Date of this Version
Published in Psychology of Women Quarterly 43:3 (2019), pp 271-274.
In my introduction to the special section on LGBTQ genders in this issue of the Psychology of Women Quarterly (PWQ), I highlight and place in context the significant contributions of this special section to theory and the broader psychological literature on gender. For several years now, the Society of Psychology of Women’s Section 4 (Section on Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns) of the American Psychological Association (APA) has invited authors of ground-breaking empirical research on gender and sexuality to submit papers to present at the annual APA convention. Through the years, we have seen cutting edge research presented that has pushed the boundaries of existing theory and knowledge on gender and sexuality. And scholars have increased our understanding of how to best serve the needs of individuals and communities diverse in gender and sexual orientation. Of course, expanding far beyond the scope of Section 4’s annual APA symposium, there has been a veritable explosion in the broader literature on research related to LGBTQ genders (e.g., Moradi et al., 2016; Singh & Shelton, 2011). In my role as President of Section 4, and with PWQ Editors Mary Brabeck and Dawn Szymanski, we saw an opportunity in a pivotal time to advance efforts to highlight ground-breaking gender and sexuality research by inviting an article that synthesized the extant literature and could offer a theoretical foundation for understanding gender as a psychosocial phenomenon. We invited Heidi Levitt, a leading researcher in this field, to reflect on her work and draw on hers’ and others’ empirical findings to articulate a theory of LGBTQ gender development. Levitt’s (2019) invited article serves as the core contribution for this special section of PWQ. We also invited reflections from two additional leading scholars in the field, Bonnie Moradi and Laurel Watson. We asked them to reflect on the implications of Levitt’s article for research (Moradi, 2019) and teaching and clinical practice (Watson, 2019). In her invited response, Bonnie Moradi elucidates a framework of power by which to explicate the implications of Levitt’s psychosocial theory of LGBTQ+ genders on future scholarship in this area. In the second invited response, Watson highlights three main themes that cut across Levitt’s psychosocial theory of LGBTQ genders to describe their implications for psychology clinicians, educators, and advocates: (re)defining gender, intersectionality, and social justice.