The subpopulation I would like to address is the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Although, as americans, we have made great strides, there is still a hole in our workforce equality system that needs to be addressed. As we continue to move forward, state and federal policies are in need of an overhaul. Agencies can play an important role in pushing us forward because of the research and resources they have available. They can advocate for the LGBT population so they are given the same benefits that any other American has. While doing so, support groups can assist individuals as they try to navigate through the journey of being seen as an equal. Pizer, Sears, Mallory, and Hunter (2012) state in the American workforce, more than four percent of individuals identify as a LGBT. This population has experienced a long and extensive history of discrimination as employees. This poor treatment has been acknowledged by our court system. In 1973, Congress passed the first federal bill to preclude discrimation in the work place regardless of their sexual orientation. Since that time, other bills have been passed but recently, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been passed which includes clear-cut protection against gender identity discrimination (Pizer et al., 2012). Another bill that is currently being pushed is to give all employees proper benefits so there is a positive outcome for all parties involved. There are approximately twenty million people who reside in the state of Florida, with almost 700,000 being from the LGBT population (https://www.lgbtmap.org).
Although there has been compelling progress that the community has made, currently there not a statewide law that protects LGBT from discrimination (https://www.eqfl.org). This means that it is legal to fire someone because of their sexual preference. At this time, LGBT are not included in the statewide non-discrimation protections. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA) has not been passed yet, but if passed, it would protect our LGBT population from discrimination. Polls currently show that approximately seventy five percent of Floridians back these laws that will protect this population (https://www.eqfl.org). Equality Florida has passed more local non-discrimination laws versus any other state within the United States. Each of those include sexual orientation and gender identity. Florida is the third largest state with sixty percent protections for gay individuals. With these protections put in place, it has become a standard in cities and counties across the state of florida. LGBT support groups can be essential for a gay individual. Regardless if it is long-term or short-term, group therapy is an adequate form of treatment. Years of research show that group therapy can be just as powerful as therapy as an individual (https://www.healthcareguild.com). However, it can be helpful, but only if the person is comfortable enough to join the group (https://www.healthyplace.com). A gay individual may struggle with opening up to someone who is straight because they fear the person may not understand. The fear is a valid feeling based on how some individuals feel about homosexuals. This is where a support group can be helpful. These groups can assist the person in their desire to come out or possibly their struggle with a relationship with another person who is gay. They can also provide the understanding of one’s self, collaborate with other peers who can relate to the individual with similar problems. These support groups can be run by both a professional or non-professional (https://www.healthyplace.com).
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In addition to support groups, the gay individual may need private therapy. This will allow them to share confidential matters without having others involved. A therapist is trained to handle a more complex case rather than a non-professional who is running a support group. He/she can assist the individual as they move forward in overcoming adversity.
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