Social Workers Can Help Create Queer-Friendly Nonprofits

Dec 12, 2023

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By Paul R. Pace

“Right now, the LGBTQIA+ community is under attack,” says Seth J. Meyer, PhD, LCSW, assistant professor of nonprofit studies and public administration at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. 

Threats to libraries, education, LGBTQIA+ books, and learning about or discussing queerness is taking place across the U.S. “That hurts queer kids,” Meyer says. “It hurts queer people all around.” 

Proposed legislation attacking drag performers and celebrations of queerness also is harmful because it takes away role models, says Meyer. In addition, states continue to pass laws taking away gender-affirming care. “This is why we really need to be talking about this now more than ever.” 

“I have been doing this work for 25 (plus) years and it almost feels like we are going back in time,” says Meyer, who presented the NASW Specialty Practice Section webinar, “How Social Workers Can Create a Queer Friendly Nonprofit.” 

He noted as of June 1, there were almost 500 anti-LGBTQIA+ laws being proposed across the country, according to the ACLU. Meyer explained that “heteronormativity” is when heterosexuality, or straightness, is held up as the “norm” and anything that does not fit into this category is seen as “other.” 

“Heteronormativity is about power,” Meyer said. “Queer theory is often about questioning who has power and who doesn’t and how we use power to treat otherness.” 

Every individual person is different, Meyer explained. “Some people want heteronormative lives so to speak—and that’s great—but some people don’t. And that is also fine.” 

Read the full story in the NASW Social Work Advocates magazine