From conversion toward affirmation: Psychology, civil rights, and experiences of gender-diverse communities in Memphis
Conversion efforts constitute any attempt to align an individual's behavior or identity with cisgender and heterosexual norms. The majority of empirical literature on conversion efforts focuses on the experiences of White cisgender gay men. Drawing on a review of the literature, archives, and interviews with local community leaders and stakeholders, this article highlights a broader set of conversion strategies targeted toward Black transgender individuals in Memphis, a community at the heart of the civil rights movement. In addition to the role of ex-gay ministries like Love In Action, this investigation produced themes highlighting the roles of Christian organizations promulgating "church hurt," structural violence, and gatekeeping to access affirmative care as forms of conversion. We further describe how lack of inclusion within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, in terms of race, class, and gender identity, has resulted in unequal support for Black transgender individuals and the obscuring of the central role that many transgender individuals, especially those with intersectional marginalized identities, have played in social justice movements. We end with ideas for moving toward affirmation and liberation.
Hipp, T., Gore, K., Toumayan, A., Anderson, M., & Thurston, I. (2019). From conversion toward affirmation: Psychology, civil rights, and experiences of gender-diverse communities in Memphis. American Psychologist, 74 (8), 882-897. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000558