The APAGS Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns disagrees with Juliet’s assertion in Romeo and Juliet that “a rose by any name would smell as sweet.” Research indicates names do have the power to affect the way we perceive and interact with reality and the way we see ourselves and those around us.
Our committee believes in the importance of names—which is why we changed ours.
- Our name started as the “Task Force on Sexual Minority Concerns,” which then changed to the “Committee on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns.”
- In 2001, we became the “Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns.”
- Over the past few years, the committee has become aware that individuals are increasingly using labels beyond “lesbian,” “gay,” “bisexual” and “transgender” to describe themselves. We contemplated incorporating additional specific identities to our name, but felt the “alphabet soup” created by the acronym used to represent those identities would be increasingly unwieldy and confusing.
- After much discussion regarding how to shift our committee name to represent the diversity of our student members, we decided to change our name in September 2014 to the “Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.”
This mirrors what’s happening outside of APAGS. Some groups have begun shifting away from adding more letters to their acronyms and toward using more inclusive phrases like “Gender and Sexual Diversity.” This can be seen elsewhere in APA; in March 2014, APA Division 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues) launched a new quarterly peer-reviewed publication titled Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.
When we introduced the idea of our own name change to the full APAGS committee, it was unanimously and enthusiastically approved. Thus, as the new Chair of this committee, I am very excited to present to you the “Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity!”
I am very excited to present to you the Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity!
Since its foundation 22 years ago, this group has worked to support graduate students who identify within the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender diversity by advocating for their concerns and providing educational, personal, and professional development opportunities. That hasn’t changed, but our name has.
Our website will show our new name soon, but we wanted to let you all know even quicker! Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in getting involved with the committee or if there are ways we can support you in your graduate training. We are here for you.