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Cultural Immersion Project: Interview with Lesbian

Interviewee’s Background

The interviewee was a lesbian woman aged 36 working at a clinic as a nurse. She came from a wealthy family with traditional views and values, according to which her parents’ authority was emphasized in all decisions. This fact played the most significant role in her personality formation and interaction with people (see Appendix). Hence, she was continuously bullied not only at school but also at home, and her teenage years happened to be the most unpleasant time in her life. As a result, she managed to develop a strong character to overcome such obstacles.

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The principal challenge of the interviewee’s daily routine is the lack of acceptance by her colleague, which is not directly expressed but still evident. This situation not only negatively affects her progress in the profession but also harms her intention to provide proper assistance for people from her community (“A survey of LGBT Americans,” 2013). What is more important, the attitude that prevents the woman from pursuing her dreams is expressed not only by colleagues but also by some patients who tend to be even more critical. Therefore, the interviewee’s concerns regarding her belonging to the LGBT population group are doubled by its effects on her career.

As can be seen from the interview, the obstacles that she faces are related not only to work but also to the right to be an active participant in one or another religious community. This situation is conditional upon the lack of support from their members and potential conflicts based on this factor. It confirms the outcome of previous studies on the existing barriers to entering various religious groups for LGBT citizens (Woods & Conley, 2014). Thus, the interviewee’s struggles correlate with scholars’ concerns regarding the lifestyle of this group’s representatives and their overall well-being.

Openness in Discussion

The person was partially open in the course of the interview. When answering the questions, she was more willing to discuss her past rather than current situations. As for the present experience, she only mentioned the problems she faced without going into detail. I think such unwillingness was caused by the woman’s ability to process the issues she does not have anymore rather than existing disturbing aspects. Hence, this case indicates that she is likely to develop mental problems over time, and it explains the need to provide assistance for her as well as other members of the LGBT group.

Key Cultural Events

The principal cultural event related to the interviewee’s experience as a member of the LGBT community was the interaction with the majority culture during her school years. She described it as highly traumatizing due to the tendency of other people to ignore her and not invite her to parties. From this fact, it can be concluded that LGBT representatives usually face the neglect of their needs regarding socialization resulting from the unwillingness of others to accept them.

Another experience of the woman connected to discrimination was the lack of understanding and empathy from her colleagues and patients. It continued the series of societal issues she faced in her teenage years and thereby confirmed her opinion on the environment’s hostility. In this way, the interviewee’s history of communication with representatives of other categories of citizens with more traditional views adds to the previously described challenges typical for LGBT adults (Smith & Gray, 2009). From this perspective, there is not enough positivity in the attitude towards these people.

However, despite the apparent harm brought by the specified events, more gruesome consequences of the woman’s failed interactions with others emerged due to her parents’ influence. It allows concluding that the precondition of her awareness of the problems demonstrated in the situation at school and work were first instilled in her family (Katz-Wise, Rosario, & Tsappis, 2016). Hence, the lack of support of relatives for a child belonging to this population group serves as a basis for further complications and negative expectations from society.

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Acculturation Level and Racial/Cultural Identity Development

The acculturation level and cultural identity of the interviewee are characterized by the experience common to all representatives of the LGBT population group. In this case, these parameters of the person seem to be low since she still struggles with daily situations and conflicts arising from her non-traditional views and values. These issues are connected to sexual and gender identity that these people cannot openly express in present-day society. This experience is not unique since even fictional characters are mostly refused their right to be different in their representation (Alejandro, 2020). Therefore, the interviewee’s story reflects the existence of such problems in the world.

The reason why I think that she can be described as a person of low acculturation and possessing issues regarding her cultural identity is the presence of such obstacles to efficient communication. If she only faced difficulties while being a teenager and then learned how to deal with similar situations in adulthood, the case would be different. Nevertheless, her description of everyday struggles stems from childhood and continues to this day. This circumstance allowed me to conclude on the problems of the interviewee related to her cultural identity and, therefore, acculturation as a whole.

Emotional Response and Explanation

My emotional response during the interview was moderate since I could not actually relate to her problems in life. Hence, the situation seemed to be entirely theoretical to me, which implied my inability to express sympathy for the woman. However, it does not mean that my behavior was cold and uninviting. On the contrary, I have done my best to understand the interviewee’s issues and try to find solutions to them. I just feel that my support would be insufficient for such people in the future without guidance from other LGBT community members who happened to be more successful in overcoming their struggles. Hence, one’s ability to provide assistance for them is connected to the inclusion of citizens with a similar history.

Given my personal experience, I suppose that my reaction during the interview was significantly conditional upon the lack of knowledge on the needs and other specificities of representatives of the LGBT population group. It is reflected in the fact that at first, I was a little lost in the conversation. Moreover, the prepared questions seemed too impersonal for such an unconventional story that needs to be considered with the help of an individualized approach. The latter is possible only in the case of openness of interviewees, which cannot be achieved without prior acquaintance with this community. Thus, from the emotional perspective, the interview was efficient but not enough for further work since general knowledge on the subject does not imply a better understanding of a human factor.

Acquired Knowledge from the Interview

The knowledge about this population group that can be added to the previous outcomes is the interdependence of the early years of a person belonging to the LGBT community and their struggles in adulthood. It is clear that both children and adults face numerous challenges deriving from their less common values and perspectives. However, the issue of the neglect of the former’s problems in relation to their further development and socialization is not adequately addressed in the available literature. It allows concluding on the necessity to draw a link between LGBT teenagers’ struggles and their future careers and other areas of adult life.

Another aspect that was revealed by conducting an interview with the representative of the LGBT population group is related to the problem specified above. It is connected to their professional growth and the accompanying challenges stemming from their gender and sexual identity. This issue is also insufficiently covered by scholarly publications, whereas it presents one of the most important spheres of human life. Hence, it should be included in future studies on LGBT adults to provide them with the support they need from society. Thus, the new knowledge relates to the problems deriving from childhood and their connection to professional development.

Summary of Culturally Sensitive Theories and Ethics

The culturally sensitive theories discussed in Part 2 of the project were complemented by various techniques and models allowing to address the population groups’ problems. They included cognitive-behavioral theory and reality therapy applied in combination with a client-centered model considering specific needs. The former was intended to analyze and manage the feelings of the people, whereas the latter helped them to base their actions on the current experience rather than the abstract future or the past. These efficient instruments worked together with a solution-based counseling technique distracting a person from his problems, mindfulness, and active listening as principal methods used to cope with the identified issues.

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However, in order to make them work properly, it is vital to include specific ethical and legal considerations in the matter. Thus, the ethics applicable to this population group relate to the evaluation of such factors as their tendency to have more conflicts than others and face a biased and prejudiced attitude (Street, 2020). This aspect is vital since the neglect of it would indicate the failure of specialists to provide assistance for LGBT communities characterized by these issues. As for the legal part, it should be based on the provision of extensive information regarding their rights, particularly in partnerships, adoptions, and other societal regulations.

Summary of Findings in Part I

According to the outcome of Part I, the members of the LGBT community and other citizens have both similarities and differences regarding their characteristics. The former include the support of the Democratic Party and religious indifference. The latter, in turn, are more numerous and relate to gender roles, the negativity of society, and customs intended to improve the situation. The revealed parameters imply the need for their acceptance by specialists for effective work.

From this perspective, the significance of multicultural sensitivity for my work as a professional counselor is conditional upon the need to increase the understanding of their problems. Since they are largely misinterpreted and discriminated against by other people as it was proved in previous parts of the project, this objective is the key to finding common ground for further discussion. Hence, this aspect of the matter should be appropriately addressed to provide these citizens with real help.

Biblical Worldview of Common Grace

The principal strengths of common grace in the population group under consideration are connected to their goodness reflected in the overall support of one another within the community and their openness to new members. They are complemented by particular elements of common grace, including conscience and the possession of qualities making them morally good people. The former is demonstrated in the phenomenon of intrinsic understanding of their deeds from the perspective of the possibility of evil actions ascribed to them. The latter includes compassion towards one another and an empathetic attitude. In other words, the common grace attributed to the representatives of the LGBT community is explained by the presence of the specified qualities combined with their supportiveness.

Sharing faith with the members of this population group can be a challenging task due to the cultural complications. However, it can be performed just as easily as with any other category of citizens. In this case, we need to remember that we appeal to their souls, which are no different from others. Hence, when praying for them, it is critical to take into account the fact that they have as much right for common grace as any other religious community’s representatives and act accordingly.

The Most Helpful Part of the Study

All parts of the project are equally helpful in learning about the LGBT community. Nevertheless, from a practical perspective, Part 3 is more beneficial in acquiring new knowledge. In this case, the immersion experience was based on an individualized approach. It allowed gaining more information on these people’s daily struggles, which will help to address their needs in the future. Moreover, this interview contributed to the creation of a link between childhood and adulthood regarding specific problems. Thus, the project’s final part is more helpful in terms of practice, but it is efficiently complemented by the first two theoretical parts. As for the combination of the theories and techniques applied to the personal experiences of LGBT community members, they will be beneficial from my work as a counselor in the future.

References

A survey of LGBT Americans. (2013). Web.

Alejandro, J. (2020). The lesbian-after-the-fact phenomena. Web.

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Katz-Wise, S. L., Rosario, M., & Tsappis, M. (2016). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth and family acceptance. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 63(6), 1011–1025. Web.

Smith, M. S., & Gray, S. W. (2009). The courage to challenge: A new measure of hardiness in LGBT adults. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 21(1), 73-89. Web.

Street, M. (2020). ‘Drag Race’s Widow Von’Du to take a break after ‘fandom’ hate. Web.

Wood, A. W., & Conley, A. H. (2014). Loss of religious or spiritual identities among the LGBT population. Counseling and Values, 59(1), 95–111. Web.

Appendix

Interview

Question 1: Can you tell me about your early childhood experiences that were influenced by parental values?

Answer: My family holds extremely traditional views that negatively affected the formation of my personality. The instilled values were against my nature and therefore rejected to the displeasure of my parents. However, they also had their benefits since they stimulated my desire to find my way in life.

Question 2: What are your earliest memories of recognizing membership in the LGBT group?

Answer: My first memories about the community membership were connected to my teenage years when people showed affection to others not belonging to their families. At that time, my preferences different from the ones of my peers became the primary source of stress.

Question 3: What is the role of religion/spirituality in your life?

Answer: Actually, I never give it much thought as the religious communities are rarely supportive of the LGBT group members. In fact, I prefer to avoid any interactions with them.

Question 4: What period of your life affected your personality most?

Answer: It surely was my teenage years when I learned to express myself authentically.

Question 5: From your point of view, what are the similarities and differences between couples’ interactions in the LGBT community and traditional families?

Answer: The principal similarity is in the fact that they all face problems in communication during the initial period of their interactions. As for the differences, LGBT couples are more supportive of each other due to their misunderstanding by others.

Question 6: Can you tell me about your school experiences as a member of a cultural minority?

Answer: It was pretty traumatizing because people sometimes ignored me. It even happened several times when they “forgot” to invite me to a party. It was not done openly, but I still managed to trace the patterns.

Question 7: Can you tell me about your experiences with subtle discrimination?

Answer: Yes, it was also connected to my school years mostly. It was reflected in the unwillingness of people to seek my help in any matter.

Question 8: Can you tell me about your experiences with overt discrimination?

Answer: One of the most apparent examples of overt discrimination in my life was the reaction of my parents, who continuously compared me to my traditional siblings.

Question 9: How did you choose your career and what affected your preferences in this area?

Answer: I was always interested in medicine, and the choice of career was evident for me. My principal motivation affected my preferences since it was connected to the desire to help LGBT people who do not receive sufficient help from healthcare workers.

Question 10: To sum up, what is your overall experience of being culturally different?

Answer: It is stressful in every aspect but balanced by the idea that at least I express my real self and refuse to support a favorable image for my benefit.

Question 11: What is your attitude regarding the majority culture?

Answer: Positive until there is an open conflict between me and others who do not accept my specificities.

Question 12: What are your ideas about the assimilation of majority cultural attitudes, values, and lifestyles?

Answer: I believe it is possible only in the case of a positive attitude of other population groups towards us enhancing the exchange.

Question 13: Have you ever had any feelings of oppression?

Answer: Yes, constantly. Especially at work.

Question 14: Have you ever experienced feelings of anger toward the majority culture?

Answer: When I was a teenager, yes. But now I learned to suppress my feelings if they can trigger conflicts.

Question 15: Are there any negative attitudes towards individuals from your group from others?

Answer: Absolutely, in every area.

Question 16: What strengths attributed to your culture helped you cope with living in the present-day diverse society?

Answer: Support of other community members.

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