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LGBT TIG Week: Robert Hoke on Cultural Competence, LGBT, and Challenges to the Field

I’m Robert Hoke, independent evaluation consultant, and co-chair for the LGBT Issues TIG.  Today, I want to share some reflections from this AEA365 week.

Although it is becoming easier, it remains challenging to be different regarding sexual identity and gender issues.  The “It Gets Better” campaign grew out of the bullying of youth, and primarily the bullying of GLTQ youth who continue to struggle.  Suicide rates remain over 3 times that of heterosexual youth and individuals who come out as gay, lesbian or transgender continue to lose family and friends.

Hot Tips: Our intention was to take LGBT beyond the checkmarks of “what is your sex” and even past “what is your gender” questions.  We hoped to expand the interests of LGBT evaluation beyond those who identify as LGBTQQI and reveal:

  • As Joe Heimlich suggested, the complexity and integrity of the person who identifies as different from the heteronormative gender labels.
  • The wonderful link and information Terry Brown included on straight privilege on how pervasively our society remains heteronormed.
  • Inclusive evaluation around gender begins with incorporating opportunities to feel included in the evaluation, as shared by Kari Greene and Emily Greytak.
  • Efrain Gutierrez’ advice that culturally competent evaluations require understanding how gender identity is woven through all life components of an individual.
  • That true cultural competence means moving beyond one’s comfort zone and challenging the system.  David Fetterman shared just a hint of what he and his students discovered when they asked a different question from the norm.

With the increased acceptance of gays and lesbians, and emergence of a growing transgender awareness movement, the evaluation field is at a decision point—does the field as a whole push society and become truly inclusive in our work, or do we wait for society to change and follow?  I believe the cultural competency statement gives a clear indication that honoring all respondents is part of our profession.

The LGBT TIG issues a challenge for all evaluators this year:  consider how you could increase and apply cultural competence inclusive of LGBTQQI populations.  Please share your story at AEA 2013 by allowing the LGBT TIG to sponsor or co-sponsor your presentation.

Rad Resources:  The LGBT TIG leadership is available as sounding board to help increase the sensitivity of your evaluation tools to LGBT cultures or suggest others who are knowledgeable about how LGBT issues may be different in your topic area.

Check out these AEA resources:

*AEA members-only content

aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. We’re celebrating LGBT Evaluation week with our colleagues in AEA’s LGBT Topical Interest Group. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. 

1 thought on “LGBT TIG Week: Robert Hoke on Cultural Competence, LGBT, and Challenges to the Field”

  1. Thanks to all this week’s posters for expanding the conversation beyond “serving” specific individuals or segments of the population to *thinking differently* about things that apply to all of us (gender and sexual identity, in relation to other dimensions of identity) but that current systems and structures ensure only some of us can take for granted. Perhaps the statement on cultural competence helped open up more space for this conversation? Regardless, I appreciate the week’s grounding in queer theory and hope to see it welcomed in even more evaluation spaces.

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