Trent Psychology professor, and director of the Social Relations, Attitudes and Diversity Lab, Dr. Karen Blair is the recipient of the Canadian Psychological Association’s (CPA) 2022 John C. Service Member of the Year Award in recognition of her leadership of the organization’s Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Issues (SOGII) Section and contributions to developing the CPA’s policy statement about conversion and reparative therapy for sexual orientation.
“Receiving this award is truly quite an honour,” said Professor Blair. “The CPA has over 7,000 members, many of whom are doing incredibly important work supporting the mental health of Canadians. To be singled out as Member of the Year, based on my service to the CPA and in particular the SOGII Section, is very humbling and validating for the section itself.”
“This award is so well-deserved,” commented Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker, CPA deputy chief executive officer and science director. “Prof. Blair’s commitment to ensuring that LGBTQ+ issues have a recognized voice in psychological practice, science and education, coupled with her commitment and service to the CPA as a member, makes her a very worthy recipient of this award.”
Prof. Blair is known for her impactful research on LGBTQ2S+ psychology and health and has been a CPA member since the early 2000s. In 2014, she became the chair of the SOGII Section, which focuses on LGBTQ+ psychology, and is responsible for conference programming, developing CPA policy positions on issues related to LGBTQ2S+ Canadians, and communicating with the media about those issues.
“The CPA is the only national psychological scholarly organization in Canada and hosts an excellent conference every year that brings both researchers and clinicians together to share current research and provide updated training,” shared Prof. Blair. “It is also an award that I cannot take full credit for. I have been the chair of SOGII for quite some time, but there would be very little that I could do within that position if I did not have the support and contributions of the SOGII membership.”
Contributing to LGBTQ2S+ human rights in Canada
The CPA award also celebrates Prof. Blair’s contributions to its policy statement about conversion and reparative therapy for sexual orientation, which the organization believes was instrumental in the federal government passing legislation to ban conversion therapy in Canada. In addition, as a representative of the CPA, she was instrumental in the debut of the International Psychology Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Issues (IPsyNet) Statement and Commitment on LGBTIQ+ Human Rights.
“It is important to me that CPA is inclusive of LGBTQ2S+ Canadians and research in LGBTQ+ psychology, and it’s particularly touching to have my work in establishing and supporting the field of LGBTQ+ psychology in Canada recognized at such a high level by a national organization,” said Prof. Blair. “It is reassuring and gratifying to know that today, when students come to CPA, there is an entire section devoted to LGBTQ+ research, they can receive an award for conducting LGBTQ-inclusive research, and while it is still a bit challenging to find graduate research supervisors who are specifically focused on LGBTQ+ research, the ranks continue to grow each year.”
Prof. Blair was presented with the award during the CPA’s 2022 Annual National Convention at the Hyatt Regency in Calgary, Alberta, on June 17.
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