Committee Updates: Public Relations, Media and Advocacy
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.
Ian Kerner, who did such a masterful job as PRMA chair for the past two years, has agreed to stay on to continue handling public relations and media requests. I am completely grateful for this. This leaves me and my committee, about ten people so far, to focus on issues that beg for AASECT’s informed perspective. We have just finished a position statement on SESTA FOSTA, the set of Federal laws recently enacted ostensibly to curb sex trafficking but which in reality have a limiting impact on free speech.
Our goal is to research and produce many more position statements that are similar. For example, right before working on the SESTA FOSTA statement, we issued a statement opposing Trump’s ban on transgender troops. And endorsed National Pronoun Day. In the future, we might publish positions on, for example, policies regarding sex education in the United States and/or policies regarding sexual minorities.
I’d love to hear from AASECT members about the issues you think we should address. If you want to suggest a topic, or volunteer to be on the committee, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Margie Nichols, Ph.D.