News

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  • July 27, 2017 4:36 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    We, like many others, were shocked, disappointed and saddened by the tweets of our current president, Donald Trump, on July 26, 2017, announcing a ban on military service “in any capacity” for all transgender persons. His unilateral decision, supposedly based on the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of transgender service members, involved no consultation with the Secretary of Defense or Congressional leadership. This after tweeting on June 14, 2016: “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.” A true step backward for our country, as this action ironically fell on the 69th anniversary of former President Truman’s executive order abolishing racial discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces.

    Gaylesta: The Psychotherapist Association for Gender & Sexual Diversity stands in support of the transgender community who choose to defend our nation and make the ultimate sacrifice. Our views are echoed by the many organizations that have spoken out against this recent discriminatory action including the American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Transgender Equality, American Counseling Association, World Professional Association for Transgender Health, American Medical Association and countless others that continue to emerge daily. Hopefully these tweets will not, in the long run, impact current policy and law -- given the reaction of some members of Congress and the legal challenges that will be filed as soon as possible. But we also have to look at the fact that hours after Trump’s tweets, the Department of Justice submitted an amicus brief (to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit) arguing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers no protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Tremendous uncertainty remains as to when and who will be affected by further actions of the government. The courage shown by the community is astounding and we ask our members to remain strong, speak up and peacefully protest in all ways we can.

    In solidarity,

    The Gaylesta Board of Directors


  • April 08, 2017 12:00 AM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    Yesterday Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico signed Senate Bill 121 into law, barring conversion therapy for minors in New Mexico. The bill was introduced by State Senator Jacob Candelaria, the first openly gay member of the State Legislature. Her comments about the bill underscored the importance of her signature. She said “I do not lightly enact legislation that makes government a party to the medical care decision-making of a parent and child. Yet, at the same time, numerous reputable medical organizations like the American Psychological Association have rebuked this practice, stating it may lead to depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, self-hatred, substance abuse and suicide.” These remarks stand as evidence of the importance of mental health professionals in educating the public about this and other important issues facing the LGBTQ community.

  • June 16, 2016 5:51 PM | Jeanna Eichenbaum (Administrator)

    We, the Board and Membership of Gaylesta, The Psychotherapist Association for Gender and Sexual Diversity, stand in sadness, solidarity and mourning with our communities (LGBTQI and more, particularly Latinx/a/o and other communities of color) in Orlando.  Although words cannot fully express the range of feelings this tragedy has created, we offer our love, support, condolences, and our tears.  We join with our members, our families and loved ones, and the people of Orlando during this terrible time, and we will continue to work for a more just and peaceful world.

  • February 20, 2016 7:23 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    The South Dakota legislature has passed a dangerous bill, HB 1008, that is now on the desk of Governor Dennis Daugaard. This law decrees that "Every restroom, locker room, and shower room located in a public elementary or secondary school that is designated for student use and is accessible by multiple students at the same time shall be designated for and used only by students of the same biological sex." This prevents all trans students from using restrooms which are consistent with their gender identity. This not only stigmatizes trans students, but potentially places them in a hostile environment. Therefore the Gaylesta Board, with Board Member Jeanna Eichenbaum taking the lead, has sent a letter to the Governor, asking him to veto this bill (to read the letter, go to this link). In addition, we would like to alert everyone to a petition on Change.org that also urges him to veto it:

    https://www.change.org/p/governor-dennis-daugaard-protect-trans-students-veto-h-b-1008-sdpottypolice

  • February 10, 2016 4:53 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    Dear Colleagues:
    As mentioned in the post-retreat Board report, a Gaylesta team has set up an initiative matching formerly incarcerated people with interested and experienced therapists. We are excited to announce that the project is now under way. The first clients have been matched with therapists – and there are more in the pipeline.


    We have now met with three reentry organizations eager to provide clients for services:  Project Rebound, at SF State, Waypass at City College, and the Transgender Justice Institute.

    Will you consider providing one or two pro bono slots in your caseload for individuals exiting jail or prison? These would include, but not be limited to LGBTQIA clients.

    If you would like to get involved, please contact us with any questions or concerns. To make this work, we would appreciate if you can provide us with the following information to guide us in making a good match:

    1. How many slots can you offer?
    2. At what address will you see clients?
    3. What is your availability? Do you have a specific time or times that you may be available?
    4. Within that framework, do you prefer that we set up the initial meeting, or do you prefer that client contact you to set the first session?
    5. Are there any client characteristics or clinical issues that you feel would make an individual an unsuitable match for you?

     A consultation group will be available if  there is interest.

    We look forward to hearing from you!

    Judy Siff jsiff@sbcglobal.net 
    Nathalie Paven  npaven@earthlink.net
     Did you know that the U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration of any nation in the world (http://www.prisonpolicy.org/global)?  That prisoners in the U.S. are overwhelmingly Black or Brown?  That one in four Black people will be incarcerated in their life?  Sometimes the gravity of social injustice is so vast, that it is difficult to figure out where or how to make a difference. As individuals, many of us choose a path of social justice activism – yet the question remains – is there anything we can do specifically within our profession itself?  Although that is more a statement than a question, this project speaks to utilizing our particular skill set in a meaningful way.

  • November 13, 2015 5:15 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    Following the polling of our membership on suggested name changes for our organization, the Gaylesta Board reviewed the results of that survey during our Board Retreat November 7th-8th. None of the suggested names were viewed with much favor by members, but there was consensus about a revision to the tag line of Gaylesta. Therefore, from this point forward we will be known as "Gaylesta: The Psychotherapist Association for Gender and Sexual Diversity." We will continue to explore options for new names.

  • November 08, 2015 11:55 AM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    A recent petition was started by unidentified individuals on Change.org , calling on the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and others to remove transgender people from the modern LGBT movement. We as an organization reject this hateful and divisive petition. As HRC responded, “We are one movement, stronger in our unity. We are one community, period."


    The Board of Gaylesta

  • June 26, 2015 8:20 AM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    At long last, the Supreme Court of the United States has come out with its ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, and thanks to the majority opinion (another 5-4 split court decision, with Justice Kennedy writing the opinion and joined by Justices Sotomayor, Ginsberg, Kagan and Breyer) same-sex couples throughout the United States are guaranteed the right to marriage. This opinion eloquently affirms what we might hope would be true of the U.S. Constitution and of this nation. You can read the Supreme Court decision from the link on the Gaylesta website here.


    I believe that one of the powerful statements is the following:


    "The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed."


    Kennedy reaffirms the importance of the Court in moving certain issues beyond political debates and majority legislative votes to established legal principles.


    We have much to celebrate this weekend! Not only this, but the victory in New Jersey, where a jury ruled against JONAH ("Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing"), and found "conversion therapy" to be bogus and abusive, meeting the State's definition of consumer fraud. That decision may be the beginning of the end of "conversion therapy" for adults as well as minors.

  • June 22, 2015 1:05 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    Dear Gaylestans,

    Guy Albert and Jim Walker offer this midyear update about our efforts since our presentation to the Mental Health Liaison Group and our meetings with the American Psychological Association and Congressional staffers in April in Washington, DC. Guy and Jim have been engaged in extensive outreach to national organizations asking them to join our workgroup whose purpose is to issue a joint statement declaring “conversion therapy” unethical and harmful for anyone. Our hope is that all the major medical and psychological bodies in the U.S. will join us.  

    Our workgroup already includes representatives from AASECT, NASW, ACA, The Trevor Project, HRC, National Association of School Psychologists, the LGBT-Affirmative Therapist Guild of Utah, American Psychoanalytic Association and Clinical Social Work Association. We continue doing intensive outreach with the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association, AMA, SAMSHA, the Surgeon General, the American Academy of Nursing and other major national organizations hoping they will join us.
     
    If you have contacts in key national health organizations who could help us with our outreach, please contact us.
     
    Major national health organizations declaring conversion therapy unethical and harmful would be greatly beneficial. It would provide guidance to the public and would contribute to more extensive legal protections. Those protections would come on state and federal levels. For example, our effort would lend substantial support to Congressman Ted Lieu’s Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which faces many hurdles in Congress. https://lieu.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/congressman-lieu-announces-therapeutic-fraud-prevention-act
     
    Ted Lieu was the California state senator who introduced the bill several years ago that became the law protecting youth from conversion therapy in California by licensed providers. The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act and our joint national statement are aimed at protecting everyone from the unethical, harmful and fraudulent practices of conversion therapy whether it is focused on sexual orientation, gender identity or both.


    Jim Walker, LMFT

    Email Jim


    Guy Albert, PhD

    Email Guy

  • April 09, 2015 8:30 PM | Jay Philip Paul (Administrator)

    Jim Walker and Guy Albert, two members of Gaylesta's Advocacy Committee, traveled to Washington DC to give a presentation on April 3rd to the Mental Health Liaison Group, a consortium of mental health-related professional organizations in the U.S. Their aim was to advocate for these organizations to join together in condemning "sexual orientation change efforts" (SOCE) or "conversion therapy" as unethical. Their presentation was well-received and we are confident that dialogue has begun among representatives from these concerned organizations to yield such a statement. The abstract of their presentation is reproduced below; if interested, the PowerPoint presentation may also be viewed by clicking on the link below the abstract:


    “Conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy” are a hodgepodge of change efforts misnamed as therapy. They are meant to help people suffering from unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) and gender dysphoria. Even practitioners of these methods have difficulty demonstrating that what they do is ethically and theoretically sound. “Conversion” practices are harming people in noticeable numbers. In 2015, the major healthcare organizations of the United Kingdom issued a joint Memorandum of Understanding declaring “conversion therapy” unethical. Their memorandum also signaled collaborations across organizations for improved healthcare education. Action in the U.K. offers U.S. healthcare associations a potential model for addressing significant harms in a complex therapeutic environment. We ask all MHLG member associations to join a working group to produce a U.S. equivalent of the U.K.’s joint collaborations.


    To access the PowerPoint presentation as a PDF file:

    http://www.gaylesta.org:80/resources/Documents/Toward-a-Joint-Statement.pdf

    To access the PowerPoint presentation (this is a large file):

    http://www.gaylesta.org:80/resources/Documents/Toward-a-Joint-Statement.pptx


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