The purpose of this course is to enhance students' professional competence with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Content explores social work practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels and across social, political, and economic realms. A foundation for the course will be laid by raising students' awareness of personal, interpersonal, and institutional values and beliefs and how biases may manifest as prejudice, discrimination, and oppression. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics will guide discussions around viewing sexual orientation through a professional lens. Students will then be introduced to the history of the LGBT civil rights movement and the underlying theories of sexual orientation and sexual identity development.
Students will be exposed to empirical literature on LGBT issues that will inform their understanding of past, present, and future challenges facing the LGBT community in light of its many complexities. On the micro and mezzo levels, students will learn appropriate assessment and intervention skills for use with LGBT people. Special concerns within the population, such as the coming out process, adolescent suicide, and coping methods, will be considered. To a great extent, sexual orientation in contemporary culture is politically charged and socially regulated. To that end, students will be taught macro-level advocacy skills to fulfill their call as social workers by promoting social justice and equality.