Respond to a colleague
Respond to a collegue in one or more of the following ways:
Add to your colleague’s explanation of how gender identity affects an individual’s life-span development.
Explain whether you might use your colleague’s strategy for applying the concept of gender identity to social work practice. Provide support for your
An understanding that I gained while reading the resources regarding gender identity is the differences between the acceptance of one’s sexual orientation from a woman
and a man’s perspective. It was interesting to learn that women have been more accepted from family and friends regarding their sexual orientation than men (Brewster &
Moradi 2010). I had never thought that one gender had more acceptance from those close to them and felt that either family, friends or co-workers would be either
accepting or not regardless of the gender of the individual. Men seem to have a harder time finding acceptance from not only family and friends but society as a whole.
It was also interesting to learn that if a woman indicates that she is bi-sexual, it is accepted as well as in some instances, encouraged. However, if a man indicates
that he is not gay, but instead bi-sexual, he is not taken seriously and it is perceived that he is confused about his sexual orientation by gay men. “With regard to
community identity and connection, bisexual men and women may experience strain in finding support within the lesbian and gay community, but for different reasons ” (
Brewster & Moradi 2010)pg. 408. This must be a frustrating situation for those who feel that they should not have to label themselves but when asked and they provide a
response that best suits them, they are criticized by those in the same community. These situations seem more prevalent in middle adulthood.
An explanation of how an individual’s gender identity affects development through young and middle adulthood can be that when you are in the young adulthood stage and
are still exploring your identity, you may not have as many outside stressors convoluting your development whereas in middle adulthood, societal pressures and
judgments may cause anxiety and frustrations. “Indeed, we found that supportive relationships were related to better psychological
adjustment and that negative social relationships were related to poorer adjustment. In addition, supportive and negative social relationships were related to change
in individual-level identity integration. Therefore, it was possible that the association between sexual identity integration and adjustment might be due to social
relationships” (Rosario, Schrimshaw & Hunter 2011) pg. 12. When you are older, you are in a stage in your life where you may be more stable due to life experiences and
are aware of who you are and what you desire. In young adulthood development can be affected by not always feeling comfortable with what your gender identity may be
and this confusion can cause emotional issues. In middle adulthood, a person may be more secure in their gender identity as they have passed the stage of not being
sure how they identify themselves.
A strategy that I may use to apply my understanding of gender identity development to social work practice may be on a micro level, counseling my client on support
systems that are available to them in regards to their specific gender identification such as support group sessions. Unfortunately, there may not be as many resources
available but this is changing as more awareness is being discussed publically regarding this topic. Those who may be struggling with their gender identity or do not
have a positive support system in place in order to not feel isolated, especially if they do not have the supports of family and close friends. On a macro level, I
would advocate for more resources in the community to offer support as they may experience societal issues, not only non-acceptance but issues with obtaining a job
when it has been disclosed that they have changed their gender or possibly being treated unfairly or not having job protection due to their gender identification.
Brewster, M. E., & Moradi, B. (2010). Personal, relational and community aspects of bisexual identity in emerging, early and middle adult cohorts. Journal of
Bisexuality. Pg. 408
Rosario, M., Schrimshaw, E. W., & Hunter, J. (2011). Different patterns of sexual identity development over time: Implications for the psychological adjustment of
lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths. Journal of Sex Research. Pg. 12
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