Niel Victor

SGD update: A dynamic and active collection

A division in a voluntary professional association is the sum of its active members, no more, no less.  A division only shines through in its potential to provide a sense of belonging.  This sense is made possible by the professional and collegial mutual efforts of the individuals, groups and organisations involved in the division – only the strength of the engaged ‘we’ can realise this potential to the benefit of all stakeholders.

In the short space of time since it was constituted, the SGD has shown itself as a dynamic and active collection.  This year felt like it was further building on its strength and impact.  Possibly the most visible manifestation of the work was the Congress in September.  The diversity of offerings included:

  • A key note address by the accomplished US academic Dr John Pachankis titled ‘Translating clinical wisdom into empirically-supported LGBT-affirmative treatments’
  • A workshop by well-known trans activist and medical doctor, Anastacia Tomson, on deconstructing sex and gender to assist in sensitising clinicians to working with sexually and gender diverse people
  • Two symposia – one on researching the sexually and gender diverse and the other on therapeutic work with trans identified people
  • Our display table under the ‘Diversity in practice’ banner, titled ‘Trans* affirmative care, with specific reference to FTM (Female-to-Male)’. It became a useful focal point for highly meaningful discussions around how we language with each other, the meanings of how we express ourselves, and the fast evolving lexicon in the area – with both trans* and FTM as descriptors being problematised and questions asked around the real human consequences of language
  • Several presentations over two days covering the broad areas of work with sexuality and gender

Dr John Pachankis

SGD display table

Feminism & Psychology/ PsySSA Sexuality and Gender Division: Student Presentation Prize

Feminism & Psychology and the PsySSA Sexuality & Gender Division inaugurated a prize for best student presentation in the field of sexuality and gender at the 2016 PsySSA Congress, 20-23 September 2016, Emperors Palace. 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 (

Avri Spilka received this year’s prize for her presentation titled Do dental dams fulfil motivational psychosocial needs amongst women who have sex with women (WSW) in Tshwane, South Africa? A qualitative study. Avri Spilka is a student at the South African College of Applied Psychology.  Her work was supervised by Dr Ian Opperman. The executive committee of the Sexuality and Gender Division and the editors of Feminism & Psychology warmly congratulate her on this award.

This prize represents one of three awarded by Feminism & Psychology in conjunction with Psychology Societies. The other two are awarded for best student paper submitted to the Psychology of Women Section of the British Psychological Society, and for the best student presentation at Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI).

avri-spilkaAvri Spilka in front of SGD banner


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New SGD brochure!

Check out the new SGD brochure online at

Progressive Prudes: A Survey of South African Attitudes to Homosexuality and Gender Non-Conformity

The Other Foundation and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) recently released the results of a ground-breaking national survey of public attitudes to homosexuality and gender non-conformity in South Africa.

The report is named ‘Progressive Prudes’ because it shows that the majority of South Africans think that gay and lesbian people should have the same human rights protections as other people and should be part of the cultures and traditions of South Africa – even though the majority also think that sex between people of the same sex is morally wrong.

Pierre Brouard and Niel Victor represented the SGD on the research reference group that assisted in developing the study.  More details can be found on

IPsyNET Update


The International Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Issues (IPsyNet) is an organisation consisting of psychology associations across the globe.  PsySSA has been an active member of IPsyNet since its inception, and is currently represented by Juan Nel and Niel Victor.  The latest report outlining the achievements and objectives of IPsyNet is available on

Some time back IPsyNet identified the need to develop a workshop aimed at activists to support them in their work with LGBTI people and assist in building personal resiliency.  At the International Congress of Psychology (ICP) held in July 2016 in Japan, representatives had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the workshop.  Based on this feedback the workshop will be piloted at two sites in the world, with South Africa being one.  This pilot workshop is happening in Cape Town on 24 November 2016.


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