Hi. We’re Robert Hoke and Efrain Gutierrez, co-chairs for the TIG, with John Dawes, one of the program co-chairs, and we’re part of the leadership team for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Issues TIG. Today’s provocative blog was written with the intent to build awareness of LBGT issues in Culturally Sensitive Evaluation. Through this week’s AEA365 Blogs, we’d like to give you some insights into aspects of LGBTs and evaluation we hope will be helpful in improving your work.
Lessons Learned: Here are some realities from lives of some gay men and lesbians, many transgender individuals, and even many queer and questioning individuals in our communities and in our lives. Many must keep a part of their identity hidden for various, legitimate reasons: those who work with children are often under extreme pressure to remain closeted. At work and in the larger community, many LGBT people feel they must muzzle themselves as these LGBTs worry they will be fired if they offend those who seek to deny them their rights. Many LGBTS can legally be denied access to the person they love if that person is in the hospital or has died. Even with a will, they can be denied inheritance. There are members of their own families who “love them” but “hate what they do.”
Conversely, many LGBTs have wonderful lives full of love, friendship and fun. Our day to day lives are no more about sex than the majority of people, but our lives are constantly influenced by our gender identity. Some cultures have historically valued the third sex or the intersex (used differently than when describing hermaphrodites) and honored those individuals for the very stereotypes often criticized in contemporary society.
It is in this context that your evaluation comes into play. When you ask our beliefs, satisfaction, attitudes—all of who we are is included in how each of us answers. But often sexual identity is ignored or at worse assumed to be heterosexual. One of us received a survey from a well-known television rating service which allowed for only one Male and one Female Head of Household. When called to task on how this survey instrument was not applicable to our household, the lack of sensitivity in the company’s response resulted in the survey being trashed. How can an evaluator truly understand an individual’s response if a core element of their identity is denied?
This week, we hope to give you some insights into being more culturally sensitive in your work as it relates to LGBT.
No rad resources today—the real rad resource is your own critical, reflexive practice. And this week, we hope to give you food for fodder.
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. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.