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    Renato M. Talhadas and His Importance to the LGBTQ+ Community

    By Eduardo Morales, Ph.D.–

    An important contributor to the LGBTQ+ movement is Renato M. Talhadas, MFT, APCC, MADC. He was born and raised in Brazil and spent some of his formative years in Florida. Being trilingual with fluency in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, he has integrated LGBTQ+ issues throughout his career.

    Talhadas worked with New Hope Ministries and has traveled throughout the world. He was an educator for Teach America, a Head Start program in Marin County, and was a teaching project coordinator at Envision Academy of Technology of Arts and Sciences in Oakland. He received his advanced graduate degrees and training at Western University with specialties in marriage family therapy (MFT), addictions, and clinical counseling.

    He graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science and Arts, cum laude, in sociology with minors in education, interdisciplinary studies, gender studies, human resources, and obtained marketing and coaching certifications. He is currently the Program Director at AGUILAS in San Francisco where he oversees and administrates the day-to-day operations of various programs that include leadership development, HIV/AIDS prevention, recruitment and training, and data collection. Additionally, he provides individual and group intervention services in English, Spanish, and Portuguese at AGUILAS as an Associate MFT in California. Throughout his career he has worked in various settings that include academic institutions, businesses, and high-tech organizations, and has extensive administrative experience.

    He has been a strong advocate for services for LGBTQ+ Brazilians, who comprise a large community throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. His experience includes legal issues related to immigrants, assisting individuals who are seeking political asylum in the U.S. He is certified in LexisNexis and Westlaw.

    As the 2021 Conference Chair of the National Latinx Psychological Association (NLPA), he ensured LGBTQ+ issues were incorporated in the national conference program while maintaining the external communications to the various media outlets. For his contributions as the NLPA conference chair, he was given a presidential citation. In recent years he was instrumental in working with a team to have the San Francisco Pulse Memorial executed and installed at the SF LGBT Center, with the project funded by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He continuously advocates for LGBTQ+ issues in a variety of settings as well as for the continued funding of HIV/AIDS organizations in San Francisco.

    Talhadas was asked, “What motivates you to be an advocate for LGBTQ+ issues?” I am honored that he acknowledged me in his response: “Leadership and my faith. I feel very blessed to have Dr. Morales as a mentor and role model for me, especially being a Latino. Seeing influential people in media and politics who advocate and represent us is powerful. As a person who seeks a higher power, my relationship with God has helped see love in people and seek the pursuit thereof in them.”

    When asked, “What issues are important to you for LGBTQ+ people?” he stated, “Healthcare for me is probably the most important issue surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. While I consider myself to be very active in political issues and find it essential for human rights in general, in the end it comes down to basic rights of healthcare for HIV/AIDS and specifically in mental health. I believe mental health care is essential for the everyday human living at a time such as this, especially coming from the history the LGBTQ+ community has faced.”  

    His graduate training includes a minor in theological studies, resulting in knowledge that he incorporates into his work at AGUILAS. As one might guess, religious issues are important to many of those coming out and he is able to address the conflicting information that is a source of much stress and anxiety among LGBTQ+ people. Most clinicians are not well versed in theology and are unable to adequately address such issues in counseling or therapy. Talhadas has the unique capability to do this in his services to the community and to address individual concerns.

    I believe we will see many more contributions made by Talhadas as he moves forward in his career plans and services to the community. He is a strong, emerging leader with skills that are very useful for the LGBTQ+ community. I foresee that, in future, his contributions will make an even greater significant and beneficial impact.

    Eduardo Morales, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus, retired Distinguished Professor, and current adjunct professor at Alliant International University. He is also a licensed psychologist and a founder and current Executive Director of AGUILAS, an award-winning program for Latinx LGBTQ+. Of Puerto Rican decent, he has received numerous distinguished awards and citations, including being named a Fellow of 12 divisions of the American Psychological Association.

    Nuestra voz
    Published on January 26, 2023