Social work Professor Nick Mulé provides students and practitioners with concrete ways in which to provide better social services to Canada’s LGBTQ community in his new book, LGBTQ People and Social Work: Intersectional Perspectives.
Mulé co-edited this anthology with fellow LGBTQ scholars and social work Professors Brian O’Neill and Tracy Swan (emerita) from the University of British Columbia and Memorial University, respectively. This original collection of works is authored by a variety of social work professionals from across Canada. It offers timely, relevant and unique content not only for social work students, but also for those studying nursing, gender studies, community medicine and equity studies.
“This anthology is one of the few books of its kind in Canada that deals specifically with LGBTQ populations utilizing a social work lens,” says Mulé. “We consciously had all our contributors approach their work and address the respective issues they undertook via an intersectional perspective that captures numerous social locations such as race, ethnicity, age, ability, gender and relationships in addition to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Also, the authors represent a diversity of people across the field of social work, from academics to students, from administrators to social workers in the field, from those that are LGBTQ-identified to allies.”
Mulé also contributed to this anthology by writing the chapter titled, “The Politicized Queer, the Informed Social Worker: Dis/Re-Ordering the Social Order,” where he critiques the social order of society and its “failure to uphold diversity” and offers an alternative social order unrestricted by the norm.
“I caution social work not to simply ride down the mainstream path that the LGBTQ movement has followed of late, but to also be cognizant of progressive queers and our perspectives and needs that do not necessarily align with the heterosexist and cissexist norms of society in which the mainstream LGBTQ movement is seeking respect and acceptance from,” he says.
In the book’s introduction, Mulé and his co-editors, “discuss the importance of social work recognizing and addressing the issues, needs and concerns of LGBTQ people in sensitive, equitable and effective ways that also respect intersectional differences based on people’s varying social locations,” he adds.
The book is divided into three pain sections. Part I: Critical Reflections and Internal Tensions concentrates on the internal tensions within LGBTQ communities and social work movements. For example, tensions include repression of racialized youth and seniors and repression of bisexuals and Two-Spirit people. Tensions may also be found in the fields of trans healthcare, gay caregiving, child welfare, service in rural communities and settlement services.
“Although social work has made much progress regarding LGBTQ issues over the years, its shadowy past and current need to better understand LGBTQ issues leaves room for more progress, which this book hopes to contribute to,” Mulé says.
Part II: Fields of Service, Practice and Organizational Change focuses on practice issues that arise when social workers attend to LGBTQ people.
“This inevitably leads to the need for organizational change in order to redress that LGBTQ people have a history of and continue to be oppressed in many ways,” he says.
Lastly, Part III: Social Work Education and Pedagogy addresses challenges in the education of social workers, whether working in class or in the field.
Mulé adds that “The authors of these chapters offer much needed guidance to the social work discipline on how best to train and prepare future social workers to provide quality services to LGBTQ people.”
LGBTQ People and Social Work will be launched on Sept. 11 at 519 Church Street, Toronto, in the second floor Grand Ballroom from 7 to 9:30pm.