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CPA Statement on New York Times Op-Ed and other Attacks on Gender- Affirming Care for Youth

March 1st , 2024

The Connecticut Psychological Association would like to respond to the opinion piece entitled “As Kids, They Thought They Were Trans. They No Longer Do”; published by The New York Times on February 2, 2024 by writer Pamela Paul.

As a scientifically grounded organization, we feel compelled to stand against this op-ed and address several inaccuracies and misleading claims regarding the experiences and treatment of transgender and gender-diverse youth. This op-ed, authored by a writer with no background or expertise in gender-affirming care or mental health, spreads harmful misinformation and misrepresents the experiences of transgender youth while disregarding well-established clinical guidelines and empirical evidence on this vulnerable population.

Contrary to the op-eds implication that gender identity is transient and a form of “social contagion,” research consistently demonstrates the authenticity and relative stability of gender identity among children and adolescents (American Psychological Association, 2015) and persistence of gender dysphoria (i.e., distress regarding incongruence between one’s gender identity and one’s sex assigned at birth) into adolescence and adulthood (Olson et al., 2022). The concept of “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” discussed in the article is widely discredited by major medical organizations, scholars, and clinicians as pseudoscientific (Bauer et al., 2022). Current research indicates that detransition rates are relatively low (Turban et al., 2021; What We Know Project, Cornell University, 2018). Among transgender individuals with a history of detransition, the vast majority are driven by external pressures such as family pressure and societal stigma rather than internal factors such as fluctuations in or uncertainty regarding gender identity (Turban et al., 2021).

The op-ed characterizes gender-affirming care for youth as largely unregulated and based on little medical and clinical guidance. Furthermore, it identifies providers who claim to have been dismissed or silenced for criticizing gender-affirming care. Gender-affirming care is a multidisciplinary approach where endocrinologists, mental health professionals, medical personnel, and families play significant roles. Gender-affirming care for youth and adolescents includes careful evaluation of gender dysphoria; informed consent by the client (and for youth, from their parents/guardians), and treatment of any concurrent mental or physical health concerns. There are well-established medical guidelines for gender-affirming care providers, including the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH)’s Standards of Care (Coleman et al., 2022) and the Endocrine Society (Hembree et al., 2017), both of which specifically discuss gender-affirming care for adolescents. Gender-affirming clinicians undertake this important and necessary work despite personal cost – providers who work with transgender youth in states with gender-affirming care bans report threats to their personal safety, concerns about legal and professional attacks, and the belief that their institutions would intervene in their ability to provide gender-affirming care (Gupta et al., 2023). The Human Rights Campaign recently estimated that 35% of transgender youth live in states with bans on gender-affirming
care (HRC, 2023).

Respectfully,
The CPA Board of Directors

CPA'S Statement on Transgender Day of Visbility

March 31st , 2023

Each year, March 31st is recognized internationally as Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) to celebrate transgender people, raise awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, and celebrate their contributions to society.

Originally founded in 2009 by transgender activist Rachel Crandall of Michigan, who cited frustration around the only well-known transgender-centered day being the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This day mourned the murders of transgender people but did not acknowledge and celebrate living members of the transgender community.

Although society is becoming more accepting and trans individuals feel more comfortable and confident being their authentic selves, there is still overwhelmingly misleading, misrepresented, and mischaracterized information in the media. It is imperative that we continue to highlight, recognize, and celebrate all transgender individuals, and for them to be seen through authentic and accurate stories that depict their actual lived experiences. While only 30% of the general public say they know a transgender individual, about 50% of Americans under the age of 30 say they know a trans person (Gallup, 2022). Representation and Visibility Matters! A 2020 study showed that inclusive media images lead to greater acceptance and understanding of LGBTQ people (LGBTQ Inclusion in Advertising and Media).

In 2023, there have been over 300+ anti-LGBTQ bills filed so far, with more than 50% of these bills specifically targeting trans individuals, particularly trans youth. We must not be silent in the face of such appalling and harmful actions. We have a collective responsibility to publicly support our LGBTQ+ colleagues, family, and friends. CPA stands with the numerous medical and mental health organizations that support gender-affirming care. We recognize that gender-affirming care saves lives and access to this care results in better mental health and psychosocial outcomes. Gender-affirming interventions are based on decades of clinical experience and research and are not considered experimental. Gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) is a component of widely accepted medically necessary care for transgender and gender-diverse people (World Professional Association for Transgender Health, 2023).

Resources
PFLAG – https://pflag.org/transgender-day-of-visibility/
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – https://www.hrc.org
The Trevor Project – https://www.thetrevorproject.org
WPATH Standards of Care, Version 8 – https://www.wpath.org/publications/soc

At CPA, we believe that psychologists are advocates and catalysts for social change. We will continue to utilize our science and expertise to do good in the world and fight for the safety and well-being of our country and communities.

Respectfully,
The CPA Board of Directors

CPA'S Statement on the Texas Transgender Law

March 4th, 2022

The Connecticut Psychological Association stands with the American Psychological Association in their condemnation of the February 18, 2022 Opinion of the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, which classifies certain gender-affirming medical procedures as child abuse, and the subsequent February 22, 2022 Directive from Texas
Governor Greg Abbott calling on licensed professionals and members of the general public to report the parents of transgender minors to state authorities if there is evidence of the minors receiving gender-affirming medical care.

Governor Abbott’s Directive is not only without scientific merit, but is dangerous and stands to cause irreparable harm to transgender individuals, their families, and the LGBTQ+ community more broadly. There is no evidence that supports the assertion that gender-affirming care is a form of child abuse or has lasting negative consequences. In contrast, scientific evidence has shown us unequivocally that gender-affirming care has the potential to reduce mental health difficulties, suicide rates, and other negative psychosocial and health outcomes. The Governor’s reprehensible Directive perpetuates intra- and interpersonal harm. This is one example of the pervasive biases transgender individuals’ face, which puts them at increased risk for bodily and psychological harm. This Directive will likely amplify their experiences of depression, anxiety, shame, isolation and various forms of self-harm including substance use or suicidal behaviors.

Please read the full statement and find resources here: CPA Statement_Texas Transgender Law

CPA's Statement on Recent Events and Racial Violence

April 23rd, 2021

The Connecticut Psychological Association acknowledges the community trauma following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, an outrage in a long line of racialized violence pervading our communities over the past several years. While black and brown people have continued to be the victims of biased action and unjust killings, the justice system has often failed to uphold accountability for these actions. The sense of relief that so many experienced following this weeks guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin is indicative of our racialized trauma and a pervasive worry that even in light of concrete evidence, justice would not be served for a Black man in America. For almost a year, America has held its breath, marched, and protested with the hope that there would be confirmation that in this instance, this Black man’s life mattered.

Please read the full statement here: CPA Statement_April 2021

Additionally, please see the following resources in case they are helpful.
https://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-s-Statement-On-Recent-Racist-Incidents-and-Mental-Health-Resources-for-African-Americans
https://connpsych.org/action-against-racism/
https://www.sunshinebehavioralhealth.com/mental-health-issues-facing-the-black-community

 

CPA's Statement on The Terrorist Attacks in Israel and Subsequent Violence in the Region

October 12, 2023

The Connecticut Psychological Association (CPA) is committed to protecting and advancing the field and profession of psychology, as well as championing human welfare and social justice. In alignment with these values, CPA issues this official statement to vehemently condemn the acts of terrorism that have recently occurred in Israel and express our support for its people.

The territorial conflicts in the region have deep historical roots and are marked by complexity. However, it is imperative to underscore that the terrorist acts we have witnessed constitute an egregious and deplorable attempt to exterminate Jewish people. The attacks perpetrated by Hamas cannot be rationalized or justified under any circumstances. CPA asserts unequivocally that Hamas is a terrorist organization that thrives on violence and oppression. We resolutely reject the use of violence as a political or religious tool.

The Jewish people have endured a long history of persecution and discrimination, culminating in the horrific attempted extermination during the Holocaust.  Over the centuries, Jewish communities have been subjected to pogroms, expulsions, discrimination, and violence. The Holocaust stands as a somber reminder of the depths of human cruelty, with six million Jewish lives extinguished in the most heinous manner. We also cannot ignore the global surge in anti-Semitism and hate crimes against Jews worldwide over the last five years. These historical and present-day injustices serve as a testament to the urgent need to stand against anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination and hatred, reaffirming our commitment to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and preventing its recurrence.

CPA stands in solidarity with Jewish people both domestically and abroad. We extend our sympathy and support to those living in Israel and to those of Jewish descent here at home, including our colleagues and the communities we serve. We want to reassure you that we see you, and we are here to support you. We are committed to using our platform to address the rising anti-Semitism and leverage psychological science to combat it.

It is essential to differentiate between the actions of an extremist group and the broader Palestinian population. We acknowledge the innocent Palestinian people who are experiencing the profound trauma and devastation of war, particularly in the wake of new violence resulting from recent Hamas attacks. We offer our support to our Palestinian colleagues and communities.  The Palestinian people have a long and complex history marked by displacement and dispossession, dating back to the mid-20th century. The ongoing conflict has resulted in generations of Palestinians living in poor conditions, characterized by restrictions on movement, limited access to essential services, poverty, and repeated exposure to violence and loss. For many, the trauma of living through conflict has left indelible scars, affecting their psychological well-being and overall quality of life.1The recent Hamas attacks have intensified the cycle of violence, leading to a resurgence of hostilities and renewed devastation, further exacerbating the psychological distress and suffering experienced by both Israelis and Palestinians.  

CPA acknowledges that the majority of Palestinians had no involvement in the current terrorist acts but are nevertheless bearing the burden of perceived responsibility and associated discrimination or aggression. Cognitive biases, such as over-generalization and misattribution, need to be understood and avoided, as they are especially harmful interpretive frameworks in situations like this.5,6 It’s a pivotal moment for us as psychologists to unlock our fullest potential and advocate for the well-being of Jewish and Arab communities, especially when they are our clients. By remaining vigilant about the impact of in-group-out group bias on harmful rhetoric and actions directed toward Jewish and Arab people, and by assisting our clients in recognizing when these biases might be at play, we can empower our clients and community to navigate past these biases and make well-informed decisions. This endeavor is of utmost importance in a context where principles of fairness and inclusivity hold the greatest significance.  Acts of aggression against Palestinian individuals and communities with no responsibility for the ongoing conflict cannot be tolerated. CPA emphatically condemns anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, and Islamophobic rhetoric and acts of aggression, as these actions only exacerbate tensions and hinder the pursuit of a just and lasting peace in the region.

Acts of war, like all threats to physical and psychological safety, have both immediate and long-term negative impacts on individuals and communities. These impacts include fear, anxiety, depression, acute stress disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.2 Trauma often manifests itself in various negative consequences, both internally and interpersonally, which can have a broad impact beyond those directly affected.3,4It is crucial that we come together during this period of regional traumatization and utilize our psychological expertise to aid in healing and processing the difficult experiences many are facing.

As an organization dedicated to human welfare and social justice, we join the global community in condemning terrorist attacks and the associated threat to the lives of all affected individuals. War is the most profound and destructive manifestation of human aggression, and we must never allow the violation of human rights in any circumstances. We stand collectively for the dignity, rights, and freedom of all.  We also recognize the limitations of our expertise and reach of our influence.  We remain committed to supporting our colleagues and the broader psychological community here in the region we serve, furthering our collective understanding of the human mind and behavior. Additionally, we will actively strive to increase access to psychological science, ensuring that our knowledge and expertise reach those who need it most. As advocates for justice and peace, we recognize the power of our platform and pledge to utilize it effectively, working towards a world where these principles prevail.

In the face of the ongoing challenges in the Middle East, CPA urges the psychological community to stand together in unity and embrace communication that cherishes active listening, sharing, and profound inclusion. Let us harness our unique skills to engage in difficult dialogues, fostering understanding and healing in the wake of such violence.  Together, we can address these challenges, support those affected, and contribute to the promotion of tolerance, understanding, and peace in our society.

In Solidarity, CPA Board of Directors

CPA's Statement on The Ukraine Conflict

March 9th, 2022

The Connecticut Psychological Association stands with the American Psychological Association (APA)1 in their statement in support of Ukraine during this time of invasion and war. CPA is an organization that advocates and stands for human rights and the health and well-being of all the world’s citizens.

Throughout the past few weeks the world has watched the hostile military invasion of Ukraine with horror and sadness. We are deeply concerned about the current threat to the lives and safety of the people of Ukraine and outraged about the reported human rights violations occurring as part of this war.

CPA stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, both domestic and abroad. We want to offer our sympathy and support to those living in or fleeing from Ukraine, and those of Ukrainian descent here at home, including our colleagues and communities we serve. Acts of war, like all threats to physical and psychological safety, have both immediate and long-term negative impacts, including fear/anxiety, depression, acute stress disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Trauma often manifests itself in various negative impacts, both internal and interpersonal, which can also have broad impact beyond those directly affected.  We must come together to support the people of Ukraine during a period of national traumatization and utilize our skills to aid in healing and processing the difficult experiences many are facing.

Please read the full statement and find resources for our community here: CPA Statement_Ukraine Conflict

CPA'S Statement on the Attacks on the AAPI Community

March 30th, 2021

The Connecticut Psychological Association (CPA) stands with the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community during the recent onslaught of violence and harmful words and actions against them. As an organization that represents psychology and psychologists, and operates from a basic framework of inclusivity and healing, we will continue to fight against the ills that do us all harm and continue to pervade our society: racism, xenophobia, and other harmful conduct fueled by prejudice and discrimination.

Resources: https://apaics.org/, https://smithsonianapa.org/, https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/asian-american/bullying-and-victimization, https://aapaonline.org/, https://stopaapihate.org/resources/, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/anti-racism-resources-support-asian-american-pacific-islander-community-n1260467, https://asianawarenessproject.carrd.co/   

Please read the full statement here: CPA Statement in Support of AAPI

CPA'S Statement on the Recent Attack on Democracy

January 9th, 2021

The Connecticut Psychological Association condemns the events that occurred on January 6, 2021, as well as the ideology and misinformation that fueled it. The world watched as there was an attack on the democracy of our nation, at a magnitude unwitnessed since reconstruction. The political and civil unrest that has been building in our country reached a frightening peak, and many of us observed with disbelief and a myriad of emotional reactions.

Please read the full statement here: Statement of the Connecticut Psychological Association on the Recent Attack on Democracy

Taken Action Against Racism

CPA stands as a strong voice against grave injustices demonstrated by recent events. We are clear in our position of solidarity with APA in that the “racism pandemic” is in fact devastating our nation.  Racism is a disease that has permeated us individually and societally. One of CPA’s missions is to promote human welfare and we know from our recent Priorities Survey that CT psychologists care deeply about social justice issues.  We acknowledge the trauma, grief, and outrage many people of color are feeling in light of the recent killings of Black men and women and pledge to take action.  

Please see our full statement and list of resources on our page https://connpsych.org/action-against-racism/

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