Many social workers may choose to specifically support issues within the LGBTQIA+ community. Consider these five career paths that focus on LGBTQ advocacy.
The practice of social work has many ties to the LGBTQIA+ community––with multiple jobs focused specifically on supporting queer-centered issues and populations. From counselors to event planners, multiple jobs offer the chance to support LGBTQ causes.
If you are looking to make LGBTQ advocacy the cornerstone of your social work, consider these positions.
Youth Advocate or Counselor
There are multiple career paths and job opportunities within the sphere of LGBTQIA+ nonprofits. Often these organizations come in the form of youth centers, which work to combat injustice and provide opportunities and resources for local LGBTQ youth.
It goes without saying, members of the LGBTQ community, especially youth, have a hard time coming out and being accepted by themselves, classmates, or family members. As a counselor or advocate at one of these centers, you can work to provide mental health services and informational resources to those struggling with navigating their identities.
Overall, these centers are impactful in and of themselves simply by creating an open and safe environment for those with marginalized identities. By being a part of these community-based efforts, you will be able to build personal connections and make tangible change at a personal and local level.
People identifying under the LGBTQIA+ spectrum are shown to experience higher rates of mental health issues than non-identifying individuals. The practice of affirmative therapy works specifically in response to common struggles LGBTQ patients face, such as issues in identity, coming out, and acceptance.
In affirmative therapy practices, identities that can otherwise be shamed or rejected are instead celebrated and taken into account when offering treatment on a range of issues. By earning an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy with an LGBTQIA+ Studies Specialization, you will be uniquely positioned to provide comprehensive mental health services at any mental health agency.
People in the LGBTQIA+ community deserve trained therapists capable of providing comprehensive treatment under an inclusive, informed lens. As an affirmative therapist, you have the opportunity to work with and support both individual patients and families through their journey to mental wellness and acceptance.
While it’s not the most traditional position in the world of advocacy, event planning is a crucial aspect of LGBTQ history and present-day activism.
Most notably, Pride is a global event aimed to commemorate the Stonewall riots and celebrate the members and impact of the LGTBQIA+ community. Each year, pride parades and other events act as an important touchstone for the LGBTQ populations and a learning opportunity for those outside of the community.
On a smaller level, individual celebrations like queer weddings or LGBTQ-centered community events require adept, knowledgeable planners. Many events work to create communities and safe spaces for their LGBTQ citizens as well as raise awareness and break down biases within the local area.
Still today, members of the LGBTQ community are working to fight for basic civil rights in marriage, adoption, and the workplace.
As a civil rights-focused lawyer, you could make widespread change, working to directly support the equity and freedom of LGBTQ individuals. You could even work as an attorney for an LGBTQ-centered public interest law firm, such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Many gay couples looking to start a family will choose to adopt. Unfortunately, in some cases, this process can be very taxing for couples who face discriminatory agencies.
Adopting already requires you to jump through a lot of hoops––but as an LGBTQ-identifying couple, the process may seem even more impossible. As an adoption caseworker centered around minority clients, you’ll help in making the process easier.
LGBTQ support and your education
By pursuing these career paths, you are making a direct impact in the lives of those within the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond. The first step for many of these career paths is to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s in Social Work. From there, you could move on to specialize in LGBTQIA+ issues.
Marriage and family therapy programs at Pacific Oaks College
All our MFT programs prepare you to sit for the LMFT exams—and they help you establish a strong foundation for a fulfilling and successful Marriage and Family Therapy career.