APAGS-CLGBTC 1992-2008: A Brief History

Contributed by: Michelle D. Vaughan, Ph.D., APAGS-CLGBTC Chair 2006-2008

In the fall of 1992, the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students was presented with a proposal to charter a task force on sexual minority concerns. Based on the findings of a paper on heterosexism and bias in graduate training programs in psychology, the focus of the task force was fourfold: 1) to identify problem areas, 2) to advocate and facilitate change, 3) to educate new APAGS members of resources, and 4) to communicate with offices and student affiliates of other sexual minority organizations. Over the first 6 months, the six-member working group began to address each of these areas and requested that APAGS establishing a Standing Committee on LGB issues to continue this work and provide one hour of programming for a conversation hour for LGB students and their allies at the 1993 APA Convention in Toronto. The committee reported a strong positive response from students and proposed the development of a convention survival guide for LGB students (completed in 1996) and advocating for the removal of Footnote 3, which exempts religious-based graduate training programs in psychology from non-discrimination requirements. In 1995, the APAGS Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Students was created, marking the first of what would become a series of resources specifically created for sexual minority students.

In 2001, the subcommittee changes its name to APAGS-CLGBTC, formally including transgender students into the organization as a response to a desire to become more transgender-inclusive. The same year, the subcommittee conducted their first needs assessment of LGBT Graduate Students to better understand and address the issues facing their constituents. In 2002, the subcommittee developed and distributed a number of resources for students, including The LGBT Guide to Graduate School, The LGBT Guide to Convention, and the Introduction to Guide to LGBT Psychology Issues and Resources. APAGS-CLGBTC also began to focus convention workshops on issues of interest to sexual minority students, co-sponsoring a workshop on Clinical Applications to Transgender Clients.

Mentoring for students also became a major priority for the subcommittee in 2002, leading to the co-sponsorship (with Division 44) of the original LGBT Mentoring program, which successfully recruited nearly 100 mentors and mentees and created over 30 matched pairs. In 2003, the subcommittee advocated to maintain the ban on military advertisements in APA publications and to support efforts by AFFIRM (Psychologists Affirming their LGBT Families) to create reading lists for graduate clinical training programs in psychology. Three years later, in 2006, the subcommittee oversaw and edited the Resource Guide for LGBT Graduate Students in Psychology, including articles on campus climate, coming out issues, conducting LGBT-themed research, and the unique experiences of bisexual and transgender students. Mentoring once again took center stage in 2008, as the subcommittee developed the current APAGS LGBT mentoring program, allowing sexual minority students to be matched with advanced graduate or professional mentors who share their interests, with over 20 pairs being matched in the first 6 months of the program. In that same year, APAGS leadership voted to create web pages for each of the subcommittees, allowing APAGS-CLGBTC to become more visible and provide more information about issues and resources of interest to graduate students in psychology interested in sexual minority concerns.

Past APAGS-CLGBTC Chairs

James Cantor (1992-1998)
Laura Anderson (1998-2000)
Nabil El-Ghoroury (2000-2002)
Espen Correll (2002-2004)
John Pachankis (2004-2006)
Michelle D. Vaughan (2006-2008)
lore m. dickey (2008-2010)