Total Credits: 1.5 including 1.5 Category II CEs
Transgender Day of Visibility is a time to celebrate transgender people and to raise awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as an opportunity to celebrate their contributions to society. Transgender people have always been part of the social work workforce and continue to make meaningful contributions to our profession and to society at large. This educational session will provide attendees with an opportunity to hear from a panel of transgender social workers that will share their insights, lived experiences, and the transformative power of visibility within the profession.
Lee Westgate, MBA, MSW ’06, LCSW-C
Clinical Instructor, University of Maryland School of Social Work
Lee Westgate, MBA, MSW, LCSW-C is a board approved clinical supervisor in the state of Maryland. He obtained his Masters in Social Work at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work and a Masters in Business Administration with a focus on Leadership and Management at the University of Baltimore. He currently serves as a Clinical Instructor at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work. He has participated in a CSWE-sponsored National Trauma Task Force work-group that focused on the intersection of ethics and trauma-informed practice. Additionally, he was awarded an immersion fellowship through Boston University to study addiction and behavioral health. Teaching is of central importance to Lee. As a faculty member in the University of MD, School of Social Work’s graduate program he has received numerous teaching awards including the Exemplary Faculty Member of the Year Award along with the Dean’s Teaching Award for several consecutive semesters.
Nia Clark (she/ her/ hers) As a transgender youth of color who spent most of her childhood in foster care, Nia Clark consistently struggled to find acceptance and support from the adults around her. While most would understandably distance themselves from such rejection and intolerance, Nia has spent over a decade changing the system from within as a child welfare consultant, direct care counselor, trainer, and LGBTQ youth advocate. From 2015-2017, Nia was the Mentoring Coordinator at LifeWorks, the youth development and mentorship program at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. In her role, she matched over 200 LGBTQ+ youth with adult mentors. In 2016 she served as consulting producer of the Emmy-nominated MTV documentary, ”Transformation,” a film featuring herself and six trans & gender-diverse youth navigating through their identities. Nia is currently a trainer for the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children – All Families Project, an initiative that provides a framework for child welfare agencies to achieve safety, permanency, and well-being by improving their practice with queer youth. Thoroughly impressed by Clark’s hard work and extensive background in child welfare, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) enlisted her help in launching a three-year national pilot project to provide more inclusive mentoring services and resources to thousands of LGBTQ youth across America. She has trained more than 20 BBBS sites including Seattle, Denver, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Washington D.C. Nia is a social work major at California State University, Los Angeles. She plans to obtain her MSW and become a social work professor, so she can continue teaching adults to affirm and support LGBTQ youth in systems of care.
Acey Mercer, LMSW is a passionate and driven social worker who has dedicated his career to providing support and advocacy for vulnerable communities marginalized by social inequality and institutional oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As the Senior Consultant of the Training Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity & Sexuality (TIGRIS), Acey specializes in providing professional training as well as policy and curriculum development relating to best affirming practices with LGBQQIAAP2S+, transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive populations across a vast array of disciplines. The services Acey delivers through TIGRIS are enhanced and complimented by the strong clinical lens he has as Program Director and Psychotherapist at Choices Counseling & Consulting. Acey supports adults, youth, and their families as they navigate questions, challenges, and celebrations related to the emotional, psychological, social, legal and medical aspects of gender journey and transition. He has had various media appearances, been referenced, and given professional statements and interviews for National Geographic, Huffington Post, Doctor Radio on SiriusXM, Times Union, Spectrum News, and WIOX Radio. He has written articles published in print and online:queerhealthguys.com and wallethub.com. Acey teaches affirming clinical practices to postgraduate level students as a lecturer at the University at Albany, Department of Educational & Counseling Psychology and School of Social Welfare. Lastly, being President and a Clinical Supervisor for the nonprofit organization Rainbow Access Initiative, Inc. (RAI), allows Acey the opportunity to utilize his professional background to contribute to RAI’s mission and vision to eliminate barriers to care and ensure accessible and culturally appropriate mental health and case management services are provided to LGBQQTIAAP2S+ individuals, families and communities.
Jack Mirabella (they/them) is a Baltimore-based attorney and macro social worker. They specialize in shaping public policy to reduce health and wealth disparities for historically excluded communities. In addition to their day job working for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s Office of Minority Health, they also provide pro bono consulting services for Trans Maryland and legal representation for low-income Marylanders. Prior to their current role(s) they spent a number of years working in the nonprofit sector as an advocate for economic justice. They have been teaching financial social work and legislative advocacy courses at the University of Maryland School of Social Work since 2016
Dr. Shanéa Thomas, LICSW (He/She/Dr.) is a bold lecturer and seasoned scholar-practitioner with more than 15 years of professional social work experience in the Washington D.C. metro area. His organization, Thomas Consulting and Therapeutic Services' main commitment is training and strategizing with social workers, educators, and service providers around building safer therapeutic and educational spaces for all people. This is especially for those working in communities who are underserved and under resourced, and those identifying as Black, Indigenous, people of color, and LGBTQI+ folks. Dr. Thomas has facilitated over 80 workshops centering DEI needs, grief and loss, mental health, sex and gender, and LGBTQI+ populations. When creating organizational change through strategic planning, Dr. Thomas' work unapologetically centers marginalized voices with community organizations and healthcare institutions to help shift power, privilege, and organizational accountability. Dr. Thomas ended his 10 year position at University of Southern California School of Social Work as a Senior Lecturer in 2022 to further the commitment around LGBTQ+ inclusivity through University of Maryland School of Public Health as their new LGBTQ+ Training Specialist and Assistant Research Professor. Dr. Thomas is currently creating a national training program launching in May 2023 with the use of the Prevention Research Center's research to build LGBTQ+ competency in practice amongst mental health professionals.
Upon the conclusion of this educational session, attendees will be able to:
Provide an overview of the unique challenges faced by Transgender and Gender Expansive social workers.
Understand key ethical challenges related anti-transgender legislation and discrimination and their unique impact on the social work profession.
Recognize the significant contributions of transgender social workers and the transformative power of visibility within the social work profession.
BIBLIOGRAPHY & REFERENCES
Relevant NASW Ethical Codes:
5.01 Integrity of the Profession
6.01 Social Welfare
6.02 Public Participation
6.04 Social and Political Action
Fee & Registration:
Cost is $15 and includes CE credit.
* Refunds will not be granted.
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Category II Maryland BSWE Requirement
The Office of Continuing Professional Education at the University Of Maryland School Of Social Work is authorized by the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland to sponsor social work continuing education programs. This workshop qualifies for 1.5 Category II Continuing Education Units. The Office of Continuing Professional Education is also authorized by the Maryland Board of Psychologists and the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors to sponsor Category B continuing professional education.
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