Session: At Risk, but Not Defined By It: Building Scaffolding to Support Gender and Sexuality Research in Social Work (Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference - Achieving Equal Opportunity, Equity, and Justice)

97 At Risk, but Not Defined By It: Building Scaffolding to Support Gender and Sexuality Research in Social Work

Friday, January 12, 2018: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Independence BR H (ML 4) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Amy Castro Baker, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Amy Hillier, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Marisa Ragonese, MSW, Hunter College, Kimberly McKay, PhD, Temple University and Shanna Kattari, PhD, University of Denver
On the one hand, the past few years have been marked by significant expansion of the legal rights of LGBTQ people in the United States, increased accountability for sexual assault, and a growing acceptance of gender expression and identity beyond the gender binary. On the other, persistent social problems underpinned by assumptions surrounding gender roles and heteronormative bias continue to create problematic tensions for social work policy, practice, and research. What does it mean when the Presidential inauguration is followed by the Women's March which was one of the largest displays of activism in U.S. history? What does it mean when public discourse is focused on protected bathroom access for transgender individuals, while that community continues to experience violence and uneven access to institutions?

In this roundtable a wide-ranging group of social work scholars engage with these tensions by articulating the need for an expansion of research on gender and sexuality that is empirically rigorous and anchored in the social work code of ethics. We build on the positive discourse on sexuality in social work (Bay-Cheng, 2013; Dodd & Tolman, 2017; McCave, Shepard, & Winter, 2014) by discussing specific institutional steps that support this scholarship in practice and community based settings. The roundtable will begin with discussing the place of gender and sexuality within social work research and the potential tensions one may experience when partnering with public and private institutions to conduct research on gender and sexuality. Presenters one and two will discuss how the gender binary is dichotomously written into our research tools creating gaps in knowledge. Another two presenters will discuss how the “silence” around gender in social work education limits research outcomes and opportunities. The final presenter will conclude with a case example of an interdisciplinary research team integrating gender and sexuality research across social work, education, and nursing.

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