Working With Sexual Minorities


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Very basic primer for professionals not used to working with sexual minorities.

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Working With Sexual Minorities

  1. 1. Sexual Minorities:A Primer<br />By Heidi Anderson<br />
  2. 2. What is a Sexual Minority?<br />A sexual minority is a group whose sexual identity, orientation or practices differ from the majority of the surrounding society.<br />
  3. 3. Sexual Orientation:Who Are They Attracted To?<br />Heterosexuals are attracted to members of the opposite biological sex (straight)<br />Homosexuals are attracted to members of the same biological sex (gay and lesbian)<br />Bisexuals are attracted to members of both biological sexes (Bi)<br />Pansexuals experience attraction to a person, without regard to biological sex, gender identification, or orientation (pan, omnisexual)<br />
  4. 4. Biological Sex and Gender IdentityHow Does the Client Identify<br />Biological sex refers to the biological characteristics of a person at birth, male or female<br />Intersex people are born with aspects of both female and male genitalia, often referred to as “ambiguous biological sex characteristics.”<br />
  5. 5. Biological Sex and Gender IdentityHow Does the Client Identify<br />Gender identity is the sense of one’s self as male or female and does not refer to one’s sexual orientation. <br />Transgender is a general term that is used by individuals that do not conform to the gender expectations of their biological sex.<br />Transsexuals are people with the biological characteristics of one sex who identify themselves as the opposite gender and have had some type of surgical alteration and/or hormone treatments that changes their bodies’ appearance in alignment with their identity.<br />
  6. 6. Biological Sex and Gender IdentityTransgender is Not:<br />Cross dressers or transvestites wear clothes usually worn by people of the opposite biological sex. They do not, however, identify themselves as having a gender identity different from their biological sex or gender role. <br />Drag queens (i.e., gay men who dress in female clothing) and female impersonators (who perform in clubs or cabarets) are not necessarily transgender individuals. <br />The same is true of drag kings (i.e., women who dress in men’s clothing) <br />
  7. 7. Sexual BehaviorsWhat Does Your Client Do<br />Your Client is Not There to Satisfy Your Curiosity<br />Do Not Make Assumptions <br />Put Yourself in Their Shoes – Imagine Trying to Justify What Arouses YOU!<br />While no more common in the LGBT world, BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism, masochism) is another type of non-mainstream behavior between consenting adults. This is NOT THE SAME THING AS ABUSE<br />Some clients may have more than one lover, or even more than one committed partner, also called polyamory<br />
  8. 8. What is Homophobia?<br />Prejudice and discrimination against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) individuals formed, in part, by misinformation such as the following:<br />• All gay men are effeminate, and all lesbians are masculine.<br />• LGBT persons are child molesters.<br />• LGBT individuals are unsuitable for professional responsibilities and positions.<br />• LGBT persons cannot have fulfilling relationships.<br />• LGBT persons are mentally ill.<br />
  9. 9. Examples of Heterosexism<br />• The lack of legal protection for individuals in employment and housing<br />• The continuing ban on lesbian and gay military personnel<br />• The hostility and lack of support for gay committed relationships <br />• The enforcement of outdated sodomy laws that are applied to LGBT individuals but not applied to heterosexual individuals.<br />• Gay-bashing conversations<br />• Cynical remarks and jokes regarding gay sexual behaviors<br />• Jokes about openly LGBT staff members<br />• Lack of openly LGBT personnel<br />• Lack of inclusion of LGBT individuals’ family members or significant others in treatment processes.<br />
  10. 10. That Ain’t Natural!!<br />
  11. 11. Focus on the Person, Not Assumed Sexual Behavior<br />Richard Renaldi, 2005<br />