Petition to Address Ableist and Sanist Content at the ISSTD Conference and McLean Hospital

Petition to Address Ableist and Sanist Content at the ISSTD Conference and McLean Hospital

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The Plural Association Team started this petition

We, the members of the Plural community and our allies, are writing this petition to express our deep concern and disappointment regarding the recent International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) conference panel and the public video published by McLean Hospital.

Both the panel and the video featured ableist and sanist content that targeted the dissociative identity disorder (DID) and plural communities.

The ISSTD conference panel session, held on October 23, 2022, and the McLean Hospital video, published on March 22, 2023, perpetuated a harmful narrative about self-diagnosed dissociative identity disorder and those within the plural community. The content was not only demeaning, but it also violated the privacy and intellectual property rights of several members of the community.

In the aftermath of the ISSTD conference and the release of the McLean video, the consequences have been felt deeply within the plural community. We asked one such System, Pixie, to share a bit about their personal experience after being targeted by both the ISSTD and McLean: "We’ve been directly harmed and have received a ton of harassment because of it, which is extra dangerous given our very recent online and in-person stalking situation. It’s put us in danger." 

Additionally, numerous clinicians have reported receiving calls from distressed Systems they treat, who, after viewing the McLean video, are now doubting their diagnosis and struggling to cope with the implications. These incidents underline the pervasive impact of the harmful narrative perpetuated by the ISSTD conference and the McLean video on the mental well-being of individuals within the plural community, emphasizing the urgent need for change and accountability.

As an organization that firmly believes in the concept of "nothing about us, without us," we are appalled at the exclusion and mockery of our community members. We demand that the ISSTD and McLean Hospital take full accountability for the harm they have caused.

While the recent removal of the public YouTube video titled "Social Media and the Rise of Self-Diagnosed Dissociative Identity Disorder" by McLean Hospital is a positive first step towards accountability and reparations, we believe that further action is needed to fully address the harm caused to the plural community. Especially as the video is still listed on the McLean website. The panelists' actions during the ISSTD conference and the content of the now-removed public YouTube video have negatively impacted the community and perpetuated ableist and sanist messages.

To ensure a genuine commitment to accountability and reparations, we call on the ISSTD and McLean Hospital to take the following steps:

  1. Ensuring that the video(s) and any related content are no longer available on their website, forums, educational materials, for sale, or through any other distribution channels affiliated with their organization.
  2. Publicly acknowledge the harm caused to the plural community by the ISSTD conference and the McLean Hospital video.
  3. Issue a formal apology to the plural community, especially to those whose content was used without consent, and make a commitment to avoid such harmful actions in the future.
  4. Organize and fund educational workshops or seminars, with input and participation from the plural community, to raise awareness about DID, plurality, and the importance of ethical and inclusive practices in mental health care.
  5. Reevaluate their educational materials, presentations, and workshops to ensure they promote accurate, respectful, and empathetic understanding of DID and plurality, and remove any content that perpetuates stigma, misinformation, and discrimination.
  6. Encourage collaboration with and active involvement of the plural community in the development of future educational materials, research, and presentations, adhering to the principle of "nothing about us, without us."
  7. Establish and enforce clear guidelines for obtaining consent and protecting the rights of content creators when using their materials in presentations or other educational settings.


image for this petition, showing the presenters at the ISSTD panel: Michael Saler, Bethany brand, Marilyn Korzekwa, Richard J. Loewenstein, Joyanna L. Silberg and Matthew A. Robinson, who also presented the session at McLean



The removal of the video from McLean Hospital's public platform marks a step in the right direction, but it is not enough. It is crucial that the ISSTD and McLean Hospital take comprehensive action to ensure that the harm caused is properly addressed and that future actions promote respect, understanding, and support for the plural community.

Please sign our petition! We call on our allies, mental health professionals, and the public to join us in holding the ISSTD and McLean Hospital accountable and advocating for a mental health landscape that is inclusive and empathetic to all individuals, regardless of their diagnoses or experiences.


Following the ISSTD conference and the release of the McLean Hospital video, numerous affected systems reached out to The Plural Association (TPA) for support, expressing their distress and frustration over the harmful content presented. These personal accounts provide a clear indication of the emotional toll taken on members of the plural community.

Furthermore, the public response to the McLean Hospital video has been substantial, with many in the community voicing their disapproval and concern over the perpetuation of ableist and sanist messages. The outcry demonstrates the collective impact of these actions on the mental well-being of individuals with DID and those in the plural community, underlining the urgent need for change and accountability from the ISSTD and McLean Hospital.


The actions of the ISSTD and McLean Hospital have far-reaching consequences on the mental health landscape, extending beyond the immediate harm caused to individuals with DID and those in the plural community. By perpetuating stigma, misinformation, and discrimination against these individuals, they contribute to a broader culture of misunderstanding and mistrust surrounding mental health issues. 

This not only creates barriers to accessing appropriate care and support but also disproportionately affects those from marginalized communities, including Black people and people of color, who often face additional challenges in receiving accurate diagnoses and treatment due to systemic racism and bias. These compounding factors exacerbate isolation and marginalization, creating a negative feedback loop for those affected. 

It is crucial that mental health professionals and organizations actively work to dismantle these barriers, address racial disparities, promote accurate information, and foster an inclusive, empathetic environment for all individuals, regardless of their diagnoses, experiences, or background.


Furthermore, as a community, we must establish our boundaries and make it clear that actions that harm or disrespect our members will not be tolerated. If the ISSTD and McLean Hospital fail to address our concerns and continue to engage in harmful practices, we will be compelled to take the following actions:

  1. The plural community will cease recommending McLean Hospital as a suitable institution for DID therapy.
  2. We will encourage our therapists to cancel their ISSTD memberships to protest the perpetuation of harmful narratives and practices.
  3. Our community will launch a widespread information campaign on social media platforms, alerting plurals and their allies of the dangerous practices promoted by the ISSTD and McLean Hospital.
  4. We will no longer attend conferences and events organized by or accepting sponsorship from the ISSTD or McLean Hospital, to further emphasize our commitment to holding these organizations accountable.

We believe that taking these actions will send a strong message to the ISSTD, McLean Hospital, and other organizations that the well-being, dignity, and rights of our community members must be respected. It is our hope that these institutions will take our concerns seriously and work together with us to create a safer, more inclusive environment for everyone.


We recognize that the fight for respect, understanding, and inclusivity is not limited to those within the plural community; it is a shared responsibility that benefits everyone. We call upon singlets and other individuals outside the plural community to join us in our efforts to challenge the harmful narratives and actions perpetuated by the ISSTD and McLean Hospital. Please sign the petition!

By signing this petition and standing together in solidarity, we can create a more compassionate and informed society that recognizes the diverse experiences of those living with DID and other forms of plurality. We invite our allies to sign this petition, share it within their networks, and actively participate in conversations that promote empathy, understanding, and support for all individuals affected by these issues.


We urge the ISSTD and McLean Hospital to take these demands seriously and to act promptly to repair the harm done to our community. By doing so, you will demonstrate your commitment to fostering a more inclusive and respectful environment for all.

What you can do:

  1. Sign this petition.
  2. Share the petition far and wide.
  3. Tell your therapist about this petition and the clinician’s open letter in support of the Plural community, and ask them to sign both.
  4. Reserve a (free) ticket for PPWC 2023 and support the panel session by self diagnosed Systems in response to all of this.
  5. Consider making a donation to The Plural Association if you have the financial means. As a grassroots, peer and volunteer-led nonprofit organization, The Plural Association relies on community funding to fulfill its mission of empowering plurals.

The Plural community and The Plural Association Nonprofit


The Plural Association (TPA) is a pioneering nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering, supporting, and advocating for the plural community. Established by plurals for plurals, TPA's mission is to create a safe and inclusive space where individuals with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and other forms of plurality can access resources, connect with peers, and foster understanding and acceptance.

Through a wide range of initiatives, including educational programs, support groups, and advocacy campaigns, TPA endeavors to challenge stigma, dispel misconceptions, and promote a more accurate and empathetic understanding of plurality. The organization is driven by a passionate team of volunteers, all of whom are committed to upholding the principle of "nothing about us, without us."

By engaging with mental health professionals, policymakers, and the broader public, TPA strives to enact meaningful change in the way plurality is understood and treated, while empowering individuals within the plural community to embrace their unique identities and experiences. With a strong emphasis on peer support, community-building, and collaborative decision-making, The Plural Association stands as a beacon of hope, guidance, and solidarity for plurals worldwide.

2,156 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!