Statement from the Arizona Psychological Association: LGBTQ+ Rights and Advocacy Efforts
Arizona Governor Ducey signed into law SB1165 and SB1138 on March 30th, 2022, which deny gender-affirming surgical care to Transgender individuals before the age of 18 and access to sports for Transgender athletes.
Such legislation is harmful to the children and adults who identify as LGBTQ+. Many states have recently passed similar anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, which denies the basic human rights of individuals and communities that identify as LGBTQ+.
The Arizona Psychological Association (AzPA) strongly opposes the passage of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, policies, and practices. The negative long-term and societal costs of passing legislation that discriminates against LGBTQ+ individuals are well documented in psychological science and research.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA, 2020):
Anti-LGBTQ+ stigma harms the physical and psychological health of LGBTQ+ people (Bialer & McIntosh, 2016; Burke, 2016; Cahill, 2017; Hatzenbuehler et al., 2009; Newman-Freeman, 2013; Raifman et al., 2018; Singh, & McKleroy, 2011) while equalizing laws and initiatives lead to improvement in LGBTQ+ people's physical and psychological health (Hatzenbuehler & Keyes, 2013; Mattocks et al., 2014; Parco & Levy, 2013; Tran, 2016; Wight, LeBlanc, & Badgett, 2013; Woodford et al., 2018).
Transgender children vary in athletic ability, just as other youth do. There is no evidence to support claims that allowing transgender student athletes to play on the team that fits their gender identity would affect the fairness of the sport or competition (ACLU, 2020).
Stereotype-based information about LGBTQ+ people appearing in discourse around laws, policies, and practices contributes to social stigma (Ball, 2010; Bull & Gallagher, 1996; Conrad, 1983; Douglass, 1997; Dugan, 2005; Eastland, 1996a; 1996b; Fingerhut et al., 2011; Herman, 1997; Keen & Goldberg, 2001; Moats, 2004; Russell & Bohan, 2014; Sarbin, 1996; Witt & McCorkle, 1997) and carries negative effects for LGBTQ+ people (Fingerhut et al., 2011; Russell, 2000; Russell & Richards, 2003).
Research and clinical literature demonstrate that variations in sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behavior as well as gender identity and gender expression are normal and positive variations of human sexuality (Bell, Weinberg, & Hammersmith, 1981; Bullough, 1976; Ford & Beach 1951; Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953) and gender (Bockting, 2008; Coleman et al., 2012; Kuper et al., 2012) and there is no scientific basis for such discrimination based on LGBTQ+ identities. There is ample evidence that an opportunity for adolescents to participate in sports results in positive outcomes, such as better grades, greater homework completion, higher educational and occupational aspirations, and improved self-esteem (Darling et al., 2005; Fredericks & Eccles, 2006; Marsh & Kleitman, 2003; Nelson, & Gordon-Larsen, 2006; Ortega et al., 2008; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). Additionally, excluding any subset of gender from sports can encourage divisiveness and compromise group cohesion, undermining the benefits all youth deserve from team sports (ACLU, 2020). All youth should have access to the benefits of sports.
Transgender youth foregoing gender-affirming care can have tragic consequences. Evidence has shown Transgender youth experience disproportionate levels of violence and bullying. Transgender youth are also more likely to feel less safe at school than cisgender youth, that is youth whose gender identity is consistent with their assigned sex at birth (Day et al., 2018).
Access to gender-affirming care has a positive relationship with the mental health of transgender youth and lowers their risk of depression and suicide (Bauer et al., 2015; Green et al., 2021. Transgender youth who have access to gender-affirming medical care experience improvements in mental health and often show mental health comparable to their cisgender peers (Toomey et al., 2022). Additionally, the distress experienced by youth who are provided treatments, but then decide to discontinue them and grow up to be cisgender, is significantly less than that which is experienced by transgender youth when such treatments are delayed (Ashley, 2021).
Decisions about whether to seek gender-affirming care, and what specific services to utilize, must be made between a provider, patient, and the patient’s parents or guardians. Such decisions are relative to the youth’s individual clinical situation. Gender affirming care typically includes steps toward social transition, potentially treatments to temporarily postpone puberty, and in some instances, gender affirming hormone therapy (Coleman et al., 2012). Rather than allow flexibility to account for the varying needs of individuals, SB1138 adopts a “one size fits all” approach by categorically banning the provision of appropriate gender-affirming surgery for minors.
Therefore, the Arizona Psychological Association, ask the federal and state governments to support equal opportunity, fairness, and equal access to care for LGBTQ+ individuals and all minority communities.
We call upon the AzPA membership to advocate for Arizona’s LGBTQ+ and other minority communities by opposing discriminatory legislation such as SB1165 and SB1138.
AzPA asks state policymakers and leaders to join with us in opposing unjust practices and policies in order to promote the well-being of LGBTQ+ communities and all of Arizona’s minority communities.
AzPA asks the citizens of Arizona to join us in urging our leaders to respect and protect the well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals from discriminatory laws, policies, and practices such as SB 1165 and SB 1138.
Evelyn Burrell, Psy.D. Ashton Dessert
Arizona Psychological Association
LGBTQ+ Committee Chair
Arizona Psychological Association
Click here to view as a PDF
American Civil Liberties Union (2020). Four myths about trans athletes, debunked. https://www.aclu.org/news/lgbtq-rights/four-myths-about-trans-athletes-debunked/
American Psychological Association. 2020. Resolution on opposing discriminatory laws, policies, and practices aimed at LGBTQ+ persons. https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/policy/opposing-laws
Ashley, F. (2021). The clinical irrelevance of “desistance” research for transgender and gender creative youth. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000504.
Ball, C.A. (2010 ). From the closet to the classroom: Five LGBT lawsuits that have changed our nation. Boston: Beacon.
Bauer G.R., Scheim A.I., Pyne J., Travers R., Hammond R. (2015). Intervenable factors associated with suicide risk in transgender persons: a respondent driven sampling study in Ontario, Canada. BMC Public Health, 15, 525.
Bell, A.P., Weinberg, M. S., & Hammersmith, S.K. (1981). Sexual preference: Its development in men and women. Indiana University Press.
Bialer, P.A., & McIntosh, C.A. (2016). Discrimination, stigma, and hate: The impact on the mental health and well-being of LGBT people . Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, 20 (4), 297-298. https://doi.org/10.1080/19359705.2016.1211887
Bockting, W.O. (2008). Psychotherapy and the real-life experience: From gender dichotomy to gender diversity. Sexologies, 17, 211–224. http:// dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sexol.2008.08.001
Bull, C., & Gallagher, J. (1996). The religious right, the gay movement, and the politics of the 1990s. New York: Crown.
Bullough, V.L. (1976). Sexual variance in society and history. Oxford, England: John Wiley & Sons.
Burke, D. (2016). Yes, marriage equality is a mental health issue. Australasian Psychiatry, 24(6), 623. doi: 10.1177/1039856216649771
Cahill, S.R. (2017). Research and policy change to improve healthcare and elder services for LGBT older adults . LGBT Health, 4 (6), 381-383. https://doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2017.0226
Coleman, E., Bockting, W., Botzer, M., Cohen-Kettenis, P., DeCuypere, G., Feldman, J., Fraser, L., Green, J., Knudson, G., Meyer, W.J., Monstrey, S., Adler, R.K., Brown, G.R., Devor, A.H., Ehrbar, R., Ettner, R., Eyler, E., Garofalo, R., Karasic, D.H., Zucker, K. (2012). Standards of care for the health of transsexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people, version 7. International Journal of Transgenderism, 13, 165-232. https://doi.org/10.1080/15532739.2011.700873
Conrad, C. (1983). The rhetoric of the moral majority: An analysis of romantic from. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 69, 159-170. https://doi.org/10.1080/00335638309383644.
Darling, N., Caldwell, L. L., & Smith, R. (2005). Participation in school-based extracurricular activities and adolescent adjustment. Journal of Leisure Research, 37(1), 51–76.
Day, J., Perez-Brumer, A., & Russell, S. (2018). Safe Schools? Transgender Youth’s School Experiences and Perceptions of School Climate. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 47, 1731–1742.
Douglass, D. (1997). Taking the initiative: Anti-homosexual propaganda of the Oregon Citizens Alliance. In S. L. Witt & S. McCorkle (Eds.), Anti-gay rights: Assessing voter initiatives (pp. 17-32). Westport, CT: Praeger.
Dugan, K.B. (2005). The struggle over gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights: Facing off in Cincinnati. New York: Routledge.
Eastland, L.S. (1996a). Defending identity: Courage and compromise in radical right contexts. In F.B. Ray (Ed.), Case studies in communication and disenfranchisement: Applications to social health issues (pp. 3-14). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Eastland, L.S. (1996b). The reconstruction of identity: Strategies of the Oregon Citizens Alliance. In F.B. Ray (Ed.), Case studies in communication and disenfranchisement: Applications to social health issues. (pp. 59-75). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Fingerhut, A.W., Riggle, E.D.B., & Rostosky, S.S. (2011). Same-sex marriage: The social and psychological implications of policy and debates. Journal of Social Issues, 67, 225-241. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2011.01695.x
Ford, C.S. & Beach, F.A. (1951). Patterns of sexual behavior. The Harper Brothers.
Fredericks, J. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2006). Is extracurricular participation associated with beneficial outcomes? Concurrent and longitudinal relations. Developmental Psychology, 42(4), 698–713.
Green, A. E., DeChantes, J. P., Price, M. N., Davis, C. A. (2021). Association of gender affirming hormone therapy with depression, thoughts of suicide, and attempted suicide among transgender and nonbinary youth. Journal of Adolescent Health.
Hatzenbuehler, M.L., McLaughlin, K.A., Keyes, K.M., & Hasin, D.S. (2010). The impact of institutional discrimination on psychiatric disorders in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: A prospective study. American Journal of Public Health, 100(3), 452-459. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.168815
Hatzenbuehler, M.L., O'Cleirigh, C.,Grasso, C., Mayer, K., Safren, S., & Bradford, J. (2012). Effect of same-sex marriage laws on health care use and expenditures in sexual minority men: A quasi-natural experiment, American Journal of Public Health, 102(2), 285-291. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300382
Hatzenbuehler, M.L., & Keyes, K.M. (2013). Inclusive anti-bullying policies and reduced risk of suicide attempts in lesbian and gay youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53 (1), S21-S26. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.08.010
Hatzenbuehler, M.L. & Link, B.G. (2014). Introduction to the special issue on structural stigma and health. Social Science & Medicine, 103, 1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.12.017
Hatzenbuehler, M.L., Phelan, J.C., & Link, B.G. (2013). Stigma as a fundamental cause of population health inequalities. American Journal of Public Health, 103, 813-821. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301069
Herman, D. (1997). The antigay agenda: Orthodox vision and the Christian Right. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/c/9780226327693.001.0001
Keen, L., and Goldberg, S.B. (2001). Strangers to the law: Gay people on trial. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Kinsey, A.C., Pomeroy, W.B., & Martin, C.E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Oxford, England: Saunders.
Kinsey, A.C., Pomeroy, W.B., Martin, C.E., & Gebhard, P.H. (1953). Sexual behavior in the human female. Oxford, England: Saunders.
Kuper, L.E., Nussbaum, R., & Mustanski, B. (2012). Exploring the diversity of gender and sexual orientation identities in an online sample of transgender individuals. The Journal of Sex Research, 49 (2-3), 244-254. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2011.596954
Marsh, H.W. & Kleitman, S. (2003). School athletic participation: Mostly gain with little pain. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 25(2), 205–228.
Mattocks, K.M., Kauth, M.R., Sandfort, T., Matza, A.R., Sullivan, J.C., & Shipherd, J.C. (2014). Understanding health-care needs of sexual and gender minority veterans: how targeted research and policy can improve health . LGBT health, 1 (1), 50-57. doi: 10.1089/lgbt.2013.0003
Moats, D. (2004). Civil wars: A battle for gay marriage. Orlando, FL: Harcourt.
Nelson, M. C. & Gordon-Larsen, P. (2006). Physical activity and sedentary behavior patterns are associated with selected adolescent health risk behaviors. Pediatrics, 117(4), 1281–1290.
Newman-Freeman, V.M. (2013). Bridging the Gaps: How Does Anti-Gay Discourse and Legislation Affect the Emotional and Relational Well-Being of African-American Lesbian Women and Family (Doctoral dissertation, Drexel University).
Ortega, F. B., Ruiz, J. R., Castillo, M. J., & Sjöström, M. (2008). Physical fitness in childhood and adolescence: A powerful marker of health. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 1– 11.
Parco, J.E., & Levy, D.A. (2013). Policy and paradox: Grounded theory at the moment of DADT repeal. Journal of Homosexuality, 60 (2-3), 356-380. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2013.744925.
Raifman, J., Moscoe, E., Austin, S. B., Hatzenbuehler, M.L., & Galea, S. (2018). Association of state laws permitting denial of services to same-sex couples with mental distress in sexual minority adults: A difference-in-difference-in-differences analysis. Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, 75(7), 671–677.
Russell, G.M. (2000). Voted out: Psychological consequences of anti-gay politics. New York: New York University Press.
Russell, G.M. (2011). Motives of heterosexual allies in collective action for equality. Journal of Social Issues, 67, 376-393. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.2011.01703.x
Russell, G.M., & Bohan, J.S. (2014). Toward a contextual understanding of psychology trainees' religious conflicts. Journal of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 1, 293-301. doi:10.1037/sgd0000072.
Russell, G.M., Bohan, J.S., McCarroll, M.C., & Smith, N.G. (2010). Trauma, recovery, and community: Perspectives on the long-term impact of anti-LGBT politics. Traumatology, 1- 10. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534765610362799
Russell, G.M., & Richards, J.A. (2003). Stressor and resilience factors for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals confronting antigay politics. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31, 313-328. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1023919022811
Sarbin, T.R. (1996). The deconstruction of stereotypes: Homosexuals and military policy. In G.M. Herek, J.B. Jobe, & R.M. Carney (eds.), Out in force: Sexual orientation and the military (pp. 177-196). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Singh, A.A., & McKleroy, V.S. (2011). “Just getting out of bed is a revolutionary act”: The resilience of transgender people of color who have survived traumatic life events. Traumatology, 17 (2), 34-44. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534765610369261.
Toomey, R. B., McGuire, J. K., Olson, K. R., Baams, L., & Fish, J., N. (2022). Gender-affirming policies support transgender and gender diverse youth's health. Society for Research in Child Development. https://www.srcd.org/research/gender-affirming-policies-support- transgender-and-gender-diverse-youths-health.
Tran, L.D. (2016). Moderate effects of same-sex legislation on dependent employer-based insurance coverage among sexual minorities. Medical Care Research and Review, 73 (6), 752–768. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077558715625560
Wight, R.G., LeBlanc, A.J., & Lee Badgett, M.V. (2013). Same-sex legal marriage and psychological well-being: findings from the California Health Interview Survey. American Journal of Public Health, 103 (2), 339-346. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301113
Witt, S.L., & McCorkle, S. (Eds.). (1997). Anti-gay rights: Assessing voter initiatives. Westport, CT: Praeger
Woodford, M. R., Kulick, A., Garvey, J. C., Sinco, B. R., & Hong, J. S. (2018). LGBTQ policies and resources on campus and the experiences and psychological well-being of sexual minority college students: Advancing research on structural inclusion. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 5 (4), 445-456. https://doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000289.