February 1, 2019

In response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision to lift injunctions against the ban on transgender people serving in the US military, and in light of apparent efforts to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX that would eliminate protections for trans, intersex, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people, the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) wishes to make the following public statement:

AGPA is a professional organization of psychotherapists from diverse professional and personal backgrounds, orientations, and communities who share common values about the power of group therapy in promoting understanding, overcoming divisions, and engaging in transformative dialogue across differences.We believe that communities thrive from the bonds that form between humans, and that individual vulnerability can be buffered and mitigated by collective strength.As such, it is part of our ethical mandate to confront injustices.All members of a group are valuable, and none should be subject to erasure by powerful systems.

While legislative advances continue to be made at the state level in support of the rights of trans and gender nonbinary people, such as the recent approval of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act in New York State that specifies gender identity as a protected class and bans conversion therapy, there is a federal trend toward removing such protections.At AGPA, we see the latter efforts as a violation of human rights, and we stand with our LGBTQI+ members and families in denouncing them.

To our colleagues: we support you and affirm your right to self-determination and a life without fear.We are committed to making our professional space an inclusive one that is not marked by ignorance or misunderstanding.We value the contributions you make to our organization and to your patients and communities.

We recognize that individual definitions of self have always shifted across time periods and cultures, and that identity is complex, comprised of multiple components and determinants.Science supports that sex and gender are separate pieces of identity; falsely conflating the two has vast ramifications, not only for oppressing people but also for limiting scientific and academic advances. Prohibiting any group of people from serving in an institution ultimately is to the detriment of that institution.

We denounce legislative efforts to limit the rights of trans, intersex, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people, and urge the current administration to reverse its position.Such policies don’t just affect “special interest groups,” but negatively impact us all.

This statement was developed by the AGPA Community Outreach Task Force, chaired by Craig Haen and Suzanne Phillips, which is charged with establishing and executing community outreach programs to provide professional assistance to diverse group populations in the aftermath of traumatic events, in collaboration with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, chaired by Sophia Aguirre.

Community Outreach Task Force Co-Chairs

Craig Haen, Ph.D., RDT, LCAT, CGP, FAGPA

[email protected]

Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP, CGP, FAGPA

[email protected]

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force Chair

M. Sophia Aguirre, Ph.D., CGP

[email protected]

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force Members

Eri Bentley, Ph.D., CGP

Karen Cone-Uemura, Ph.D., CGP

Wendy Freedman, Ph.D., CGP

Paul Gitterman, LICSW, MSC, CGP

Craig Haen, Ph.D., RDT, LCAT, CGP, FAGPA

Phillip Horner, LCSW, CGP

Michele Ribeiro, Ed.D., CGP

Ann Steiner, Ph.D., MFT, CGP, FAGPA

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