A few days ago I wrote a blog post calling for the the NASW, NBCC, and AAMFT to release public statements on Evidence Based Care for Transgender, Gender Diverse and Nonbinary People. One of the reason I began researching this issue is that last year, The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), in the March/April edition of their magazine “The Therapist,” published a  letter to the editor that promoted anti transgender ideology. After an outcry, CAMFT removed it from their website and promised to improve. After I sent an email expressing my concerns, I received a May 2023 email from Executive Director Joy Alafia, stating the following.

“Dear Cathy,

Thank you for contacting CAMFT regarding the letter to the editor in the March / April 2023 issue of The Therapist magazine, that was in response to CAMFT’s article on Gender Affirming Care. We take this matter seriously and welcome your input as we create and implement our action plan.

First and foremost, I wish to offer a sincere apology.  We have heard from many members in our community expressing a range of responses, including disappointment, concern, hurt, and anger.  CAMFT acknowledges and takes accountability for our recent publication of a letter to the editor and the harm and pain caused. We are committed to creating a safe and inclusive space for all members of all gender identities and expressions. We want to make it clear, in no uncertain terms, that the views expressed in the letter are not reflective of the views of CAMFT (see our DEI statement: www.camft.org/DEI), and have issued a sincere apology to all of our members who were affected by this incident. We are committed to making sure that our magazine and our other communication channels are used responsibly.

We are taking the next steps to identify what procedural, systemic and organizational changes we can institute in hopes to rebuild trust.  We will engage our DEI committee as we outline an inclusive course of action.  I am committed to doing the work ahead and will communicate with you, and others in our community, regarding the steps we will be taking to address this important issue. I truly thank you for your time, your membership, and for speaking up for how we can and must do better.

Sincerely,

Joy Alafia
Executive Director
Pronouns: She/her
California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists”

I wrote to her on May 30, 2024, to find out what specific actions CAMFT had taken, but I have not received a reply. I found nothing on the CAMFT website to indicate any action taken.

In the meantime, Erin Reed just posted a June update to her Anti-Trans Legislative Risk Assessment Map: June 2024 Edition. She reports that in 2023, there were 550 anti-trans laws proposed, and to date, in 2024, there have been 586. (Reed, 2024) The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) also recently issued its 2023 hate report. The number of anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups rose by 1/3 to 86. (SPLC, n.d.)

 The rights of transgender and gender-diverse people are under attack in the United States. The SPLC says,

“The cycle of anti-LGBTQ extremism will continue. Right-wing politicians continue to spread disinformation, which is echoed across mainstream media channels, publications and by right-wing social media accounts and then used by anti-LGBTQ politicians to enact harmful legislation that fuels violence against LGBTQ people.”  (SPLC, n.d.)

While this is happening, CAMFT has remained silent as to what they are doing to protect the rights of transgender people in California. There are therapy programs throughout the country that claim to support families with trans youth but instead insist that clients look for all the reasons that they are not transgender, such as the debunked social contagion theory.

CAMFT must express the “next steps to identify what procedural, systemic and organizational changes we can institute to rebuild trust” that they enacted this last year, as stated by the ED in her email. They need to inform us that they have brought in the wisdom of therapists who identify as trans, gender diverse, and/or nonbinary to help them formulate an action plan to address how their journal was used to spread such a hateful message. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are not about making statements but instead about a deep commitment to DEI. So far, we have seen just statements and not this commitment from CAMFT.

 

 

  1. Personal correspondence email Joy Alafia to Cathy Hanville 5/12/23
  2. https://www.erininthemorning.com/p/splc-designates-genspect-segm-as
  3. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/anti-lgbtq