Walden University Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Gender Expression Response

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Respond by Day 5 to a colleague’s post by offering additional insight about how social workers can work toward assuring the best outcomes for adolescents questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. Please use the Learning Resources to support your answer.

Colleague: Annette

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression

As an adolescent, you are going through many transitions to include puberty and developing your own identity. During this time, adolescents have mixed emotions about their friends, family, what they want to be, where they want to go, and the list goes on. Adolescents may also go through a period called gender intensification, which is when they feel increasing pressure from their peers or family members to conform to the stereotype painted by our society (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2019). There are several potential reactions to an adolescent questioning his or her sexual identity. These reactions can be harmful and or positive. These reactions may come from their peers, their parents, their siblings, and other relatives, their teachers, and other services providers. How these individuals react to the adolescent possible questioning of their identity could affect them in so many ways.

If a male or female adolescent questions his or her identity and discloses it to a friend who is not open to the perspective of the LBGT community, he/she could lose a friend. Also, the alleged friend could begin rumors or even ostracize the adolescent. Adolescents who question their identity are more prone to scrutiny and bullying among their peers. If an adolescent, who is questioning their identity, parents are strictly religious, and he/she discloses their likes for the same-sex, it could cause a strain on the parent-child relationship. Which could also cause a strain on other familial relationships. These adverse reactions could negatively impact the adolescent’s self-esteem and self-worth. I believe our society is more open to the differences of others; however, because of gender-based stereotypes it does “limit people’s alternatives” (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2019).

As social workers, I believe we must continue to educate our communities. Besides, we must provide individualized counseling for our youth, also providing education for them as well. Showing them empathy, warmth, understanding, and being genuine will help rebuild any loss of self-esteem, self-worth, etc. which could also prevent any self-harming behaviors from occurring due to the pressures to conform from others. Our first goals should be to assess the adolescent and the environments that are affecting them and build a plan from their continuing to assess for any other concerns. We should make sure we build a strong, trusting rapport with the adolescent because that will be crucial to the success of treatment.


Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2019). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.


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