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How It All Began
information appeared as an article in the AGLBIC National Newsletter,
written by Frank Hrabe and Glenda Elliott, August 23, 2005.
For at least the last decade, individual members of the Alabama Counseling Association (ALCA) have presented content sessions at the annual fall conference on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) issues. There were also informal networks of members who were sensitive to these issues.
During 2004, under the Presidency of Michael Lebeau, the focus of the Current Issues Committee was gay, lesbian and bisexual concerns. This was part of the 2004 theme of “The Counselor as a Leader: Courage – Compassion – Character.” Dr. Glenda Elliott served as chair of the committee and solicited membership. Over sixty people became regular members of the list serve of the current issues committee. Considerable support for the efforts of the Committee came from members of ALACES and ALMHCA. The committee began work encouraging members to submit program proposals for the fall conference, and was successful with 10 of the 75 content sessions devoted to sexual minority topics.
Articles about the work of the Committee were written by Dr. Elliott and published in all issues of the 2004-05 ALCA newsletter, The Quarterly, along with an article for the winter issue of the ALSCA newsletter. An article was also written by Dr. Elliott on “GLBT Issues in Counselor Education and Supervision” for the winter issue of the ALACES newsletter.
At the 2005 winter meeting of the ALCA executive council, as part of the report of the Committee on Current Issues, a motion was made and passed to establish a Gay, Lesbian Bisexual Issues in Counseling Interest Section. Under the bylaws of the State Association, an Interest Section is the first step toward formal recognition. Interest Sections are formed when at least 50 professional and regular members of ALCA sign a petition seeking recognition. An interest section may conduct business and meet during the fall conference. Also an interest section has non-voting representation on the ALCA Executive Council.
The section began work immediately holding several planning meeting during the spring. A formal governance structure was approved, bylaws written by Frank Hrabe also received approval, and fundraising activities began. Dr. Glenda Elliott and Frank Hrabe were selected co-chairs of the interest section. Also the section decided to seek formal division status during the summer Executive Council meeting of ALCA.
During this period of activity, the GLBIC Interest Section began to gather resources to assist the membership of the Alabama Counseling Association. Lists of publications, website resources, and individuals willing to speak on GLBT related subjects were developed. Almost immediately, requests for speakers and counselors familiar with GLBT issues were received. The interest section was able assist in numerous ways: providing contact information and making referrals for counselors sensitive to the issue in the geographic area; making presentations to professional groups, schools, and university classes; and, in many cases, directing counselors to resource materials. Requests were also received from community agencies, including the Jefferson County Family Court, the Crisis Center, and the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
On July 22, 2005, the Interest Section formally petitioned the Executive Council of the Alabama Counseling Association for recognition as a new division. The council approved the petition without a single negative vote. It should be noted that this was accomplished during the leadership of President Paul Hard who developed the theme of “We are Family: One Vision – Many Voices.”
During this same period, on behalf of the Interest Section, Frank Hrabe petitioned the Association for Gay Lesbian & Bisexual Issues in Counseling (AGLBIC) of the American Counseling Association for official recognition as a division of AGLBIC. This petition will be considered at the fall meeting of the AGLBIC Board of Directors.
A full slate of officers was elected to AGLBICAL, with Donna Melder becoming the first president of the division. The officers not only assumed the position with approval of the division status, but immediately became active taking part in the fall conference program selection process and the awards process for ALCA.
Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama (ALGBTICAL)
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