Social Work | Selected Topics in Social Work: Developmental Issues for Transgender People
S300 | 13165 | Capler

Transgender people are an important but often overlooked segment of
American society.  While often “lumped in” with the gay, lesbian, and
bisexual communities—“LGBT”—gender identity is a different aspect of
identity than sexual orientation/identity.  It is also more poorly
understood by the general public than is sexual orientation, and the
transgender community is several years behind the LGB community in its
quest for basic civil rights.    This population faces inequality in
legal protections and prejudicial societal attitudes.  Transgender
people routinely deal with trans-phobia and gender discrimination at
political, legal, and interpersonal levels, as well as being targets
of hate crimes.  Research shows that this problematic and sometimes
hostile social environment results in an increased risk for
transgender people to experience isolation, poor school performance,
higher rates of unemployment, mental health problems, and suicidality.
Therefore, a familiarity with the complex developmental challenges and
issues unique to the transgender population is vitally important for
all individuals across practice settings who want to provide informed,
appropriate, and helpful services to people in need.

This class will explore the developmental issues that impact
transgender people, using a social work person-in-environment
perspective.  It is grounded on a current understanding of theory and
research, and will include topics such as societal assumptions about
gender, transgender identity formation, trans-phobia and gender
oppression, history of the Trans civil rights movement, racial and
cultural diversity within the Trans community, identity diversity and
controversy within the Trans community, and life span issues.  This
course will incorporate current events as they relate to and
illustrate course content.  Class exploration and discussion of issues
will be emphasized.  This class will incorporate a diversity of
readings, guest speakers, and films.