As I write this first column as AASECT President, I am emerging from four intense, rewarding days at AASECT’s 2018 Summer Institute, Decentering the Norm: Social Justice Transformations in Sex Therapy, Counseling and Education. Participants, presenters and organizers left the Institute with this consensus: We need to expand our work beyond trying to help heal only individuals, couples, and families. We need to embrace work as change agents in our communities. Would it be too much to claim that until we all can expect social justice, none of us will experience the freedom and affirmation needed to optimize sexual health?
On April 11, 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (hereafter, FOSTA-SESTA). The law purports to address the scourge of sex trafficking by, in the language of the legislation, “clarify[ing]” section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230, commonly known as the Communications Decency Act of 1996). Section 230 was originally inserted as a “safe harbor” provision in order to provide to websites and internet forums immunity from liability for the actions and posts of their users. FOSTA-SESTA removes this immunity in cases of potential sex trafficking, forcing sites and platforms to remove or censor any user content that could, per the language of the law, “promote and facilitate prostitution.”
AASECT is opposed to the current policy of the Trump Administration and the US Department of Defense regarding blocking transgender Americans from serving in the United States military. We join other organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, as well as former Surgeons General M. Joycelyn Elders and David Satcher in opposing the ban on transgender troops and questioning the Defense Department’s rationale for excluding transgender people from service.
Greetings, AASECT colleagues! My name is Rosalyn Dischiavo, I am the incoming chairperson for the Professional Education Steering Committee, which includes conferences, institutes, and the CE approval committee. Previously, I have served on the Certification Committee, the CE committee, and as the chairperson of the Organizational Providers committee. I am still developing goals together with my sub-committee chairs, but my main goals for this term are all aimed at making AASECT processes and procedures more understandable and simple for new applicants and current members.
I’m a brand new AASECT Board member and chair of the Public Relationships, Media and Advocacy committee. For those who don’t know me – I was trained as a sex therapist in the early 1980’s in the post-doctoral program run by Sandra Leiblum and Ray Rosen in New Jersey’s University of Medicine and Dentristy, and I first joined AASECT shortly thereafter. I’m a licensed psychologist, certified sex therapist and sex therapy supervisor. But I entered grad school thinking of myself as an activist: I’d been active in the civil rights movement and peace movement in the 1960’s, and in the feminist and lesbian rights movements of the 1970’s. And I was deeply suspicious of ‘psychiatry,’ which I considered to be an extension of patriarchal, racist, and homophobic institutions. My activist identity has always informed my work, which since 1976 has been primarily with the LGBTQ+ community. So when I was invited to chair this committee, and was told my responsibility would primarily be to help make AASECT more active in taking public positions in line with advocacy for the populations we serve and values we hold, it was a natural for me.
We endorse International Pronouns Day, which seeks to make asking, sharing, and respecting personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities. We encourage colleges, schools, workplaces, and local organizations to hold educational and empowering events on International Pronouns Day.
Please join us in welcoming our newest addition to the AASECT staff team, Jorie Rosen! Jorie is a Chicago native with over 15 years of corporate, social, and educational event programming experience. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Health Psychology from National-Louis University in 2007, and is excited to join the AASECT staff team to support the board in promoting the mission of the organization. As a main point of contact for membership services, Institute/Annual Conference registration and Supervision Contracts, Jorie is committed to delivering communication, program support and client services with dedication and enthusiasm. Some of her interests include: Spending time with friends & family; Organizing everything!; Sunshine/Vitamin D; Dateline and 20/20; Brunch & Bloody Marys. Jorie can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The location of the 2019 annual conference is Philadelphia! It is an amazing place that offers AASECT a multitude of diverse experiences and we are hoping to integrate as much local talent and participation as possible. We are already at work reviewing the feedback of 2018 conference attendees, putting together a conference committee, and choosing a theme that reflects our desire to further integrate the fields of education, counseling, and therapy. The conference venue (selected years in advance by staff) is the same size as the Denver hotel, so chances are that we will sell out well in advance. We promise to be in touch with the new theme, deadline for proposals, and other details as soon as they are decided.