Perceptions of social workers on their role to advocate for social justice of sexual minorities

Nyembezi, Sinazo (2020-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Despite the fact that South Africa is regarded as progressive in terms of its legislation regarding sexual minorities, these minorities still face serious challenges and injustice on a daily basis. As the principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work, social workers play a crucial role in addressing the challenges faced by sexual minorities, and in advocating for these minorities’ social justice. Yet, little is known about the specific roles that social workers play in advocating for social justice of sexual minorities in practice. Therefore, the study intended to gain an understanding of social workers’ perceptions on their role to advocate for social justice of sexual minorities in the Western Cape. In this study, the term “sexual minority” refers to anyone who is attracted to or sexually active with persons of the same sex; whose gender identity differs in some way from their biological sex; or who otherwise selfidentifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. The study notes that advocacy can be used as a platform for social workers to link their practice with the profession’s aim of achieving social justice. Therefore, advocacy theory was used as a theoretical base for this study. Interviews were used to collect qualitative data from 16 social workers who had provided services to sexual minorities in practice. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. The findings of the empirical investigation show that social workers perceive their role in advocating for social justice of sexual minorities to include being an advocate, an educator and a broker. It is concluded that social workers lack theoretical knowledge of the roles they can play, using advocacy theory, to advocate for the social justice of sexual minorities. Therefore, it is recommended that social work practitioners need to stay up to date about current literature on advocacy.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ten spyte daarvan dat Suid-Afrika as progressief beskou word in terme van sy wetgewing aangaande seksuele minderhede, staar ernstige uitdagings hierdie minderhede steeds daagliks in die gesig. Aangesien die beginsels van menseregte en sosiale geregtigheid fundamenteel is tot maatskaplike werk, speel maatskaplike werkers ‘n kritieke rol daarin om die uitdagings wat seksuele minderhede in die gesig staar, aan te spreek, en om hierdie minderhede se sosiale geregtigheid te bepleit. Nogtans weet ons baie min oor die spesifieke rolle wat maatskaplike werkers, in praktyk, speel in die bepleiting (“advocacy”) van sosiale geregtigheid van seksuele minderhede. Gevolglik het die studie beoog om ondersoek in te stel na maatskaplike werkers se persepsies van hulle rol om sosiale geregtigheid van seksuele minderhede in die Wes-Kaap te bepleit. In hierdie studie verwys die term “seksuele minderheid” na enige iemand wat aangetrokke is tot, of seksueel aktief is met, persone van dieselfde geslag; wie se geslagsidentiteit op ‘n manier verskil van hul biologiese geslag; of wat self-identifiseer as lesbies, gay, biseksueel, kruisgeslagtelik, of queer. Die studie merk op dat bepleiting gebruik kan word as ‘n platform vir maatskaplike werkers om hulle praktyk te koppel aan die professie se doel om sosiale geregtigheid te behaal. Daarom is “advocacy theory” gebruik as teoretiese basis vir die studie. Onderhoude is gebruik om kwalitatiewe data in te samel van 16 maatskaplike werkers wat dienste lewer aan seksuele minderhede in hulle praktyk. Die data is geanaliseer deur middel van tematiese analise. Die bevindinge van die empiriese ondersoek wys dat maatskaplike werkers hulle rol in die bepleiting van sosiale geregtigheid van seksuele minderhede ondervind as iets wat die rolle insluit van ‘n bepleiter, ‘n opvoeder, en ‘n makelaar. Daar word tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat maatskaplike werkers teoretiese kennis kortkom van die rolle wat hulle, met behulp van “advocacy theory”, kan speel om die sosiale geregtigheid van seksuele minderhede te bepleit. Daarom word daar aanbeveel dat maatskaplike werkers hulself op hoogte moet hou van huidige literatuur oor bepleiting.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107925
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