Sexuality and Gender Division (SGD)


The aims of the Division of Sexuality and Gender of PsySSA:

The Sexuality and Gender of PsySSA aims to promote a psychological understanding of the fields of sexuality and gender diversity, including queer identities and positions. The SGD addresses this mission through the advancement of scientific research, clinical practice, continuing professional development and being responsive to related national, continental and international issues and concerns. The objectives derived from this mission are to be achieved in cooperation with PsySSA, other professional organisations, relevant civil society organisations and the general public.

History of the development of the SGD

The above objectives should be seen against the origins and development of the SGD. The division developed from a collaborative project between PsySSA and APA (the American Psychological Association). PsySSA is a member of the International Network for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns and Transgender Issues in Psychology (INET, now called IPsyNET), that is hosted by the APA.

IPsyNet is composed of national, multinational and international psychological associations. “The vision of IPsyNet is that psychological organisations are effective leaders in ensuring that all persons fully enjoy health and human rights, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics, by incorporating the goals of celebrating and valuing the full range of human diversity, including diversity in gender, sexual orientation, and sex, into their structure, programmes, and activities (IPsyNet, 2013).”

Accordingly, PsySSA and the SGD adhere to a psychology that is affirmative of sexual and gender diversity. This includes the recognition of various sexualities and gender identities as normal variations of human sexuality and not per se as the cause of psychological difficulties or pathology. Contextual awareness is emphasised, including an understanding of how aspects such as homo- and transphobia, heterosexism, prejudice and stigma impact on mental health and well-being.

Furthermore, the SGD therefore acknowledges the intersections between sexuality, gender and other forms of difference such as race and class. It aims to promote a critical psychology of sexuality and gender that goes beyond a focus on sex/gender differences to a consideration of how such differences are produced, reproduced and normalised through exclusionary and oppressive practices and mechanisms.

INCENTIVES for Membership
What do members receive by becoming members?
  • Secure database for referrals (e.g. private practice)
  • Communications regarding recent research as well as CPD and related workshops in the fields of sexualities and gender
  • Access to contribute to training (in CPD and related workshops)
  • Responding to current issues e.g. through media statements, blog writing; access to current research and scholarship; and a sense of community and belonging.
R 120 per year

Full Member

R120 per year


R 120 per year


R 120 per year

Registered Counsellor & Psychometrist

R90 per year

Psychology Intern

R 60 per year

Student Member

Rev. Chris McLachlan
Dr. Jarred Martin
Pierre Brouard
Suntosh Pillay
Prof. Juan Nel
Additional Member
Dr. Angeline Stephens
Additional Member
Sunitha Swanepoel
Additional Member
Dr. Lindokuhle Ubisi
Additional Member

Constitution of the the Sexuality and Gender Division of PsySSA

SGD is a division of PsySSA and has been established in terms of Article 12 of the PsySSA constitution.

Constitution of the the Sexuality and Gender Division of PsySSA

Sexuality and Gender Division Brochure

• Do you want to know about cutting-edge research
on sexuality and gender?
• Are you committed to making psychology
• Do you have an interest in collaborations to advance
theory and praxis on LGBTIQ+ issues?
• Are you concerned about sexual and gender rights?
• Or, are you just curious?

Sexuality and Gender Division Brochure
Practice Guidelines For Psychology Professionals Working With Sexually And Gender-Diverse People

These practice guidelines aim to increase psychological knowledge of human diversity in sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and sex characteristics.

Practice Guidelines For Psychology Professionals Working With Sexually And Gender-Diverse People

Statements, Articles, and Activities:

PsySSA publishes Historic Guidelines for Sexual and Gender Diversity
Sexual and Gender Diversity Position Statement
PsySSA Commemorates International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia
The quiet violence of inaction — we need to do better on gender-based violence - The Mail & Guardian
Southern African HIV Clinicians Society gender-affirming healthcare guideline for South Africa
Open Statement by The Psychological Society of South Africa represented by the Sexuality and Gender Division in support of Comprehensive Sexualities Education in South Africa
Hate crimes against the LGBTIQ+ community have far reaching consequences: PsySSA - SABC News
Dutch Reformed Church leader misrepresents paedophilic disorder as same-sex sexual orientation: An open statement by PsySSA
The Psychological Society of South Africa Sexuality and Gender Divisions issues a Press Statement regarding the Court of Arbitrations' ruling in the case of Caster Semenya vs. The International Associations of Athletics Federation
The Depo-Testosterone stock out must never repeat itself
Statement regarding Medical Affirming treatment, including Puberty Blockers, for Trans Adolescents
Launch of Landmark PsySSA Guidelines on Sexual and Gender Diversity Welcomed Widely
Psychologists expand gender understanding - City Press
SA psychologists adopt landmark LGBTQ affirming practice guidelines - Mambaonline - Gay South Africa Online
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer rights are human rights - PsyTalk
IPsyNet Statement and Commitment
What happens to a Dream Deferred? Queer Rights in South Africa on IDAHOBIT?
PsySSA joins Qwelane hate speech case
Psychology Society enters Qwelane case - News24
BREAKING NEWS: The Constitutional Court upholds the High Court order against Jon Qwelane
Jon Qwelane – apologise and pay up! - Thought Leader
Justice 12 years delayed: Jon Qwelane hate speech case to be heard in Constitutional Court on 22 September
PsySSA is ‘friend of the court’ in Jon Qwelane hate speech case
Jon Qwelane’s utterances declared hurtful and hate speech
Postponement of Qwelane hate speech case, eight years later, is a denial of justice
Gender activists welcome Concourt judgment in Qwelane's hate speech case

Op-Ed: Jon Qwelane’s hate speech – why words and context matter
APA Monitor on Psychology: Overturning Biases in South Africa


Feminism & Psychology/Sexual and Gender Division, PsySSA student presentation awards, 2022

It is with great pleasure that we announce the 2022 F&P/SGD PsySSA Division student presentation awards.  These annual awards are given to students who have presented outstanding work in the areas of sexualities or gender. As adjudicators, we were impressed with the depth and rigour of student presentations at the 2022 PsySSA congress.

Honorary mention goes to two students:

  1. Siyanda Shabalala, who presented, as first author, a paper entitled, Patterns of inclusion and exclusion among transgender women in South Africa: a critical narrative inquiry. Mapping the structures, practices and norms that contribute to the marginalization of transgender women in post- apartheid South Africa, the study found that transgender women face economic disempowerment impacted on by familial rejection and gender-based discrimination in a conservatively gendered labour system. Transgender women were also revealed to contend with institutional stigmatization in healthcare as well as invisibilisation in cisnormative South African knowledge systems that disregard transgender positions.
  2. Sunitha Swanepoel, who presented, as first author, a paper entitled Using Photovoice to Explore the Perceptions and Experiences of Masculinity amongst Male, Afrikaner Adolescents in Gauteng, South Africa. The study found that constructed notions of hegemonic masculinity were informed by: (1) the socially constructed intersubjectivities within the Afrikaner community, (2) Afrikaner and Voortrekker heritage, (3) historical romanticisation of farm life, and a generational shared patriarchal ownership and trust between Afrikaners and the land, (4) socialisation by friends and family who challenge and ridicule boys to adhere to hegemonic notions of masculinity, and (5) Christianity which guides them to live their lives “right”.

The winner of the 2022 F&P/SGD PsySSA student presentation award goes to Kajal Carr, who presented a paper entitled The pandemic of being a woman: A discourse analysis of the South African media’s accounts of GBV at the time of COVID-19. The study demonstrated reductionist, uncontextualized and highly gendered representations of GBV that uphold colonial ideals of masculinity and femininity, while doing little to resist those power dynamics that uphold GBV.

Warm congratulations to all the awardees! This is a significant achievement.


PsySSA Practice Guidelines for Working with Sexually and Gender Diverse People Revision

The PsySSA African LGBTI+ Human Rights Project, spearheaded by the Sexuality and Gender Division (SGD) are updating "PsySSA's Practice Guidelines for Working with Sexually and Gender Diverse People" and want to hear from YOU! Help us make the revised guidelines as comprehensive and impactful as possible. Just a few minutes of your time can contribute to a more inclusive and informed practice.

PsySSA SGD hosts meeting of African mental health professionals

On April 20-21, 2023, the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) Sexuality and Gender Division (SGD), in collaboration with Outright International, convened an initial meeting in Johannesburg to discuss advocacy efforts against conversion practices. This event was entitled, "Meeting of minds: The role of mental health practitioners and Associations in eradicating conversion practices in Africa".

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