Gayest & Greatest 2021: Health and Beauty Part I
Nakita Bowman’s mental-health practice empowers queer people of color.
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.
HEALTH & BEAUTY PART I
Best Female Eye Doctor
Finalists: Juliet Farmer, Michelle Hung, Christine Tyler
Best Male Eye Doctor
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
Finalist: Houston Fertility Institute
Best Foot Doctor
Finalist: Neda Mehmandoost
Best Female Physician
M. Sandra Scurria
Finalists: Jennifer Feldman, Julia Kovacs, Natalie Vanek
Best Male Physician
Finalists: James Carroll, Abel Flores, R. Todd O’Neal
Best Female Physician’s Assistant/Nurse Practitioner
Finalist: Christine Wysong
Best Male Physician’s Assistant/Nurse Practitioner
Finalist: Donnie Harvey
Favorite Female Nurse
Finalist: Kandice Webber
Favorite Male Nurse
Finalists: AJ Sarabia, Robert Vasquez
Best Male Psychiatrist
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
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.