In the past quarter century, a growing awareness of the unique issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals has become essential for practitioners in education and psychological services. This course will provide an introduction to a range of factors that shape LGBT experiences in educational and psychological service settings, and it will offer opportunities to consider and develop strategies for working with and advocating for LGBT constituencies. By analyzing LGBT encounters with the fields of psychology and education, this course recognizes both professions’ historically strained relationships with LGBT populations, while also acknowledging the possibilities for researchers and practitioners in each field to enhance their work through cross-disciplinary reflections on valuable lessons-learned. Although the primary focus is on how psychological and educational professionals can support LGBT individuals, the course may also interest those in related fields who want to gain a deeper understanding of LGBT experiences across social, cultural, institutional, and professional contexts.
This course is divided into three thematic units. In the first unit, a conceptual overview of the otherization of marginalized genders and sexualities is offered as a backdrop for understanding LGBT experiences, and snapshots of LGBT spaces and cultures afford contrasting examples of how LGBT populations have negotiated their marginalized status. In the second unit, the course focuses on psychological perspectives, first by offering theories of LGBT identity development, and then by exploring strategies for supporting LGBT individuals through LGBT-affirmative therapy. In the third and final unit, the experiences of LGBT individuals in a range of educational settings take center stage and provide the backdrop for considerations of anti-homophobic educational practices. Collectively, these three units are designed to provide students with some familiarity with LGBT life experiences, and to encourage students to apply that familiarity to educational and psychological practices.