Victor C. J., Nel J. A. (2017). Developing an affirmative position statement on sexual and gender diversity for psychology professionals in South Africa. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10(2), 87-102.
Background. Against the background of the dominance of patriarchy and heteronormativity in Africa and the resultant stigma, discrimination and victimisation of sexually and gender-diverse people, this article reports on the development of an affirmative position statement by the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) for psychology professionals working with sexually and gender-diverse people. The position statement is an attempt to contribute positively to the de-stigmatisation, amongst psychology professionals, of all people with diverse sexual and gender identities.
Objective. In documenting and reflecting on the process of developing the statement — a first on the African continent — the article aims to contribute to the potential resources available to others in their work on similar projects around the world.
Design. Although initially intended to be relevant to the African continent, the position statement is appropriate to the South African context specifically, but developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders, also from other African countries.
Results. Concerns expressed during stakeholder consultations, and thus taken into account in the development of the statement, include relevance to other African countries, negotiating the politics of representation and language, the importance of including gender and biological variance in addition to sexuality, and the need to be sensitive to how Western influence is constructed in some African contexts.
Conclusion. Other national psychology organisations stand to benefit by ‘lessons learned’ during this country-specific process with global implications, especially with respect to broadening the lens from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) to sexual and gender diversity, as well as an acknowledgement of the multiple and fluid developmental pathways around sexuality and gender, in general.
Keywords: affirmative stance, LGBTI psychology, position statement, PsySSA, sexual and gender diversity