By EduardoMorales, Ph.D.
An important contributor to the LGBTQ+ movement is Renato M. Talhadas, MFT, APCC, MADC. He was born and raised in Brazil and spend some of his formative years in Florida. Being trilingual with fluency in English, Spanish and Portuguese he has integrated LGBTQ+ issues throughout his career. Renato worked with New Hope Ministries and has traveled throughout the world that included being 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, CA. He received his advanced graduate degrees and training at Western University with specialties in marriage family therapy (MFT), addictions, and clinical counseling. His 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 setting that include academic institutions, business, and high-tech organizations, and has extensive administrative experience.
He has been a strong advocate for services for LGBTQ+ Brazilians who are a large community throughout the SF Bay Area. His experience includes legal issues related to immigrants, assisting persons who are seeking political asylum in the U.S. and 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. Through these 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 that was 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.
Renato was asked “What motivates you to be an advocate for LGBTQ+ issues?” His response was “Leadership and my faith.
I feel very blessed to have Dr. Morales as 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 them.” In response to the question “What issues are important to you for LGBTQ+ persons?” 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.”
Renato’s graduate training includes a minor in theological graduate studies which he incorporates his knowledge in providing direct services to persons seeking assistance at AGUILAS. As one would guess religious issues are important to those coming out and he is able to address the conflicting information that is a source of much stress and anxiety among LGBTQ+ persons. Most clinicians are not well versed in theology and able to adequately address such issues in counseling or therapy. Renato has the unique capability to do this in his services to the community and be specific to the individual needs as they present such concerns. He has often been asked to provide presentations on LGBTQ+ to students at his alma mater at Western University. Renato has the unique ability to integrate his skills and knowledge in advancing LGBTQ+ issues in the SF Bay Area.
I believe we will see many more contributions by Renato Talhadas as he moves forward in his career plans and services to the community. He is someone that is a strong emerging leader with skills that are very useful for the LGBTQ+ community. I foresee significant impact of his contributions throughout the coming years.