Fighting For Our Existence
We started our organization during the LGBT Human Rights movements, where we fought for visibility and acceptance from our culture, and our parent organization, ACA.
Fighting For Our Acceptance & Affirmation
As we and the communities we serve continued our fight for acceptance, our organization gained affirmation through ACA and we thrived as a leader in counseling LGBTGEQIAP+ people.
Working Together for Liberation & Celebration
We now move forward seeking to liberate our clients and ourselves from the colonization that has held us back from our true power. We seek to help our clients celebrate their identities as gifts, as we embrace our authentic selves and celebrate the blessings that we are to our families, communities, and worlds.
Fighting for our Existence
SAIGE began in 1975, when Joe Norton called for interested parties at the New York convention to discuss the feasibility of a lesbian and gay organization within the American Personnel and Guidance Association (APGA; ACA's name then). Over 60 people attended and the Caucus of Gay Counselors was born.
Our organization was forged in the furnace of gay activism of the 1970's. The American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association had just removed homosexuality from their list of mental illnesses. The gay and lesbian community was discovering its roots and own identity, both personally and professionally.
The group's name changed several times over the next dozen years to reflect the group's issues. The organization was renamed the National Caucus of Gay and Lesbian Counselors in 1979 (NCGLC) to reflect women within the organization. That same year, the national conference was boycotted in Las Vegas because Nevada reject the Equal Rights Amendment.
Fighting for Acceptance & Affirmation
Enthusiastic support from our parent organization at the time was not to be expected, and for twenty years, we fought for official recognition from ACA, but the group's primary focus was on peer education and increasing the visibility of sexual minority issues in counseling.
Throughout the 1980's, workshops and learning institutes were offered at ACA conventions. In 1984, our organization produced an annotated bibliography for counselors. The first exhibit booth appeared in 1986 in Los Angeles. At that, and future exhibitions, the response from attendees was surprise ("I didn't know you existed!") and support.
The gay community was changing in the mid-eighties, however, because of AIDS. Our newsletter first mentioned AIDS in its October, 1982, issue and by the middle of the decade many AIDS-related programs were presented at ACA.
AGLBIC was very concerned, though, that AIDS not divert the counseling community's focus from other sexual minority issues, and this division in focus led Gutierrez to resign from the Human Rights Committee in protest of ACA's continued equation of gay with AIDS.
In 1986, the organization's name changed to the Association of Gay and Lesbian Issues in Counseling (AGLIC) to broaden the focus to clients, and not just the sexual orientation of the counselor.
In 1988, our name was changed to include bisexual identities and broadened to: Association of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues in Counseling (AGLBIC). This remained the name for almost 20 years.
In 1989, a special issue of the Journal of Counseling and Development focused on sexual minority issues and in 1990 ACA updated and published the earlier AGLBIC annotated bibliography; a major landmark was the publication by ACA of Counseling Gay Men & Lesbians: Journey to the End of the Rainbow, edited by Dworkin and Gutierrez. Big changes, however, were about to overtake ACA.
A disastrous snow storm crippled the 1993 Atlanta convention and precipitated a financial crisis within ACA. Budgets were drastically cute; the GLB committees within ACA were eliminated, and rather than being able to support AGLBIC's work, ACA itself needed help.
Michael Hutchins led AGLBIC into a period of bridge building to ACA; Hutchins was awarded the prestigious Kitty Cole Human Rights Award by ACA in 1994.
In Denver, Robert Barret and Tom Eversole stepped forward demanding to know why AGLBIC was part of ACA but not represented in official bodies and not "at the table." Joined by Colleen Logan, these leaders focused on getting AGLBIC officially recognized.
Thanks to a very supportive ACA President Joyce Breasure and Executive Director Richard Yep, the parent organization enthusiastically fostered AGLBIC's efforts to recruit new members, resulting in "organizational affiliate" status in 1996 and the formation of the AGLBIC division in 1997.
Working Together for Liberation & Celebration
In 2006, we commissioned the Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling.
In 2007, the name was changed to include transgender people, as well as recognize the importance of women. The organization was renamed Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC).
Since then, our organization has continued to promote leadership in strengthening counselors' professional skills relating to affectional and gender orientation.
In 2009, led by Theodore Burnes, the Competencies for Counseling Transgender Clients was released. In 2013, led by Amney Harper, we released our competencies for Counseling LGBTQQIA Individuals. In 2014, we had our inaugural bi-annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana under the leadership of Jane Rheineck; our second annual conference in San Antonio, Texas was led by Tonya Hammer and saw a record number of attendees, graduate students, and new professionals. In 2017, under Kris Goodrich's supervision, we published our Standards of Care for Assessment and Research with LGBTGEQ+ Persons.
We continue to work closely with other organizations, like Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development and Counselors for Social Justice. Being inclusive of queer and trans people of color and thinking intersectionally has become cornerstone in our research and conferences. Our focus on advocacy and social justice has also become imperative in our work; Our third conference in Portland, Oregon, led by Jared Rose, had the theme of Action>Words, focused on social justice.
Inclusion, liberation, and celebration have become themes leading us into 2020. As we, once again, are in a time where our conceptions of gender and affectional orientation are expanding, we have found that LGBT is not an inclusive term for all identities. We are currently in the process of changing our name to be more inclusive of non-binary, gender expansive, and asexual identities.
In April 2020, our name was officially changed to the Society of Sexual, Affectional, Intersex, and Gender Expansive Identities (SAIGE) in order to honor inclusivity of all of numerous identities under our sexual, affectional, intersex, and trans umbrellas.