For many employees, societal and cultural norms at work could pressure queer individuals to stay closeted for most of their colleagues. Discrimination based on people’s gender identity while working is shared across all sectors, including social work. However, many scholars develop queer theories that are practical in the erosion of heteronormativity in general practice. Therefore, the following paper will discuss how heteronormativity affects social work practice and strategies for battling it.
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Social Work is a sensitive field where heteronormativity is still prevalent. Many employees may even agitate and isolate LGBTQ coworkers to the point where they feel uncomfortable coming out (LeFrançois, 2013). Heteronormativuty in the workplace, where a person spends most of their day, may significantly influence mental health. Such institutional heterosexism excludes LGBTQ individuals, becoming a control system with heterosexual dominance (McGeorge & Stone Carlson, 2011). My current work is prevalently heterosexual; thus, the prevalent attitude to the LGBTQ community is mostly assertive and referred to as a fluid notion of sexuality and tolerant attitude to these minorities.
Social work is initially tied to communicating with individuals; therefore, we significantly impact people’s perceptions and set of mind. Conventionally constructed beliefs concerning queer community shape our understanding of family, gender identity, and subsequent stereotypes (Mullaly & West, 2018). Therefore, social workers must be advocating for the person’s dignity and worth, recognizing the diversity of human relationships among the patients and primarily inside the workplace.
Heterosexism is widely represented in social work in many forms. Most of the assessment tools provided to our clients are outdated and fail to recognize the importance of the LGBTQ community, despite their broad representation among the clients. Some ways to confront heteronormativity in the social work field include gender-free language, expansion of the term “family,” to openly advocating for gender-inclusive practices and positions (Watson, 2005). Vital to acknowledge the influence of heteronormativity on the younger generation. Stereotypical norms often mislead them, not conforming to a perfect child’s image, subjecting them to intense control (LeFrançois, 2011). Therefore it is vital to diminish conventions about the queer community in the social work field.
To sum up, social workers have a high responsibility for advocating for a gender-inclusive society and subsequently eroding the heteronormativity in the workplace. Multiple scholars keep developing theories that, as a result, depreciate the conventional stereotypes about LGBTQ+, which employees must adapt to practice. Subsequently, collective forces may bring fundamental changes to the area of social work.
LeFrançois, B. A. (2011). Queering Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services: The Subversion of Heteronormativity in Practice. Children & Society, 27(1), 1–12. Web.
LeFrançois, B. A. (2013). The psychiatrization of our children, or, an autoethnographic narrative of perpetuating First Nations genocide through ‘benevolent’ institutions. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, Vol. 2(No. 1), 108–123.
McGeorge, C., & Stone Carlson, T. (2011). Deconstructing Heterosexism: Becoming an LGB Affirmative Heterosexual Couple and Family Therapist. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 37(1), 14–26. Web.
Mullaly, B., & West, J. (2018). Challenging oppression and confronting privilege : a critical approach to anti-oppressive and anti-privilege theory and practice. (3rd edition). Oxford University Press.
Watson, K. (2005). Queer Theory. Group Analysis, 38(1), 67–81. Web.