Committee Reports

Reports from Bisexual Issues, Transgender People and Gender Diversity, Aging, Student Representatives, and Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Current committee actions and opportunities to get involved.

Committee on Bisexual Issues

The Bisexual Issues Committee met during a conversation hour at the convention to discuss multiple topics on bisexuality, including bi-invisibility and expanding the reach of the committee within APA. Related to bi-invisibility, committee members shared ongoing conversations we have had with the division's leadership to increase visibility, including the possibility of division policies that could support greater visibility of marginalized groups within Div. 44. The division has committed to having time during our midwinter meeting to explore these issues in greater depth. There was a request of information on how individuals could voice their own concerns to the division's executive committee regarding concerns of invisibility; please either reach out to Melanie Brewster or Chris Davids, or contact Div. 44 President Kimberly Balsam.

In addition, the Bisexual Issues Committee will soon solicit proposals for a special section on bisexuality in the "Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity" journal. At last year's convention during the Bisexual Issues Committee conversation hour, there was consensus that there should be greater visibility of bisexual research in high impact journals. In response, we identified a team of guest editors, developed and submitted a proposal, and were accepted for a special section in the journal . More information and call for proposals will appear in the December issue of the journal. We look forward to receiving proposals.

Committee on Transgender People and Gender Diversity

The Committee for Transgender People and Gender Diversity was pleased to recognize Megan Sutter from a record field of 19 submissions for the Transgender Research Award. Our goal for next year is to increase outreach to researchers doing intersectionally informed research with the trans community, highlighting “minorities within a minority,” such as the challenges of ethnic minority trans people, research related to nonbinary and gender nonconforming people, and other underserved subgroups. In line with increasing visibility for subgroups, a small working group within the committee is drafting a nonbinary identity factsheet to be available by next convention. We are also partnering with the Policy Committee and with the Public Interest Directorate to better prepare APA to provide input on transgender issues in the law by means of amicus briefs informed by psychological research. Finally, the committee is also working on increasing structure and supporting committee members in enhancing the visibility of transgender and gender diverse issues in psychological research. To this end, the committee is beginning quarterly conference calls. 

Committee on Aging

The Div. 44 Committee on Aging met at the 2016 APA Annual Convention for its annual meeting to review progress on committee projects from the past year and make plans for the coming year.

It was announced that Doug Kimmel would be stepping out of his role as co-chair, which he occupied for many years. He plans to continue his work with SAGE Maine, helping older LGBT adults in his state and remaining a much-valued member of the committee. Taking his place will be Weston Donaldson, a clinical psychologist working at Aurora Mental Health Center, near Denver. Kate Hinrichs will remain co-chair, serving along with Weston.

We discussed the successful collaborative programming that occurred in Toronto and in Denver at the APA convention, and discussed ideas for further collaboration with other divisions. Topics of interest included positive and resilient aging, sexual behavior in older adults, HIV and aging, trans aging, integrative health care and older LGBT adults, and health disparities among older LGBT people. We discussed several venues where these topics could be explored and/or presented, including collaborative programming at the APA 2017 Annual Convention, trainings within Div. 44, creating webinar-style trainings, and contributing articles to this newsletter. We look forward to exploring and implementing these ideas in the coming year.

We also encourage Div. 44 members who are interested in aging issues and LGBT advocacy in aging services to join the Committee on Aging. Email Weston Donaldson or Kate Hinrichs for more information.

Student Representatives

Your student representatives, Dawn Brown and Jacks Cheng, have been working hard to connect student members with each other and the community. 

Dawn has been taking the lead on setting up the  Student Ambassador  program to foster community building and networking opportunities between student members. Jacks has been in contact with student leaders on LGBT+ issues in other APA divisions and psychological associations to form a greater collective and facilitate collaboration, especially regarding the intersection of LGBT and other identities. 

We also recently set up a student-only Facebook page that will facilitate discussion among students in a 21st century format. Together, Dawn and Jacks also coordinated the student survey, of which results will be available soon. This survey was designed to further our understanding of student needs within Div. 44. Dawn and Jacks have also been working with closely with Div. 44 president, Kimberly Balsam, to create a series of webinars for students' professional growth.  Through this program of activity, both Dawn and Jacks hope to create a stronger and more cohesive student community in Div. 44. We welcome your input and involvement. Please contact Dawn Brown or Jacks Cheng directly with questions, comments, and concerns.