Lessons Learned as a Lesbian Clinical Social Worker: Implications for Social Work Students, Practitioners, and the Profession

  • Emily L. McCave University of Kansas School of Social Welfare


Despite social work's consistent efforts to dismantle unjust systems that oppress individuals, we have not yet been able to eradicate all discriminatory practices within our own social work institutions. In this narrative, the author reflects on practices that present obstacles for those that are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (GLBTQ) as they specifically relate to social work students, practitioners, and clients. Through her own narrative, the author illustrates situations in which she experienced and witnessed overt discrimination of GLBTQ individuals as well as subtle barriers within social work settings. The implications for social work students and practitioners as well as the profession as a whole are discussed, and recommendations for changing these conditions are made. If we are to speak truly for those whose voices are silenced, degraded, or ignored, we must remain open to criticism from within our own profession so that all voices continue to be heard.

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