Social work education, LGBTQ+, trans, pedagogy


In this paper, we share two applied case studies social work instructors can use to teach trans-affirming, anti-oppressive practice. These cases span two practice arenas, child welfare and low-barrier shelter services, and are derived from practice in the authors’ personal and professional experiences in the Northeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States. For each case, we describe the accompanying class context, share our pedagogical approach, name the underlying assumptions and structures that facilitate harm, explore relevant practice skills, and identify theoretical, philosophical, and ethical commitments essential for trans-affirming practice. Our approach to social work education on transgender and gender expansice (TGE) issues goes beyond the didactic forms of trans-competency lectures we are all too familiar with, whereby students memorize statistics and terms. Instead, we offer strategies to open up possibilities for transformative and sustainable shifts in thinking about social work practice with TGE communities. In this article, we use “TGE” to refer to transgender and gender expansive individuals and LGBTQ+ to refer to people belonging to gender and sexual minority groups. Any deviations represent language used within specific studies or cases cited.

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