Published on : March 4, 2022
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) welcomed comments from President Joe Biden in the State of the Union Address and condemns Republican efforts to pass state laws that attack transgender and LGBTQ+ children and families.
CSWE condemns the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, as it has been referred to by critics, and urges Gov. Ron DeSantis to not sign this bill into law. This bill would prohibit discussions on sexual orientation or gender identity in primary schools throughout Florida. It is not hard to see how this law would create unhealthy learning environments for our children at a time when they need care, support, and acceptance. School personnel, including some social workers and social work students, would have no choice but to prevent any conversations or allow any questions from children who may want to talk about their own thoughts and concerns, as well as about their same-sex parents or loved ones while allowing those discussions about heterosexual parents.
CSWE also condemns the executive order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that orders social workers and state child welfare officials to treat gender-affirming care as child abuse. Gender-affirming care, according to Houston-based nonprofit Doctors for Change, includes everything from prescription medication and surgery to allowing children to wear clothes that best match their identity.
Fifty-two percent of young people who identified as transgender and nonbinary seriously considered suicide in 2020, according to The Trevor Project. This order from Gov. Abbott not only further endangers these children but poses conflicts for social work students placed in internships at Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services who are learning how to employ their classroom lessons in the real world through valuable hands-on experiences.
Social work curriculum, and social work itself, emphasizes the need to care for a person in their environment. These Republican efforts create toxic environments and additional challenges for children who identify as transgender in Texas and children who have LQBTQ+ parents or family members in Florida.
Laws like these can prevent social work education programs from properly preparing the next generation of social work practitioners to pursue equity and social justice in their practice.