APA's Task Force on Gender Identity, Gender Variance and Intersex Conditions is conducting a survey on transgender, transsexual and intersex issues for the first time in APA history.
The task force urges psychologists and students to fill out the survey so it can gather information on their professional and general experiences with transgender and intersex people. The group began distributing the survey at APA's 2005 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., in August and will collect responses through the end of October (see end note for information on participation).
The survey also targets psychologists and students who identify themselves as within this population--asking them about their experiences in the field, including whether they have been accepted or discriminated against. And, the survey asks what they believe APA can do to better serve their needs.
The survey asks respondents what actions or strategies they believe would help APA better address transgender and intersex issues through psychological research, education, training and practice. Based on the surveys' results, the six-member task force will develop recommendations on research priorities, education, professional development and policies for psychologists working with transgender and intersex populations, says psychologist Margaret Schneider, PhD, the task force chair and associate psychology professor at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
For example, the group will try to identify research directions aimed at better understanding the lives of transgender and intersex people. The task force may also seek to foster collaborations between APA and other professional organizations to develop sensitivity training for psychologists and students who work with such individuals.
"This is a starting point," says Clinton Anderson, PhD, APA's lesbian, gay and bisexual concerns officer. "APA hasn't really grappled with the issues of this population before."
The task force, which was established by APA's Council of Representatives in February, held its first meeting June 24-26 and will hold its second meeting in November to discuss how APA can better respond to transgender and intersex concerns.
"It's important that these issues are addressed from an equity perspective, education perspective and research perspective...and then [we can] see how transgender and intersex issues can be integrated into the [APA] policies," Schneider says. "But this report will only be as strong as the input that we have into it."
--M. DITTMANN TRACEY