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Social Work With Disabled Representatives of LGBT Community Essay

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Updated: Feb 15th, 2022

Introduction

LGBT people, like heterosexual people, are diverse within populations. They are people of different ages, religious or political beliefs, they practice various styles of life, have contrasting professional interests, differ not only in social or family status but also in ethnic origin. In other words, heterosexual and homosexual people have no distinctions in socio-demographic aspects. However, a few factors bring these people united as a community. First of all, this category of citizens has shared goals and requirements. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people as a stigmatized group have a common unmet need in the protection of fundamental human rights, recognition of civil rights. In turn, they need to facilitate access to health, legal, and social services. Meanwhile, the most significant factor of unification is the negative attitude of society towards their chosen way of life, executed by hatred and prejudice – homophobia and transphobia. This factor affects all members of the community and penetrates all areas of their lives.

Video Summary

The analyzed video tells the story of Doug Paulie, a gay man who, for health reasons, is forced to live in residential care. He has got some problems with the autonomous nervous system, and because of it, he must rely on the help of other people in his daily life (Social Care Institute for Excellence, 2010). In search of such specialized assistance, the man moved from his native London to Leeds.

In residential care, Doug faced the biased attitude of some staff representatives and guests, which was based on his orientation and created uncomfortable living conditions. Moreover, here Doug is cut off from communication with his community and has little involvement in social life, as he cannot find support among the staff. At the same time, the man pays large amounts of money for accommodation in this residence in Leeds.

Through his story, the video’s main character wants to draw public attention to the problem of harassment of LGBT people with disabilities. The most necessary change, in his opinion, is a cultural shift in attitude to such people. Another critical factor is the improvement of the reputation of the social service officer through the increase in their salary level. Doug also proposes an individualized budget by which a person requiring help can pay directly to the person who will help him. With this measure, people will be able to choose an assistant on their own and make sure that he or she has no biased opinion about personal lifestyle.

The Main Issues Raised in the Video

The video raises several critical social problems that require the attention of society. First, it is homophobia and its impact on helping people with disabilities. Second, the social and legal barriers faced by disabled individuals of the LGBT community. Third, it is possible to highlight the problem of the negative reputation of social workers and at the same time quality of their work. These problems have got a significant impact on the life quality of part of the population and the overall society’s development level.

Homophobia unravels hatred and poses a direct threat to human life regardless of the sexual orientation of the individual. Moreover, it creates social exclusion and marginalization of homosexual people and causes discrimination – a direct violation of human rights by individuals and governmental systems (Walch et al., 2016). The violation of LGBT rights is happen because heterosexual society forms certain norms and rules, in which members of the lesbian-gay community do not fit (Booth, 2017). Deviation from these rules and regulations is seen by society as a manifestation of inadequacy.

Members of the LGBT community with disabilities are one of the most invisible and closed groups, both within the community itself and in society at large. For this reason, they face many barriers in their lives (Toft and Franklin, 2020). Such invisibility is due to double stigma against minorities and disabled people. Within the community of people with disabilities, members of this group may be discriminated against as individuals who identify themselves as LGBT (Conover and Israel, 2019). In the LGBT environment, vice versa, people can face manifestations of ableism (prejudice towards people with disabilities).

Among the many such barriers, a few of the most significant ones can be distinguished. First, disabled people of the LGBT-community face severe discrimination in employment. Many employers believe that such an employee will not be productive and do not want to hire him or her (Dispenza et al., 2018). Secondly, there are problems in obtaining medical services (Dispenza, Harper and Harrigan, 2016). Doug also faced this aspect – homophobia among employees of specialized institutions for people with disabilities becomes a reason to interfere with the privacy of patients living in residential care. Third, people face information limitations – do not know events, LGBT initiatives. At the same time, most of them would like to be involved in the LGBT rights movement and are ready to participate in the promotion of the rights of people with disabilities, but their capacity is not realized.

Social Work Connection

All the problems discussed in the video are intimately interconnected with each other. However, the third issue is related to the sphere of social work more directly. People involved in the social field, such as social workers, volunteers, members of non-profit organizations, face the fact that their activities are considered not prestigious (Vilka and Baha, 2019). Moreover, their jobs are little valued and low paid. This low evaluation of the activity affects the quality and impact of the staff member (Grissom and Mitani, 2016). As a consequence, several problems, like Doug’s one, arise – disabled people cannot find a suitable assistant who will accept their views. Prejudice among social workers is also a severe problem, but it applies to the whole society (Abbruzzese and Simon, 2018). Therefore, serious changes in the overall mentality are needed to solve it.

Conclusion

There is a high level of discrimination in society against an invisible group such as LGBT people with disabilities. Most organizations focused on working with disabled people do not have the necessary competence to work with the LGBT community. They should raise awareness of the diversity specifics of human sexuality and gender identity. These organizations also should form a strategy to work with members of the LGBT community with disabilities.

References

Abbruzzese, L.D. and Simon, P. (2018) ‘Special concerns for the LGBT aging patient: what rehab professionals should know’, Current Geriatrics Reports, 7(1), pp.26-36.

Booth, A. (2017) ‘Same sex attraction in young people: health, happiness and homophobia’, in Murray, M.C., and Reed, C.A. (eds.) Promotion of Mental Health. Routledge, pp. 49-60.

Conover, K. J., and Israel, T. (2019) ‘Microaggressions and social support among sexual minorities with physical disabilities’, Rehabilitation Psychology, 64(2), pp. 167–178.

Dispenza, F., Harper, L. S., and Harrigan, M. A. (2016) ‘Subjective health among LGBT persons living with disabilities: a qualitative content analysis’, Rehabilitation Psychology, 61(3), pp. 251–259.

Dispenza, F., Kumar, A., Standish, J., Norris, S. and Procter, J. (2018) ‘Disability and sexual orientation disclosure on employment interview ratings: an analogue study’, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 61(4), pp.244-255.

Grissom, J.A. and Mitani, H. (2016) ‘Salary, performance, and superintendent turnover’, Educational Administration Quarterly, 52(3), pp.351-391.

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) (2010)Web.

Toft, A. and Franklin, A. (eds.) (2020) Young, Disabled and LGBT+: Voices, Identities and Intersections. Routledge.

Vilka, L. and Baha, I. (2018) ‘Prestige of social work as profession: social worker’s perspective’. 6th international interdisciplinary scientific conference. Society. Health. Welfare (part II), Riga, Latvia. Web.

Walch, S.E., Ngamake, S.T., Bovornusvakool, W. and Walker, S.V. (2016) ‘Discrimination, internalized homophobia, and concealment in sexual minority physical and mental health’, Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 3(1), p.37.

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