H. Alexander Robinson

Black LGBT History Day 18: Dr. Kofi Adoma

Filed By H. Alexander Robinson | February 18, 2008 11:06 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Media
Tags: Black Gay History, black history, black LGBT, Kofi Adoma

Dr. Kofi Adoma (pronounced doe-MAH) is also known by her childhood name, Amorie Robinson. Professionally, she serves as a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in and around Detroit, the city where she was born and raised. She received her B.A. in Psychology at Oberlin College, and her M.A. in Educational Psychology at the University of Michigan. In 1996, she graduated from the University of Michigan with her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Her dissertation is entitled Black Identity and Coping Among African Americans in a Predominantly White University Setting.

Career/Scholarship

At the Wayne County Juvenile Court's Clinic for Child Study in Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Kofi Adoma enjoys conducting individual, family, and group psychotherapy with adolescents. She also conducts therapy at an outpatient psychiatric clinic called Counseling Associates where she works with children, adolescents, and adults including same-gender couples and families.

In addition, Dr. Adoma is a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she teaches Women's Studies courses including Introduction to LGBT Studies, Intersection of Race & Attractional Orientation, and Gender & Group Process in a Multicultural Context. Dr. Adoma has done presentations and trainings for various mental health agencies on psychotherapeutic considerations when working with gay and lesbian clients, mainly focusing on cultural competency in working with LGBTQ youth.

During the course of her scholarly and therapeutic work, Dr. Adoma coined the term "attractionality" to replace "sexuality" when relevant. Outside of conducting psychological evaluations/assessments, trainings, lectures, intergroup dialogues, and therapy, she has made herself available to mental health service providers for consultation services. At present, she is assisting a local community college in creating courses to enrich their mental health curriculum. Dr. Adoma has been a part of the Association for Women in Psychology, is a member of the American Psychological Association, and was recently nominated to serve as president of the Association of Black Psychologists Detroit metro chapter.

Publications

In 2002, Dr. Kofi Adoma (under her childhood name) contributed a chapter in a book called Battered Black & Blue: Violence in the Lives of Black Women (C. West, ed., Haworth Press)) on domestic violence among African American lesbians. In February 2007, she wrote an article for the Michigan Association of Social Workers on the use of terminology for social work therapists and is currently submitting two articles for publication.

One article is on the marginalization experiences of African American lesbian adolescents and the other describes the delicate issues of African American lesbian students in urban schools. Dr. Adoma was invited to co-edit an anthology on Black lesbian butches.

She plans to write a book on the psychology of Black masculine-identified lesbians that highlights the psychological and emotional struggles, as well as the resiliences and coping among this population, counteracting the distorted public images in the media. When Dr. Adoma does professional conference presentations, she often highlights the plight of these underserved groups (Black lesbian teens and Black butch-identified women) as a way of creating more sensitive social and mental health services.

Community

"Dr. Kofi", as she is affectionately called, has been a community activist/organizer since high school when she was a member of the Highland Park High School Black Awareness Club. She credits the club's sponsor, I.V. Barrett, and her mother, Dr. Jane Robinson, for much of her Africentric critical thinking skills. It was through this club that she discovered Kwanzaa, a holiday that she continues to educate her community on.

Dr. Adoma is a founding member of numerous grassroots organizations including Unity Fellowship Church Detroit, The A.L.O.R.D.E. Collective, Karibu House Community Center, Race Matters, and The Ruth Ellis Center. When Unity Fellowship Church was formed, Dr. Adoma served on the board, as a musician and choir member, and started a support/discussion group called "Women's Rap" which lasted for ten years straight.

The A.L.O.R.D.E. Collective was founded in 1994 and is a Black lesbian health peer and educational support organization. The group is working on interviews with Black lesbian elders. Karibu House is an initiative to start a Detroit community center for lgbtqa's of color. Now in it's eleventh year as an organization, Dr. Adoma is serving her 6th year as board president. As one of four co-founders of Race Matters, she helped to create a dinner-discussion group that provided safe space for interracial and cross-gender dialogue within Detroit's lgbt community for 7 years. The group now interacts online. Founded in 1999, the Ruth Ellis Center stands as an agency that provides street outreach, a transitional living program, temporary shelter, and a drop-in center for homeless and displaced lgbtq youth, most of whom are youth of color.

As a member of the Unity Fellowship Church Movement, a denomination founded by Archbishop Carl Bean and other African American gay men and lesbians, Dr. Kofi Adoma attends the annual holy convocations where she is an active musician in the mass choir and plays the drums and violin. She and Rev. Alicia Heath-Toby hold workshops for masculine-identified lesbians (MIL's) each year so that these individuals have a safe space to express themselves. The group has become a national ministry by conducting support groups for MIL's across the country and serving as positive adult role models for MIL youth who have spiritually lost their way.

Dr. Kofi Adoma is tenacious when it comes to organizing. She usually is consistent when she sets out to accomplish goals. As a co-founder of the Detroit Coalition for Black Lesbians and Gays, Our Family, and the James Baldwin Pat Parker Society (in the early 80's), she and others started the Kwanzaa celebration for Black lgbta's and Ruth Ellis Day, both of which remain nonstop annual traditions. Recently, Dr. Adoma served on an ad hoc committee to formulate and implement a major, historic/herstoric healing retreat for Detroit's Black lgbt community organizers which was funded by the Arcus Foundation Gay & Lesbian Fund. It was called Healing Detroit.

Dr. Adoma also attended all of the National Black Gay & Lesbian Leadership Forum conferences since 1989 and was a keynote speaker one year. She attends the annual Nia Gathering, Sistahfest, Zuna Institute's National Black Lesbian Conference, and the Michigan' Womyn's Music Festival. At these retreats, she has conducted workshops on Black Butch-Hood, stress management for lgbt's of color, childhood sexual abuse recovery, relationships, and other topics. She has conducted Kwanzaa workshops throughout Michigan since 1979 and received numerous awards for her endless and steadfast dedication to her people.

Personal

Dr. Adoma was a personal friend of Ruth Ellis and was inspired by her love of music, dancing, camping, people regardless of race, God, and peace. She often accompanied Ruth Ellis to events around Detroit and out-state. Dr. Adoma had made the suggestion to name the newly-formed youth center after Ruth Ellis because of her outreach to young people back when she and her partner opened up their home for social gatherings in early 1900's. Dr. Adoma can be seen in the documentary film by Yvonne Welbon entitled "Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis@100."

Through the years, Dr. Adoma has looked up to organizers such as Rev. Dr. Renee McCoy, Mandy Carter, Keith Boykin, and Irene Munroe as role models in the lgbt community. She continually mentors a large number of teenagers and young adults because youth have a special place in her heart.

One of her biggest passions is music. She plays the violin and djembe drum. Her percussion mentors are Ubaka Hill and Afia Walking Tree. As a cartoonist on the side, she created a line of greeting cards called "Kofi Kards" which illustrate positive images of African American lesbian and gay families/couples.

Throughout the years, Dr. Adoma has enjoyed creating coloring books for African American children and has illustrated for children's books throughout the years. Dr. Adoma and her partner Hattie Alexander have been married since 2001. She proposed to Hattie in the city of Accra in Ghana, West Africa after pouring the ashes of Ruth Ellis into the Pacific Ocean. Hattie is a pastor and community organizer. Dr. Adoma's stepson is finishing his doctorate degree at UCLA, and her parents are both still living. She gives honor to God who is the head of her life.


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