Advancing Social Work Research with Transgender Clients Through Innovative Collaborations: Engaging Stakeholder Strengths
Saturday, January 19, 2013: 4:30 PM-6:15 PM
Seabreeze 1 and 2 (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Sexual Orientation
Ashley Austin, PhD, Barry University,
Shelley L. Craig, PhD, LCSW, University of Toronto,
Aiden Collazo, MSW, Alliance for GLBTQ Youth and
Carla Silva, MSW, The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth, Inc
Social workers have an ethical responsibility to explore and advocate for transgender and gender-nonconforming communities. Research represents an important avenue for increasing knowledge, awareness and support for the needs of the transgender community, yet social work research focused on transgender issues is sparse at best. The need for increased attention to the needs of this particularly oppressed and vulnerable population is underscored by findings from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (2010). Findings indicate that transgender and gender nonconforming individuals experience discrimination, victimization and harassment across the lifespan as a result of their transgender status and these experiences are linked to myriad risks to health and wellbeing. It is widely recognized that the “T” is often ignored, overlooked, or misrepresented in studies of the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. It is the aim of this roundtable to: (1) advocate for increased research attention to transgender issues within the profession of social work; (2) highlight some of the most pressing social work research and advocacy needs among members of the transgender community; and (3) explore innovative ways to engage transgender communities in research endeavors. Historically, research with transgender individuals has been fraught with multiple barriers including problems engaging and accessing an invisible and vulnerable population, small sample sizes, measurement concerns and a dearth of funding for transgender-specific research. However technological advances, an increased commitment to nationally funded research targeting LGBT-specific issues, and innovative social programs for gender-nonconforming youth and adults in contemporary society pave the way for groundbreaking research partnerships with the transgender community.
This roundtable panel of academic, agency, and transgender community experts will engage attendees in discourse and provide specific examples related to: (1) Bridging the research-practice divide through research partnerships with transgender community members and social service agencies serving transgender clients; (2) Using social media networking sites (e.g., facebook, trans-specific YouTube channels, and twitter) to conduct research with transgender clients; (3) Utilizing existing program and clinical data to develop a practice based research agenda; (4) Seeking federal funding for trans-specific research projects; and (5) Integrating transgender-inclusive terminology in assessments of general population studies of youth and adults in research at local, state and national levels. Because of the social work profession’s commitment to social justice, guiding ethical framework, and clinical responsibility to support gender nonconforming or transgender clients, social workers are uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of research and advocacy efforts aimed at improving the well-being of the transgender community. It is expected that this roundtable discussion will create momentum in that direction, increasing the commitment to advancing social work research with transgender communities and generating specific strategies to facilitate innovative collaborations between researchers and stakeholders.