Policies Discriminatory of the LGBT Community: Do Social Workers Endorse Respect for the NASW Code of Ethics?


There has been a dramatic increase in anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) state-level legislative initiatives during the past several years. Public policy bullying and discrimination toward LGBT adults and youths by state elected representatives is a concern to all who recognize the damaging effects of such bigotry. This study is a cross-sectional, exploratory descriptive survey designed to measure the degree of acceptance of the LGBT community and the degree to which respondents endorse respect of social work ethical standards in practice with the LGBT community among 235 social workers and future social workers in the state of Tennessee. Findings indicate that respondents have more positive than negative attitudes toward the LGBT population, yet a number still harbor opinions that are harmful to the LGBT community and impede their ability for affirmative, ethical practice at the individual or policy level. To address this need, a cultural competence and social justice approach is elaborated.

Publication Title

Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services