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?
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