WGS 393 • GAYS/ LESBIANS IN AMER SOCIETY
8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Gays and lesbians constitute an important presence in American society. Yet, the gay and lesbian population is confronted with a system of cumulative inequality, due in part to its small numbers, geographic dispersion, and prejudiced societal attitudes. The result is that gays and lesbians face serious issues related to lack of legal protection, violence, and limited political representation, and are denied full participation and access to resources in a wide range of social institutions, including family life, religion, education, employment, recreation, the military, and many others. Research shows that this social environment places gays and lesbians at increased risk of isolation, poor school performance, mental health problems, and even suicide. The complexity of the problems facing gays and lesbians has important implications for social work practice to develop productive strategies to combat discrimination and oppression, both in terms of policy and direct practice approaches. Given that gays form a cross-section of the population, encompassing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and their families, social workers come in contact with this group in all fields of practice. This course provides a broad interdisciplinary knowledge-base on gay and lesbian issues in social work and integrates content on social policy and identity formation. In addition, the course demonstrates the application of this knowledge to core social work skills in both policy and direct practice interventions with this population.