Social Work for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered Persons of Youth Interview and Research on Lgbtq Social Work

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  • Published : April 30, 2012
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Social work for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered Persons of Youth Interview and Research on LGBTQ Social Work
Alyssa Aguirre
The University of St. Francis

This paper explores social work with the population of people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning community, or LGBT community for short. This paper discusses the population of interests, which includes the history of social work in this field, reasons for serving this population, the role of the social worker, the types of advocacy, and characteristics of agencies that serve this population. Also, an interview done by Lise Schiffer, LCSW is mentioned. She discusses her experience as a social worker and her experience with the LGBT community.


Social work for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered Persons of Youth Population of Interest Section
Imagine feeling helpless, alone, and discriminated against because of your sexual orientation. According to a national survey done in 2009 by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, 61.1% of the LGBTQ youth feel unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation. Social work with the LGBTQ community has been around for many years. Social movements in the United states began around the 1950s and 60s according to Dr. Bonnie J. Morris of the American Psychological Association (2012). The first major movement occurred in 1965, Dr. Frank Kameny, a well known figure in the gay rights movement, held the first public protest by the LGBTQ community in front of the White House. A year later, the first known gay student organization was founded in New York City at Columbia University (TIME 2012).

Issues of risk for the LGBT community can be many things. Most issues that people of the LGBT community face comes from being abused or bullied for their sexual orientation. Many LGBT youth face mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suffer suicidal thoughts. When it comes to the issue of suicide, 36.5% of the LGBTQ youth has attempted suicide and of that, 20.5% of those attempts result in medical care (Berner, Donahue, Hack, Hale, Goodenow, 2002). According to Dr. Harold Koplewicz, child and adolescent psychiatrist, “Gay teens are four times more likely than straight teens to attempt suicide” (2010). An example of a gay teenager committing suicide is Tyler Clementi. Tyler LGBTQ SOCIAL WORK

was a college student at Rutgers University in Washington who committed suicide after learning his roommate used a webcam to record Tyler having relations with another man. The reason for recording the affair was to exploit and intimidate Clementi for being gay.

When discussing issues of the LGBTQ community, abuse is the greatest issue of all. According to the 2009 National survey done by GLSEN, “84.6% of LGBTQ students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.” When coming out to peers or even family about being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, most of the LGBT youth are concerned with how they will react. “50% of gay teens experience a negative reaction from their parents and 26% of LGBT youth who come out to their parents are told to leave home” (Ray 2006).

Another issue of the LGBTQ community is dealing with mental health issues. According to Challenges Faced by Homeless Sexual minorities: Comparison of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Homeless Adolescents With Their Heterosexual Counterparts, LGBT youths reported higher levels of depressive symptoms than did heterosexual youths ( Cauce, Cochran, Ginzler, Stewart, 2002).

There are many reasons as to why social workers serve the LGBT community. Many of them do not have any resources such as a home, or proper health care....
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