In February 2024, the American Psychological Association issued a significant Policy Statement on Affirming Evidence-Based Inclusive Care for Transgender, Gender Diverse, and Nonbinary Individuals, Addressing Misinformation (APA 2024). This well-documented and robust statement underscores the importance of affirming evidence-based care for transgender, gender-diverse, and nonbinary individuals.

Meanwhile, the National Board for Certified Counselors has posted on their website about monitoring laws and making statements against the anti-transgender laws being considered. They appear to be actively advocating against these laws.

has a statement on its website The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has a statement on its website encouraging social workers to “support, promote, affirm and “protect the rights, legal benefits, and privileges of people of all gender identities and expressions.” (NASW, 2023). They state that legal advocacy should look different state by state, and I could not find any National Actions by NASW on their website.

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists has a statement against discrimination on its website. Still, they stand by their decision to host their 2024 conference in Florida, a state that has been at the forefront of attacking transgender people.

Why do we need these groups to make a strong statement like the APA did? Because lives are at stake every day, they do not. As the group of AIDS activists said, Silence Equals Death. The groups perpetuating the most harm against trans people utilize pseudoscience, debunked research, and often outright lies to perpetuate their harm. Unless professional organizations challenge these groups, their information will stand, and many may believe it is factual.

There are many groups right now that are purporting to offer gender exploratory care but instead approach those identities “with suspicion” and blame it on “unprocessed trauma, childhood abuse, internalized homophobia or misogyny, co-occurring mental illness, social contagion, autism, sexual fetishism, and unconscious drives.” (Ashley, 2023)

It would be easy for a parent to seek out affirming care for their child and instead find a therapist who wants to cure them of being trans. This is conversion therapy, which has long been deemed against therapist ethical codes. Professional organizations need to remind their members of their ethical obligations and discharge those that go against them. The time is now. Recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) 2023 hate report shows was issued and stated that anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups increased by 1/3 to 86 in the US. (SPLC, n.d.) They also designated Genspect and the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine (SEGM) as Anti-LGBTQ Hate Groups. (SPLC, n.d.)

Statements of support over a year old do not cut it, nor does not advocating for legal protections against these draconian laws when there are 86 hate groups working actively to harm the LGBTQ+ community.

All therapist organizations need to make strong public statements like the one issued by the APA this year. To not do so is to allow these groups to continue to grow unchecked by the professional organizations with the information and power to challenge them.

 

  1. https://www.apa.org/about/policy/transgender-nonbinary-inclusive-care.pdf
  2. https://sww.nbcc.org/govtaffairs/newsroom/update-on-gender-affirming-care-and-state-actions accessed 6/17/24
  3. https://www.socialworkers.org/News/News-Releases/ID/2642/Gender-Affirming-Health-Care-Saves-Lives#:~:text=NASW%20will%20work%20to%20repeal%20discriminatory%20legislation%20and,of%20language%20promoting%20health%20equity%20and%20inclusive%20communication
  4. https://blog.aamft.org/advocacy/
  5. Ashley F. Interrogating Gender-Exploratory Therapy. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2023 Mar;18(2):472-481. doi: 10.1177/17456916221102325. Epub 2022 Sep 6. PMID: 36068009; PMCID: PMC10018052.
  6. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/anti-lgbtq