Sexual Orientation Essay

1036 words - 5 pages

Issues faced by those struggling with sexual orientation and gender identity have become more public in today's society, thanks partially to changing societal views and an increased level of acceptance of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). However, despite the increase in visibility and acceptance in society, these individuals still experience much negativity, including discrimination, oppression, and violence and victimization because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Adolescence and young adulthood can be a tumultuous time of change and development in the life of a person, as they attempt to discover their own individuality and place ...view middle of the document...

A study conducted by Rosario, Schrimshaw and Hunter, (2011, p, 9) found that the youth that had more family and friend support experienced less depressive symptoms, specifically relating friend support to fewer conduct problems and family support to higher self-esteem.
Individuals who identify as a lesbian, bisexual, gay or transgender continue to experience prejudice, discrimination and marginalization as they progress through adulthood. Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2013, p. 593 notes that LGBT people suffer discrimination and oppression which affect their lives in many ways, including housing, employment, education, medical care and social interactions. They cite an example of that as being discrimination against lesbians and gays, while prohibited in federal government employment, is not illegal at the state and local levels. Openly lesbian and gay individuals have been prohibited from employment within the military, while marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples exist in only a handful of states across the country. This failure to recognize the right of lesbian and gay couples to legally marry also prevents them from enjoying the multitude of benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoy, including Social Security benefits, income and inheritance tax benefits, immigration protection and family medical leave.
An explanation of how you might apply your findings to social work practice
Pleak (2009, p. 283) notes that while “Most clinicians are quite inexperienced working with gender variant adults, adolescents, and prepubertal children”, this is changing as more people are openly expressing their gender identity and sexual orientation, societal acceptance levels increase, and more people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are receiving supportive services, including counseling. Van Den Bergh and Crisp (2004, p. 223) identify characteristics of becoming a culturally competent social worker, including the areas of beliefs and attitudes, knowledge, and skills. They define beliefs and attitudes as self-awareness of one’s own culture and biases, as well as sensitivity to the differences of others. Knowledge is defined as the ability to understand the impact of environmental and societal influences on the client, as well as the ability to obtain knowledge about the clients culture, including beliefs, customs, and values. Skills is defined as the ability to send and receive verbal and non-verbal messages,...

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