Psychedelic Medicine


Psychedelics and the LGBTQIA2S+ Community with Dr. Angela Carter


This episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast welcomes Dr. Angela Carter (they/them) to discuss the intersection of the LGBTQIA2S+ community and psychedelics. Dr. Carter is a queer, transgender, and genderqueer naturopathic primary care physician who also works as a midwife, sexual assault examiner, and health equity advocate in Portland, Oregon. They also serve as both the vice-chair and the equity in training subcommittees co-chair of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board. In addition to these positions, Dr. Carter serves as the chair of the Transgender Health Program Community Advisory Board at Oregon Health & Science University. They also volunteer with many organizations including the Fireside Project, Black Rock City Emergency Services, and Queerdome.

Dr. Carter begins this conversation by sharing exciting new research currently being conducted which involves LGBTQIA2S+ individuals and psychedelic therapies. While this particular area of research remains small, it is growing and the fruits of these studies will be an important step for better understanding how these new therapies can serve gender and sexuality minorities, and help facilitators understand the unique concerns of people in the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Dr. Carter illustrates these types of concerns by discussing the prevalence of gender binaries within psychedelic spaces. They describe how in a clinical setting it is prevalent to have both a male and a female facilitator, but this leaves no room for gender-nonconforming people to guide experiences—something which could be preferable if the patient themselves shares this identity.

Dr. Carter also discusses this gender binary in traditional contexts. It is common for ayahuasca ceremonies to provide separate spaces for men and women, again leaving no space for gender-nonconforming people. This reification of the gender binary and the often patriarchal organization of the ayahuasca ceremony can have serious impacts on the set and setting, especially for people in the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Dr. Carter emphasizes the importance of making space for folks in the community so that they are able to receive therapy, attend ceremonies, and participate in integration with others who share similar identities. This shared identity, they emphasize, ensures that LGBTQIA2S+ people don’t feel out of place in contexts that ought to be healing. Dr. Carter closes by discussing how members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community experience disproportionate rates of mental illness, further illustrating the crucial importance of equity in accessing psychedelic medicine.

In This Episode

• Problems of representation and access for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals in the psychedelic space
• Current research being done on the intersection between psychedelic therapies and unique issues faced by gender and sexuality minorities
• Preparations to take before guiding a psychedelic experience for LGBTQIA2S+ people, particularly if you do not come from the community
• How plant medicines could have unique benefits for the LGBTQIA2S+ community
• Issues of poverty faced by marginalized peoples and how to support equity of access to emerging psychedelic therapies


“For some people that idea of melding, of becoming one and losing all of those unique pieces of themselves, doesn’t fit their paradigm of a spiritual connecting experience.” [10:47]

“It’s precious, that centering of our community—to be able to sit with people who just understand.” [19:42]

“Psychedelics offer the opportunity for connection of the self to something greater, something outside, a bigger community, spirituality, and really do a huge amount to heal peoples’ relationships with substances.” [25:20]

“Marginalized communities have been really impacted, largely, by the war on drugs, which has put millions of people in jail for drug offenses and stolen their ability to make income, stolen their ability to connect with community and we really need to heal that.” [33:34]


* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.