President's Column

Fall 2014 Reflections

Accomplishments, celebrations and challenges at convention 2014

By Connie Matthews, PhD

Connie Matthews, PhDAs I begin my year as president of Div. 44, I am aware that there are a lot of exciting things going on in Div. 44 right now. I would like to begin with a brief recap of a few convention highlights for those of you who were unable to attend convention or were unable to attend all of the events. One of the exciting things about convention is the opportunity to recognize some of our members for the outstanding efforts they are making for LGBT psychology. This year Div. 44 honored the following people with awards:

  • Dr. Perry Halkitas, Distinguished Book Award for The AIDS Generation (Oxford)
  • Drs. Jillian Shipherd and Michael Kauth, Distinguished Contribution to Education and Training
  • Dr. Laura Bogart, Distinguished Contribution to Ethnic Minority Issues
  • Dr. Abbie Goldberg, Distinguished Scientific Contribution
  • Julie Harris Austen, Distinguished Student Contribution

Several Div. 44 committees also presented awards at convention. The Science Committee presented the Malyon-Smith Scholarship Award to Stephanie M. Anderson, M. Phil. And the Bisexual Foundation Scholarship Award to James E. Arnett, M.A. The Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity presented the Dr. Richard A. Rodriguez Student Travel Award to Jacks Cheng and Deborah L. Dorton, M.Ed. The Mentoring Committee presented the Mentoring Student Travel Award to Brian R. Davis, M.Phil, M.A. The Committee on Transgender People and Gender Diversity presented the Transgender Research Award to Sebastian Mitchell Barr.

Drs. Margaret C. Charmoli, David W. Pantaline and Anneliese A. Singh were named Div. 44 Fellows.

In addition to these Div. 44 awards, Dr. Bonnie R. Strickland, a past president and current Council Representative for Div. 44, was awarded the Gold Metal Award for Life Achievement in Psychology in the Public Interest. Drs. Charles Silverstein and José Toro-Alfonso received Outstanding Achievement Awards from the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns.

Convention is also a time of transitions. While a number of people transitioned from one position to another within the division or are taking a brief respite before moving into other roles, I do want to give recognition to Dr. Arlene Noriega, who cycled off of the Executive Board after thirteen continuous years that culminated in her years as president and past-president. Arlene has served in a number of important roles in Div. 44 and has helped shepherd the division through a number of challenges during that time. Many thanks, Arlene!

While it is always enjoyable to recognize accomplishments, I would be remiss if I did not indicate that convention also brought some challenges this year, especially for our transgender and gender diverse colleagues and friends. We had a difficult dialogue in the Executive Board meeting around the site of the fundraising dinner, a dialogue that seemed to extend to numerous private conversations, as well as Immediate Past-President Michael Hendricks' Presidential Address. There was a small but helpful conversation hour in the Div. 44 suite on Sunday morning geared toward moving forward in positive ways. While these conversations seemed productive overall, I suspect they will go as Div. 44 continues to work toward greater inclusivity of all of our diverse identities in substantive ways that go beyond adding letters to the alphabet soup. I want to personally thank all of those who took risks in raising and responding to issues that are uncomfortable so that we all might grow as a division and as individuals.

With convention over, it is now time to look forward to some of the events going on currently and in the near future. I want to remind everyone that the APA presidential election is in progress and to strongly encourage everyone to vote. Relatively few APA members vote in the presidential election, meaning that those of us who do have a real opportunity to influence the results. The history of APA has shown that the degree to which issues important to this division get addressed or are incorporated into presidential and other APA initiatives can vary a great deal depending on the leadership. Please vote if you have not already done so.

The National Multicultural Conference and Summit is on the horizon in January. Div. 44 has been a host division of this important conference since its inception and continues to play a vital role in planning and programming. Dr. Vic Muñoz has been Div. 44's representative to the planning committee for the 2015 conference and has expressed a great deal of excitement over the programming and events that have been planned. A preview of some of the programming of special interest to Div. 44 can be found at the end of the September issue of Div.44 journal, Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity . I strongly encourage Div. 44 members to attend the National Multicultural Conference and Summit, which will be held in Atlanta, GA January 15-16, 2015.

I also want to give some special recognition to Dr. John Gonsiorek, Founding Editor, and the editorial board for Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity . With three issues of the first volume published, we can see what an exemplary publication this is turning out to be. Indeed, one of the articles in the June issue has won an award. “Trans Migrations: Exploring Life at the Intersection of Transgender Identity and Immigration” by Alison Cerezo, Alejandro Morales, Danielle Quintero, and Stephanie Rothman has received the Association for Women in Psychology's Oliva Espín Award for Social Justice Concerns in Feminist Psychology – Gender and Immigration. The journal is currently on schedule or ahead of schedule for all key markers for new APA journals. Well done!

I look forward to working with all of you in the coming year!