Two University of Oregon doctoral students dove into issues of transgender identities -- in the workplace and professional counseling -- and surfaced with a call for psychologists and vocational counselors to not only treat but to act as advocates for their clients -- and to help end discrimination in the workplace.
"One of the main points of our paper is that not only do we need to be, as vocational psychologists or career counselors, working with transgender people at an individual level to help them get hired, but we also need to be doing a lot of social advocacy work -- working with employers and workplaces -- improving antidiscrimination policies and doing legal advocacy," said lead author Maya Elin O'Neil.
The study, co-authored by their doctoral adviser Ellen Hawley McWhirter, a professor of counseling psychology, provides transgender-issue terminology related to gender identity, suggestions for addressing problems of both clients and on-the-job difficulties and lists available resources -- filling a void in both the academic literature and support possibilities. The study appeared online in February and in print in the March issue of the Journal of Career Development.
"We've had lots of requests for reprints of the article from people who have heard about it, and they've repeatedly said that there is nothing out there about the workplace angle," O'Neil said. Request for copies have come from psychologists, vocational counselors, university administrators, especially those dealing with diversity issues and planning, and even workforce managers, said co-author Alison Cerezo.
O'Neil and Cerezo both are pursing doctorates in counseling psychology. O'Neil also is a statistician and works as a therapist with at-risk youth. Cerezo also studies issues related to college retention and career self-efficacy among Latino/Latina college students.
Borrowing from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the authors define "t
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University of Oregon