Kristopher Goodrich, program coordinator and assistant professor of Counselor Education in the College of Education’s Department of Individual, Family and Community Education, is researching how to add diversity within counseling sessions at UNM.
The program focuses on understanding the best ways to counsel LGBTQI individuals. People within the LGBTQI group are an important part of the community on campus, he said.
“If we are to work for effective change, we must be responsive to everyone. The changes that we make for the most marginalized people among us can only affect positive change for all of us,” Goodrich said in a press release.
Goodrich stressed the importance of developing the program because LGBTQI individuals tend to have higher dropout rates, more health-related issues, substance abuse problems, relationship issues and even issues with suicide.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, LGBTQI relationships often have a power and control dynamic. This can involve ‘outing,’ where a partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity is not yet known by the victim’s family members, employers, community members and others, and they disclose that to them without consent.
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey released some findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation which stated, “44 percent of lesbian women, 61 percent of bisexual women and 35 percent of heterosexual women experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”
And for men, “26 percent of gay men, 37 percent of bisexual men and 29 percent of heterosexual men experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. Approximately 1 in 5 bisexual women (22 percent) and nearly 1 in 10 heterosexual women (9 percent) have been raped by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”
There are also differences for LGBTQI students because each group has distinct concerns and needs. Knowledge about those specific populations and how to work with them is important.
“There’s more to one’s identity than just sex or sexual behavior,” Goodrich said. “There’s a whole cultural experience related to the community as a whole, and there are multiple sub-communities within that larger community that have their own history of both conflict and harmony.”
Goodrich’s efforts work to curve the issues by providing resources that are readily equipped to assist the unique needs of the LGBTQI community.
Heidi Martin, a biology and psychology senior, said out of all the resources available on campus, counseling is the only one that needs a bit of work.
While it is great to see efforts being made to add more diversity in counseling sessions, Martin said that shouldn’t be necessary.
“The fact that we have to have a separate program for it is a little — it’s fantastic, but at the same time it’s concerning that we require a separate program,” she said.
Moriah Carty is the assistant culture editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MoriahCarty.