The 24th Annual PsySSA Congress was a highlight for the Sexuality and Gender Division (SGD) having been presented with the ‘Most Active Division’ award for the first time (see certificate below). Considering that this Division was only officially launched in 2014 and that it already received the ‘Most Improved Division’ award that year and again in 2017, there can be no doubt as to the dynamism and relevance of the Division and its work. The PsySSA practice guidelines for psychology professionals working with sexually and gender-diverse people that was launched by the Division in April, received much exposure at Congress with a related insert in both the Congress programme and PsySSA Annual Report. The guidelines, as well as the Division’s mission, were also reflected on banners in the exhibition hall at Congress (see photo below) and an updated SGD flyer outlining the work, key successes and linkages, was similarly distributed to all attendees as a Congress bag insert.
The Division’s work as amicus in the Jon Qwelane homophobic hate speech matter similarly featured significantly in plenary at Congress in the 3rd Siphiwe Ngcobo Memorial Lecture presented by Justice Edwin Cameron with the title Justice and Psychology: Conjunction at a time of peril for which he received a standing ovation.
In addition, the congress saw at least 10 paper presentations on sexuality and gender and four symposia ranging from gendered violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, trans and gender diversity, and putting the PsySSA practice guidelines to work. There was also a very well received roundtable discussion Im/perfect terms: Liminality, language and naming in queer spaces (see photo of speakers below).
SGD executive members, Pierre Brouard, Melanie Judge and Peace Kiguwa, conducting a roundtable discussion at Congress
As always, our AGM was a dynamic affair, with some discussions lasting well into the night. A Rural Road Show emerged as a core focus of this discussion. Towards re-thinking the SGD beyond an LGBTI/queer focus, a strategic planning retreat is planned for the SGD to examine its focus and direction. Strategic partnerships are also to be considered, among others, with the Southern African Sexual Health Association (SASHA) and Gender DynamiX, as well as with the PsySSA Trauma and Violence Division with a focus on gender-based violence (GBV) which should be the Division’s ‘bread and butter’, given the levels of GBV in South Africa. We sadly said goodbye to Casey Blake who had to resign from the Executive due to other professional commitments.
Feminism & Psychology/ PsySSA Sexuality and Gender Division: Student Presentation Prize
Feminism & Psychology and the PsySSA Sexuality & Gender Division in 2016 inaugurated a prize for best student presentation in the field of sexuality and gender at the annual Psychology Congress. The prize consists of a certificate and a year’s subscription to Feminism & Psychology (besides the prestige, worth around R1 500.00). Feminism & Psychology is an international peer reviewed journal that provides a forum for debate at the interface between feminism and psychology. The journal’s principal aim is to foster the development of feminist theory and practice in and beyond psychology. It publishes high-quality original research, theoretical articles, and commentaries (http://fap.sagepub.com/).
Haile Matutu received this year’s prize for his presentation titled Reflexive ethics: Countering epistemic violence in research with marginalized populations. Haile is a Masters student at the University of Cape Town. His paper considers the position of ethics in research with marginalized populations as ongoing, critical, and dialogical. Reflecting on a study with non-gay identifying men who have sex with men (NGI MSM), he explores opportunity to reconsider ethics in research and thus attend to the injustices of the erasure of marginalised sexual and gender subjectivities. In engaging a decolonised feminist research agenda, Matutu argues for a reflexive methodological promiscuity and a reconsideration of ethics in practice towards countering potential epistemic violence. The Executive Committee of the Sexuality and Gender Division and the editors of Feminism & Psychology warmly congratulate him on this award.
Haile Matutu, Winner of the Student Award for Best Presentation at the 24th PSYSSA Congress, Emperor’s Palace, Johannesburg.
The second runner-up for the Student Award is Rebecca Helman, a PhD student at the University of South Africa. Her paper is titled “Reflections on sexual violence: Coloniality, race and un/rapeability”.
World Professional Association for Transgender Health Outstanding Student Contribution Award
It gives us great pleasure to announce that Chris/tine McLachlan who is a SGD Executive member and Unisa PhD student in the Department of Psychology under supervision of Juan Nel, is the runner up for the WPATH Outstanding Student Contribution Award. This is a wonderful achievement and recognition of the important work Chris has been doing over many years. This award honors a graduate student or postdoctoral scholar who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of transgender health through scholarship, research, curriculum development, policy, or has demonstrated exemplary service to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).