Bringing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Research to Budapest

September 27-28, 2019, scholars from around the globe will present their research, clinical experience, and views at the 2nd International Evidence-Based Psychotherapy for Gender and Sexual Minorities Conference in Budapest, Hungary. There are a number of factors giving rise to concentrated attention in the area of advancing sexual and gender minority psychotherapies. First, despite a lack of investment in clinical trials by major funders, the primary transdiagnostic mechanisms have been well-laid out and offer guidance in how to construct such interventions (e.g., Pachankis, et al., 2016; Pachankis, 2018). Though targets vary, both sexual minority stress and gender minority stress appear driven by internalized stigma, rejection sensitivity, concealment, misgendering, and overt discrimination or violence. Areas of intervention might target these directly, or well-supported underlying mechanisms that drive distress, such as emotion dysregulation.

The 1st international conference occurred in 2017 in San Jose, CA, with workshops from field leaders ranging from lore m. dickey and Diane Ehrensaft to Colleen Sloan, Adam Carmel, and Matthew Skinta. Discussions quickly began to select a venue outside of the U.S. as a follow up. The goal was to select a location where the very occurrence of a sexual and gender minority conference would have an effect on the community, a careful balance between a venue where the conference would push local discussions while simultaneously being a safe place for attendees to congregate, explore, and travel. The conference committee was also hoping to select a venue outside of the wealthiest nations that such conferences typically occur, as the price of both travel and housing would be just as prohibitive to those activist scientists and clinicians around the globe whether the conference were to be held in Tokyo, San Francisco, or Dublin. For these reasons, we were continually drawn back to Budapest. The city, and its own LGBTQ+ community, are progressive, open, and visibly present. An LGBTQ+ themed café rests against the bank of the Danube, windows open to the street, and travel and lodging in the broader region is quite inexpensive.

This is also a community under fire. Recent years have seen large donations fund the translation of books proposing sexual orientation change efforts by Charles Socarides and Joseph Nicolosi, Sr., into Hungarian. The right-leaning government banned the teaching of gender, effectively eliminating a top gender studies program at the Central European University (which has since relocated its main campus to Vienna due to sustained attacks on its credentials by the government). Secret and not-so-secret donors have funded pro-“conversion therapy” trainings and conferences at top medical schools. There is also a strong and vocal community of psychologists, like Dr. Andrea Ritter or Ádám Németh, who have acquired funding for the translation of APA materials on ethical practice and hosted local affirming conferences. This combination of a passionate local community and the targeting of the region by groups promoting LGBTQ+ animus were inspirational in selecting this venue.

 

In 2018, the conference company that had underwritten the first San Jose conference also hosted a weekend conference by a different name in New Orleans, LA. It followed more of an intensive training model, with a single series of keynotes and expert behavioral trainers such as Drs. August Stockwell, Matthew Skinta, and Colleen Sloan, as well as Worner Leland, MS. Though well-reviewed, this heightened the initial commitment to a full, multi-track conference such as occurred in San Jose that would allow for the sharing of ideas between clinicians and researchers that highlights current creativity in the field.

The upcoming conference in Budapest will feature workshops and talks from regional thought leaders, such as Richard Bränström on minority stress findings in Europe, Nicola Petrocchi and Hannah Gilbert on Compassion Focused Therapy, and Brigitte Khoury’s intersectional work on the needs of LGBTQ+ clients of Arab descent. Recently accepted workshops include guidance on trans affirming practice from August Stockwell and Worner Leland, and Jeremy Wernick and colleagues guiding the development of more trans affirming adaptations for work with serious mental illness. The deadline for panels, symposia, and posters is still open through the end of May, with discounted rates for those from emerging nations and for students. If you are interested or have any questions, please feel free to contact the conference organizing committee at sogdconference@gmail.com. To submit or register, visit sogdconference.dryfta.com.

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