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Centering Transgender and Gender Expansive People in Social Work and Social Work Education

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“One thing we haven’t even talked about is how we’re preparing all students to go out there and work and practice. All of our students, regardless of where they work or whether they ever know it or not, will work with trans people, right? And so, what we’re doing in the classroom or modeling is how to do that.” – Meg Paceley

M. Candace Christensen, PhD & Meg Paceley, PhD

Legislative attacks continue to target transgender and gender expansive people — and often, the response from our own profession has not been sufficient. Despite our stated values, both social work education and the profession itself have not been on the forefront of social justice efforts and support for trans communities, students and faculty.

For our latest podcast, we focus on this community’s needs and challenges. We welcome Dr. Candace Christensen and Dr. Meg Paceley, social work scholars who can address these issues, speak truth to power and offer us a way forward. Our guests recently co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare focusing on issues related to trans folks in social work education and practice.

Today, these scholars will define what it means to be transgender, discuss the policy and political challenges they face, and ask some hard questions about the response — or lack thereof — to their needs within social work. In short, this is a “call-in” to action for listeners to support the needs of trans people in social work education and in our communities.

M. Candace Christensen, PhD, MSW

M. Candace Christensen, PhD, MSW, (they/them) conducts research that consists of a critical feminist approach to community-engaged, qualitative and arts-based research methodologies that prevent and respond to gendered, racial and anti-LGBTQ+ violence. Their recent work focuses on queer and trans (QT) youth development, specifically how organizations can foster joy, a sense of belonging and mutual empowerment for youth. Christensen also has experience using theater of the oppressed to construct sexual violence prevention interventions.

Meg Paceley, PhD, MSW

Meg Paceley, PhD, MSW, (they/them) is a social worker and scholar who studies how factors in the social environment and broader systems can affect QT youth’s mental and physical health. They aim to identify and evaluate macro strategies to confront stigma, discrimination and victimization that contribute to health disparities among QT youth. Paceley’s scholarship is rooted in significant practice experience developing, leading and evaluating a QT community-based organization; engaging in community organizing and advocacy to promote QT equity; and working directly with QT youth. Their work also focuses on trans-inclusion in social work education and broader themes of racial and social justice and trauma-informed pedagogies.

Show Notes

Cite this podcast – Sobota, P. (Host). (2023, Dec 19). Centering Transgender and Gender Expansive People in Social Work and Social Work Education (No. 323)[Audio podcast episode]. In inSocialWork. University at Buffalo School of Social Work.

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