Question 1: What is your evidence of a record of commitment to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in education and training, in research, in practice, and/or public interest?
I have a longstanding record of commitment to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues:
a. In the late 1980’s, when HIV/AIDS emerged in Columbus, Ohio, as a community health crisis, our behavioral health practice, a major EAP provider, made a commitment to help address these issues in our city. I was asked to join the Mayor’s Advisory Coalition on AIDS. From 1988-1993, I served on this Coalition, chairing it from 1991-1992. The Coalition, sponsored by the Mayor and the Columbus Health Department, made recommendations for the community’s response to the HIV/AIDS health crisis.
We addressed HIV/AIDS issues of transmission, treatment, care, support, housing, legal rights dilemmas, economic support, homophobia and prevention in every area of our community.Our work was one of the major factors cited for Columbus’ designation in 1992 for its All-America City Award.As part of this effort, in 1990-1991, I also chaired the Mental Health, Substance Abuse and AIDS Task Force, where we administered a major HRSA Grant implemented by the Columbus Department of Health.As part of our behavioral healthcare practice, we created materials and presentations which we used with major Columbus employers to provide education and training to help address the fear and conflict generated by HIV/AIDS related issues.
b. As issues of LGBT marriage and other legal benefits became significant public issues, LGBT advocacy groups attempted to put together (once again) a sustainable statewide LGBT advocacy and support organization. Historically, efforts had remained at the regional level despite previous attempts to collaborate. In 2005, I served as consultant to the founding and establishment of Equality Ohio. Equality Ohio was founded in 2005 by a group of 65 dedicated LGBT activists and allies from all corners of Ohio after voters passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriage and civil unions. The organization has now broadened its work and focuses on multiple aspects of LGBTQ equality in Ohio and has been operating effectively and consistently since 2005.
c. From 1994-2000, I served as a member of the Board for Crittenton Family Services, a social services agency providing family and individual services for all ages, including behavioral health care, prevention, education and in-home services, with particular emphasis on fostering and adoption. We adopted policy to ensure that all diverse persons felt welcome to use and benefit from our services, especially racially diverse and LGBT teenagers.
d. On November 3, 1992, Colorado voters approved Initiative 2, an initiated constitutional amendment which added language to the state constitution that prohibited the state and all of its subdivisions from allowing “homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships” to provide the basis for any “claim any minority status, quota preference, protected status or claim of discrimination.” In 1994, the Colorado Supreme Court found the amendment unconstitutional. In 1996, the US Supreme Court found that the amendment violated the rights of the individuals involved due to their protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Right after the Colorado amendment passed, the Colorado Psychological Association took a strong stand against the amendment and asked for support from other SPTAs.As Ohio Psychological Association President, I immediately asked our Board to have a difficult discussion to consider support for CPA’s position. OPA had not historically taken formal positions on such issues.Following the discussion, we voted affirmatively and sent a strong statement of support for LGBT rights in support of the Colorado Psychological Association, the first SPTA to do so.Many SPTAs did not respond, either because they did not agree or because they did not take positions on “social issues.”The Ohio Psychological Association has maintained a policy in support of LGBT rights since that time and has continued to act consistently with this policy up to the present.
e. I have testified regarding LGBT legal rights and have presented the data and case for LGBT marriage and parenting in a church-hosted debate in Columbus, Ohio.
f. Throughout my time in APA governance, I have actively supported and advocated for LGBT issues such as practice guidelines, position statements, addressing Footnote 2, and amicus briefs. I have served on the Division 44 Executive Board (2010-2012) and as Division 44 Council Representative (2013). In 2008, I conducted a one-day long range planning retreat for the Division 44 Executive Board. In 2012, I facilitated the Division 44 Mid-Year Retreat on Strategic Planning with Ruth Fassinger.
g. I have supported and worked on a number of initiatives related to diversity and inclusion at APA. For example, in 2005, I designed and coordinated the initial diversity training for the Council of Representatives on unconscious bias, presented by John Dovidio, Toy Caldwell-Colbert and myself and adapted the design to bring it to the Spring Consolidated meetings presented by John Dovidio, Derald Wing Sue and myself. LGBTQ issues, among others, were included as examples of unconscious bias. As another example, I co-chaired the Council workgroup to pass the first set of Multicultural Guidelines. Further, as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology, we have worked hard to recruit women of many diversities. Every leadership development program I have helped to establish in psychology organizations has had a strong emphasis on full diversity and inclusion of its participants and content, including LGBTQ people and issues. I have tried to be a good ally for the full range of diversity and inclusion at APA.
h. Along with Ruth Fassinger and Michael Stevenson, we co-authored an article on an affirmative model for LGBT leadership for an American Psychologist special issue on diversity and leadership. This article represents one of the first articles specifically addressing LGBT leadership issues.
Question 2: What is your explicit statement of commitment to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in psychology during your presidential term?
As APA President, I am committed to the following:
a. Promoting strong advocacy efforts for a wide array of LGBTQ rights which are currently being compromised in many areas at both state and national levels. We need to bring our best science to these efforts as we are well recognized as a major source of knowledge for public policy. Some of the issues we need to address include the following:
Transgender student discrimination, especially with respect to segregated facilities
Religious freedom legislation that openly allows discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.
The transgender military ban and related restrictions
Discriminatory institutional admissions and services practices re LGBTQ persons in many areas including housing, community living, commerce, employment, education, healthcare and healthcare training.
Violence and victimization perpetrated against sexual and gender minority people, especially adolescents
b. Supporting, sustaining and strengthening the APA amicus brief program for LGBTQ-related state and federal legal proceedings. This has historically been one of the finest contributions by APA to public policy, and we need this now more than ever.
c. Continuing active support for work on human rights at the international level for LGBTi persons such as IPsyNet. Over half of my consulting, teaching and leadership development work over the past 20 years has been international practice, spanning North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. I currently work in countries where laws include the death penalty for LGBTQ people, where posted anti-LGBTQ laws are visible from the rooms in which I present. The work being done internationally can literally change minds and laws and be lifesaving for those who live in such oppressive contexts.
d. Enhancing knowledge about sexual orientation and gender expression and identity by supporting increasing funding for LBGTQ science and public education. Continue to support data collection strategies that include and appropriately address LGBTQ samples and include sexual orientation as a dimension of assessment, study and analysis where possible and appropriate.
e. Expanding responsibility for LGBTQ issues beyond Division 44, CSOGD and the Office of SOGD. LGBTQ issues should be addressed by and integral to all directorates and functions of APA, graduate training programs, internships, post doc experiences.
f. Ensuring APA brings an intersectionality emphasis to its diversity work. With the hiring of a new Chief Diversity Officer, we need to support intersectionality as the focus of diversity work. We also need to ensure that LGBTQ issues are central and integrated in all diversity and inclusion initiatives. The new Multicultural Guidelines bring an advocacy and intersectionality focus that would support the work of the APA President to reinforce these perspectives.
g. Developing an intersectionality focus to the leadership pipeline within APA. Creating and sustaining leadership development initiatives for all psychologists that incorporate content about LGBTQ individuals and ensure that LGBTQ individuals are included in leadership opportunities.
h. On a personal level, I will be serving in the role of APA President as an openly LGBTQ person, partnered/married to an openly LGBTQ psychologist, living out and highlighting a number of the issues described in the co-authored 2010 AP article on LGBTQ leadership.