Powerful women are a force to be reckoned with—just ask the millions around the world who proudly marched after Donald Trump’s inauguration, with signs and pink pussy-hats in tow. And when these women can come together, embrace their differences, and foster intersectionality, nothing can silence their voices.

The LGBTQ women of Houston exemplify this notion every single day. They’re paving the way in philanthropy, healthcare, social justice, business, and more. To celebrate Women’s History Month, OutSmart reached out to the community for nominations of LGBTQ female leaders making an especially significant impact here in Houston. After an incredible response, we are proud to present our Leading Ladies of 2017.

MEGAN MOONEY

Megan Mooney comes from a long line of strong women. “My mom and my grandmother are definitely my role models,” she says. “[They] taught me the importance of education, caring for others, and doing the right thing.” These gifts are reflected in her work as a psychologist specializing in child trauma. “Often, LGBTQ youth are at much higher risk for experiences of victimization and trauma,” Mooney explains. “I seek to help provide safe spaces for these youth to receive mental-health services.” Periodically, Mooney also partners with Lambda Legal to provide consultation and referrals for LGBTQ youth who have experienced trauma. “I have also been working for the past few years with a collaborative group trying to improve care for LGBTQ kids who are in the custody of Child Protective Services,” she adds. As one of the co-founders of Gender Infinity, she also works to create safe, affirming spaces for families, learners, advocates, and providers to advance relationships, knowledge, and resources that empower gender-diverse individuals. “I think it’s critical that mental-health providers and school personnel become more aware of the risk factors for various forms of trauma and victimization that LGBTQ youth are at higher risk to experience. I would encourage educators and clinicians to seek out training in working with LGBTQ youth, including how to create safe and affirming spaces and the use of appropriate language and terminology.”

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