At the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) meetings in June, responding to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots which marked the beginning of the modern era of LGBTQ+ rights, APsaA President Lee Jaffe apologized for our national organization’s historic role in abetting discrimination towards the LGBTQ+ community. He said: “Regrettably, much of our past understanding of homosexuality as an illness can be attributed to the American psychoanalytic establishment. While our efforts in advocating for sexual and gender diversity since are worthy of pride, it is long past time to recognize and apologize for our role in the discrimination and trauma caused by our profession and say ‘we are sorry.’”
The leadership of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (BPSI) stands in solidarity with APsaA and several other institutes who have issued statements of apology for our shared organizational histories of excluding LGBTQ+ professionals from our society and training programs, legitimizing cultural biases, and being resistant to modernizing psychoanalytic theory and practice to account for diversity in sexuality and gender identity.
For the part BPSI has played in slowing down progress in these important areas, and hurting our colleagues’ professional lives, we are deeply apologetic.
Over the last twenty-five years, BPSI has been dedicated to becoming an inclusive organization. From the formation of our Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the 1990’s by Gerald Adler and Lawrence Hartmann, to our current Task Force on Inclusion and Diversity, we have worked hard to make sure that all clinicians and scholars, no matter their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, or economic status, feel welcomed as part of our community. BPSI members have been at the forefront of developing contemporary psychoanalytic paradigms of gender and sexuality that emphasize deeper understanding rather than pathologizing of differences. We will continue to use our organization’s talent and psychoanalytic perspective to understand the unconscious roots of bias and discrimination, and to use this understanding to help diverse populations in our community.
We recognize that these are ongoing challenges, and we welcome your input and suggestions as to how the BPSI community can continue to make progress in these critically important areas.
Daniel Mollod, MD, President
James Barron, PhD, Chair, Board of Trustees
Catherine Kimble, MD, Executive Director
Jack Foehl, PhD, President-Elect
Julie Watts, LICSW, Immediate Past President
Cary Friedman, MD, Chair, Psychoanalytic Training Program Education Committee
Richard Gomberg, MD, Director of Psychotherapy Training