March-April 2013: MPIPP Conference Focuses on Social Science to Strengthen Equality Efforts

In this issue:

WAVES OF COURAGE: Social Science Evidence to Strengthen Ally and LGBT Equality Efforts

How do we define courage? Does it feel different to allies and those in the LGBT community? Plan to attend MPIPP’s conference on May 4 from 8:30-4:30 in Ferndale at the Affirmations Community Center to find out!

Using social science research as a basis for this highly interactive conference, our featured speakers, Dr. Glenda Russell and Dr. Clinton Anderson will explain current research on these topics as we explore the topic of courage from different perspectives as well as some practical “how-to” strategies.

Dr. Glenda Russell, a psychologist and university professor from Boulder, Colorado, is a nationally known researcher and speaker. Early in the conference, Glenda will share research that she and others have done on anti-gay politics and its personal impact on LGBT people and their allies.

Later Glenda will also address developing strategies for resilience at the personal and collective level. This will be followed by breakout sessions to generate potential ideas and plans to be shared.

After lunch, Glenda will discuss the latest research on LGBT ally motivation. This research was developed based on in-depth interviews with more than 100 highly visible allies. Glenda and her research team analyzed the experiences described by these allies and found several significant reasons for ally support of LGBT equality.

MPIPP is very pleased to again welcome Dr. Clinton Anderson to our conference. Clinton is the Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns Office of the American Psychological Association. He will be sharing research about how direct and indirect support for equality can ripple from one person to another using the contact hypothesis.

Conference participants will them engage in interactive learning to see this research in action.

MPIPP always acknowledges Dr. Anderson as one of the “godfathers” of the KNOW US PROJECT™ (KUP) and you will understand why at this conference. The contact hypothesis is at the core of the KUP training program.

Dr. Melissa Grey, project coordinator for MPIPP, will report on how our KNOW US PROJECT™ (KUP) training program is going.  If you are a veteran of MPIPP conferences, you will be pleased to see how the program has moved from its foundation in social science research to its practical application of the contact theory. If you are a newcomer to MPIPP conferences, you can learn much more about the KUP training.

But we want to do more than tell you about how the KUP is going. We will also have a panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Judith Kovach, MPIPP’s project director, that includes people who have gone through KUP training and had conversations. They will discuss their experiences and perceptions of their KUP conversations.

The WAVES OF COURAGE conference will be held at the Affirmations Center in Ferndale on May 4 from 8:30-4:30. The half-hour registration starts at 8:30. Affirmations is also using this conference to kick-off their ally campaign for 2013.

For more information about the conference:

To register for the conference, just click here:

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Joshua Lobenthal and Devvie Kovach Memorial Funds at MPAF, the nominal cost for the conference is only $25, including lunch.

Register today! Registrations are limited and at this price we’re sure to fill up quickly. Just click here!


KNOW US PROJECT™ (or KUP) training was held on March 21 at Saginaw Valley State University. About an equal number of allies and members of the LGBT community attended the training. More than 93% of the evaluators said they would recommend the KUP training to a friend.

Our favorite quote from these evaluations: “I would encourage friends to become an ally and hear the stories of others. This has been an enlightening experience that incites activism.”

MPIPP will be doing a follow-up survey in the next month with those who have attended the KUP training in the past year.


March was a busy month for MPIPP. We had a presentation before PRISM, an LGBTA organization at Delta College; offered a presentation at Oakland University’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Conference that addressed what social science is showing us about risk, resiliency, and effective support strategies for LGBT young people; participated in “Clinical Issues and Gender Identity — A training for Therapists” sponsored by Affirmations, and met with many colleagues at the Sexual Minority Youth work group, sponsored by the Michigan Department of Education.


April 17, 6-8 pm “LGBTQ… You might be an ally, too!”
Delta College, Room S105
May 4, 8:30-4:30 Waves of Courage: Social Science Evidence to Strengthen Ally and LGBT Equality Efforts
Affirmations Community Center, Community Room
209 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI 48220
Click here to register



We don’t normally cover LGBT current events in this newsletter since they are covered in the mainstream and LGBT media. However, two issues certainly caught our attention in the past week because of the importance of research on public opinion.

US Supreme Court cases on marriage equality:

If it has been hard to follow the legal arguments surrounding the Prop 8 Case in California, here is a decision-tree diagram (courtesy of APA) that we found helpful:

If you are interested in the amicus briefs filed by the American Psychological Association and other organizations on the US Supreme Court cases, you can find them here:

Republican National Committee member Dave Agema’s Facebook posting:

Also, of interest has been the outrage — expressed by people in both political parties — sparked by former Michigan Representative Agema’s comments on his Facebook page. He posted an article written by another person that was inflammatory and derogatory towards LGBT people. When challenged, he claimed he could “provide reems (sic) of research” prepared an cited by others.

Using “junk” research is not a new tool in helping to shape public opinion. You can rely on our website ( to provide research for use in letters to the editor, op-eds, and to counter claims made by people like Mr. Agema.

In assessing the scientific literature, MPIPP has been guided solely by criteria of scientific validity. We generally use research that has been peer-reviewed in a manner that includes the methodology of the study. This research is also often cited by several mental health professional associations as part of their broader reviews of research and public policy.

We rely on the best empirical research available, focusing on general patterns rather than any single study. Whenever possible, we cite original empirical studies and literature reviews that have been peer-reviewed and published in reputable academic journals. However, not every published paper meets this standard because academic journals differ widely in their publication criteria and the rigor of their peer review.

We may also cite chapters, academic books, and technical reports, which typically are not subject to the same peer-review standards as journal articles, when they report research employing rigorous methods, are authored by well-established researchers, and accurately reflect professional consensus about the current state of knowledge.

We hope to see you at the WAVES OF COURAGE conference!

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of opression and resistance.” — Robert F. Kennedy