Austen Crowder

Open Forum: These are our social workers?

Filed By Austen Crowder | July 29, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living

My roommate is presently getting his MSW at an Indianapolis school. In one of the classes he takes, student groups present topics within the world of social work. One class presenter, given the topic of discrimination, focused entirely on race and gender. My friend asked about LGBT issues. He was immediately dismissed by the student presenter as "not the same as race, and not really a big deal." Furthermore, some of the class members - developing social workers, no less - thought it appropriate to chuckle at the very mention of LGBT discrimination. (After all, LGBT issues are hilarious.)

These chuckles come from social workers that will eventually respond to calls from Child Protective Services, social workers that may find themselves interfacing and solving the problems of young gay/lesbian/bisexual folk, same-sex couples, or - heaven forbid! - dealing with a family's reaction to one's decision to transition.

My roommate tried to sort things out. He mentioned my situation to the class, hoping to show exactly what it is we deal with: employers scrambling to create accommodations that are often unnecessary, bathroom laws that could label trans folk as sex offenders, disapproval of friends and family, the whole like. Again, he was dismissed. The point driven home by other students: LGBT discrimination isn't discrimination in their mind.

Despite the laughter they may have had, it's not a laughing matter. Let me reiterate that many of these people will be entering Indianapolis's CPS system, where they will have to interact with parents, children, and extended family embroiled in domestic issues. When they find out the parents of a child are two women, or that the disturbance was caused by a child's request to transition, will they think it appropriate to chuckle in their face as well?

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Recent Entries Filed under Living:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

"Let me reiterate that many of these people will be entering Indianapolis's CPS system"

Really? I don't think CPS workers have to have a BS or BA degree, much less a MSW. That's part of the problem that agency has. Correct me if I am wrong.

A. J. Lopp | July 30, 2009 1:52 PM

This is particularly disappointing considering that this is a course in a graduate-level program.

Was there a professor in on this presentation? If so, was he or she totally silent? I would think that the minimum that a professor has the responsibility to do in this situation is to point out to the amused students that they will encounter GLBT issues in their professional work, and that they will be expected to react professionally regardless of their personal views.

Finally, does this school have a non-discrimination statement that includes sexual orientation and, hopefully, gender identity? If so, the school administration is living somewhere in the late 20th Century, at least, and an effort a consciousness-raising among the MSW faculty might be reasonably well received. If this school doesn't have such a policy, then that fact is telling in itself --- and maybe your roommate should re-consider his choice of schools.