Ryan Viviano

Best Nonbinary Mental-Health Therapist

Nakita Bowman
Finalist: Thomas Oswley

Best Female Mental-Health Therapist

Tara Bates (tie), Denise O’Doherty (tie)
Finalists: Jessica Eisaman, Megan Mooney

Best Male Mental-Health Therapist/Psychologist

Denis “Woodja” Flanigan

For a full list of winners, go here.

This article appears in the October 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.


Neil Ellis Orts

Neil Ellis Orts is a writer living in Houston. His creative writing has appeared in several small press journals and anthologies and his novella, Cary and John is available wherever you order books. He is a frequent contributor to OutSmart.
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