The LGBTQ community continues to experience incidences of prejudice and bias. Not only are these prejudices exemplified in interpersonal interactions through slurs and violent acts but also in the policies maintained in social work agencies and institutions. An example of a governmental policy that perpetuated prejudice and myths against gays and lesbians was the ban against this community from openly serving in the military in the United States. This policy was repealed by President Obama in 2011 after the 18-year-old ban that included a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Similar prejudicial institutional policies further negatively impact members of this community. Some of these policies include: 1.Social Security does not pay survivor benefits to the surviving same-sex life partner of someone who dies, 2. Unmarried partners are not eligible for Social Security spousal benefits, and 3. Medicaid does not offer the same asset and home protections to same-sex partners that are provided to married heterosexual couples when the other spouse enters a nursing home or long-term care facility (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2013). Social workers are expected to fight to eliminate these inequalities throughout programs and institutions.
To prepare: Consider the following statement:
NASW encourages the adoption of laws that recognize inheritance, insurance, same-sex marriage, child custody, property, and other rights in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationships. The Association firmly believes that all federal protections and responsibilities available to legally married people in the United States should be available to people who enter same sex unions (including domestic partnerships, civil unions, and same sex marriages).
Submit your reaction to this statement of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
Describe what you think is the role of social workers in equal rights and access to LGBTQ populations.
Assignment 2: Journal Entry: Advocacy, Internationally
Throughout the world, members of the LGBTQ community continue to struggle for their rights. In some countries, they have made some progress. Canada, for instance, legalized same-sex marriage in 2005 (CBC News, 2012). Progress in the U.S. has been a bit slower with only 13 states allowing same-sex unions as late as July 2013 (ProCon.org). However, in other countries, the LGBTQ community faces much greater obstacles, and the consequences of fighting for basic rights are grave. According to a 2011 United Nations report, being gay is a crime punishable by death in five countries and is illegal in a total of 76 countries (United Nations Human Rights Council, 2011). For example, not only is it a crime to be gay in Russia, but it is also a crime if you are found supporting the LGBTQ cause in any way. Officials routinely conduct inspections of non-governmental organizations to ensure they are not distributing pro-gay literature. Individual citizens can be fined for failing to report someone who they believe is gay (Lindsey, 2013).
To prepare: Read the United Nations Address on Global LGBT Rights by Hilary Clinton.
Submit a detailed explanation of your reaction to this essay.
Then, explain why, in the context of practicing social work in North America, it is important for us to acknowledge and address sexual orientation and gender diversity of marginalized populations across the world.
Explain the role of social workers on an international level in relation to the rights of the LGBTQ community.
Identify specific skills and actions you would employ as an advocate.