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Working With Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Families in Adoption
Series: Bulletins for Professionals|
Child Welfare Information Gateway |
|Year Published: 2011|
The “T” (Transgender) in LGBT
Social workers who conduct home studies with LGBT individuals and same-sex couples sometimes see through a biased lens without realizing it, applying different standards and requirements than with their heterosexual couples. These biases may be exacerbated when working with individuals who do not conform to a traditional view of gender roles and behavior. Some of the more extreme examples of bias and discrimination are evident when working with clients who identify as transgender, particularly those individuals who have experienced a gender transition. While the transgender community is relatively small and most adoption professionals have not worked with applicants who present or self-identify as transgender, understanding the transgender experience is important in order to avoid bias.9
- Be sure you understand the basic concepts "gender identity," "gender expression," and "transgender."
- Address people by their preferred names and refer to them by their preferred pronouns.
- Understand the specific experiences of individuals who undergo a gender transition with medical/hormonal and/or surgical support. A transgender man ("trans man") is someone who was assigned the female sex at birth and has since transitioned to male; likewise, a "trans woman" is someone who was assigned the male sex at birth and has since transitioned to female.
- Contact your local LGBT Community Center, LGBT Parent Group, or local LGBT organization and request resources related to the transgender community. If possible, request a transgender person as a guest speaker at a professional in-service training.
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