Pride Month

Pride in a Time of Riots and Plague

It has been 51 years since gay and lesbian folks pushed back against yet another police raid on people minding their own business, hanging out with their friends, and most worrisome of all, threatening to dance! The crowd grew in numbers and rage, and the police were forced to take cover in the Stonewall Inn, the very bar they intended to raid. Demonstrations and unrest continued for several days. Gay and Lesbian folks were saying, “No more injustice.” Over many years, this riot, this act of “NO,” became Pride Day, Pride Week, and now Pride Month. It is now celebrated around the world (government conditions permitting).

Riots have taken over our large cities. Once again, a black man died needlessly at the hands of a white man in uniform. Pride began as a riot and ended up being a month of celebrations. The rainbow flag, now ubiquitous, came along in 1978. It also can be found around the world (conditions permitting). We can only hope the outcome of these riots will be a greater sense of freedom and justice for African American citizens.

We now are amid another plague: Covid-19. For some of my patients, Covid has ushered in long forgotten memories of the AIDS crisis: terror of infection, illness and death, loss of loved ones, and facing a very uncertain future. Large Pride celebrations have been canceled. Creative efforts at “Virtual Pride” celebrations are emerging. Not even in the darkest days of the AIDS crisis was Pride canceled.

I write this letter as a Gay man, a Training and Supervising Analyst, and President of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society. Not too long ago, this professional status would have been unthinkable. As I grew up in psychoanalysis, I watched the once small group of candidates who met at the meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association publish important works from OUR perspective. They became Training Analysts and took up leadership positions at their Institutes. The Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute has growing numbers of LGBTQ faculty and candidates. Our educational community is being enriched, not diminished.

Letters of this sort are supposed to be joyful and full of “Happy Pride!” The events of this year call for a more ponderous note. But Pride month it is, and I ask our membership to celebrate the contributions of Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender analysts to the ever-evolving theories of psychoanalysis.

R. Dennis Shelby, PhD
President of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society


Upcoming Program

Celebrating not Pathologizing Sexuality: An Exploration of Marian Tolpin’s View and Beyond 


Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: Robert Morris University, 401 St. State, Room 803 (take the elevator to the 8th floor)
Presented in Collaboration with the Institute for Clinical Social Work


Presenters: R. Dennis Shelby, PhD (moderator), Thetis Cromie, PhD, and David Garfield, M.D.

After the presentation we will have a reception – for socializing, wine, and charcuterie. Join us!

In a brilliant but too-little-known paper, the late Marian Tolpin, one of the Society’s most-revered members, explored sexuality within a self-psychology context.  Addressing the emotional fulfillment of sexuality and considering the self-structure needed to carry out sexual and love relationships, she developed an egalitarian, non-pathological approach, a dramatic step forward from the emphasis on sexual pathology that had dominated psychoanalysis.   A panel of psychoanalysts​ who were influenced by Marian Tolpin look at her view and propose ways of applying it to the world of today and carrying it farther.  Discussion with the audience is welcome.

Anyone who would like a copy of Tolpin’s paper, email and we will send a copy. The paper is: Marian Tolpin, (1997), The Development of Sexuality and the Self, Annual of Psychoanalysis, 25:173-187.

Our panelists are two analysts who supervised with Marian Tolpin during their candidate years. Both have had interesting paths to becoming an analyst.

Thetis R Cromie, PhD, DMn  is a graduate of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute, the Institute for Clinical Social Work, the School of Social Service administration AND the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. She is on the Faculty of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute, Adjunct Faculty at Loyola University School of Social Work and is on the faculty of Si Chuan He Guang Clinical Psychology Institute of Chengdu China. Thetis has published a number of papers on clinical and theological topics with intriguing titles. Highly relevant to tonight is one entitled Supervision with Marian Tolpin: The total transference. I should add that this paper has found its way onto many Self Psychology syllabi.

David Garfield MD is a graduate of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute, University of California Medical School and did his psychiatry residency at Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts Mental Health Center. Prior to embarking on his medical career, David was awarded the Newton prize with highest honors in English Literature from Haverford College.  He is professor emeritus in the department of clinical Sciences, Department of Psychiatry at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science at the Chicago Medical School.  He is on the faculty of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute. He is the author of “Unbearable affect: A guide to the psychotherapy of psychosis,” and with Stienman, “Self Psychology and Psychosis.”

Admission is free. There are no reservations required. Continuing Education Credits are offered exclusively to Society members in all membership categories.