Working with LGBT Individuals as a Social Worker

Individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) can sometimes face a unique set of problems that students who are earning a master’s in social work, or MSW degree, should be aware of. Unfortunately, members of the LGBT community may feel like they are being singled out or discriminated against by their family, friends or society as a whole. Social workers can assist these individuals in a variety of ways, from providing one-on-one counseling sessions to fighting for equal laws for members of the LGBT community.

The resources provided below can help current and future social workers understand the issues facing the LGBT community as well as how they can ameliorate this situation.

Issues Faced By The LGBT Community

Issues faced by the LGBT communityIndividuals who describe themselves as LGBT often face a unique set of problems. Unfortunately, they can be subjected to various types of discrimination and hate crimes. Social workers who are interested in assisting the LGBT community should browse these resources to gain a better idea of the many issues these individuals are subject to face.
LGBT discrimination in healthcare: Various studies have shown that LGBT individuals face various types of discrimination when it comes to receiving proper healthcare. As social workers help ensure the well-being of people, it is part of their job to make sure LGBT individuals receive equal care to their peers.

Discrimination in home sales and rentals: Many professionals believe LGBT individuals are discriminated against when it comes to housing. In order to see whether or not this is true, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced that it will conduct a national study on the subject.

LGBT individuals in the workplace: Many people in the LGBT community find it hard to be themselves in the workplace. Whether they feel they are being discriminated against due to their sexual orientation or they are simply afraid their co-workers will find out they are LGBT, these individuals often face a unique set of challenges. This website by Human Rights Campaign gives tips for LGBT individuals who are struggling in their current jobs.

Hate crimes: Unfortunately, a large percentage of hate crimes are committed based on the victim’s sexual orientation. As hate crimes can sometimes lead to devastating results, social work degree seekers should be aware of what exactly a hate crime is and how they can be prevented.

The right to marry: One of the hottest topics in LGBT rights is marriage. While some states have made gay marriage legal, others are still hesitant to do so. Individuals who hold MSW degrees may want to consider advocating for similar issues.

How social workers can help

How Social Workers Can Help

Social work degree seekers who opt to specialize in LGBT studies will find that there are many things they can do to help and support these individuals. Whether they advocate for legislation that provides LGBT people with equal rights or offer counseling services, social workers can play a large role in ensuring the well-being of the LGBT community.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual issues: One of the ways social workers can help LGBT individuals is by working to launch laws that give them equal rights in everything from parental custody to the right to marry. This website by National Association of Social Workers outlines what stance the group thinks social workers should take on this subject.

Helping LGBT youths: This article in Social Work Today outlines what social workers can do to ensure the well-being of youths who identify themselves as LGBT. Individuals who are pursuing a social work degree may benefit in reading this text, as LGBT youths often need a different type of support than adults.

Supporting gay and lesbian elders: Using this document from the Gerontological Society of America, current and future social workers can learn about the special assistance gay and lesbian elders and their families need.

School social workers and LGBT students: This resource by Help Starts Here explains how school social workers can assist LGBT youths. The tasks these individuals may be required to complete include ensuring students have access to counseling services and a safe home life.

Adoptive services and LGBT parents: Social workers who specialize in adoptive services may be faced with the decision of whether or not to place a child with LGBT parents. This website, provided by the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, discusses various factors social workers should consider if they find they need to make this choice.

Helping families support their LGBT children: Sometimes, families have a difficult time understanding and coming to terms with the fact that their children are LGBT. Social workers can provide support in this situation and make sure the youths are living in loving and safe environments.

Are you interested in helping individuals of the LGBT community? Earn the degree you need to help them by applying to UNE’s Master’s in Social Work Online program.

Learn more about our program with a free brochure!