Ethical Standards for Human Services


Ethical Standards for Human Services Professionals and Generic Human Services Professional Competencies adopted by the National Organization for Human Services do not include language or competencies specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. Without a specific ethical code and/or competency outlined by the field, human services practitioners do not have clear guidelines for their work with these populations. Additionally, researchers lack a way to formally measure professionals’ abilities with these populations. This leaves potential for these historically marginalized populations to continue to be in a vulnerable position. To address these needs, established competencies in other helping professions (i.e., counseling and social work fields) relative to LGBT populations, and argue that creating LGBT specific competencies in the human services field will lead to more competent practice and support the purpose of ethical guidelines which in part is to serve as a basis for self-monitoring and improving practice.

Advancing the human services field by developing specific LGBT competencies offers an opportunity to set the standard for working with these populations and contributes to establishing a preventative culture. A preventative culture encompasses an ethics ideology which has a focus on preventing recurring ethical issues by developing ethical guidelines and quality control measures to address systemic gaps. The ultimate goal of this culture is to minimize or prevent future conflicts and improve service delivery to these populations. Through the establishment of a preventative ethics culture in the human services field, organizations could better plan for situations that require intervention. Specific LGBT ethical codes and/or competencies would address this call by supporting the intent of ethical guidelines which are to educate professionals, and provide a framework for professional accountability, while serving as a basis for self-monitoring and improving practice.

2. LGBTQ+ communities face many challenges. They are discriminated against and bullied. They must worry about being accepted by their families and friends when they “ come out.” Many members of this community have thought about suicide. Not knowing how to cope with this, some abuse substances. Members of the LGBTQ+ community do not seek professional mental help or medical help due to fear of being judged. Many older Americans are stuck in their ways and believe in traditional relationships. Also, religion plays a significant role in accepting LGBTQ+ people.
“Discrimination in health care settings endangers LGBTQ people’s lives through delays or denials of medically necessary care. For example, after one patient with HIV disclosed to a hospital that he had sex with other men, the hospital staff refused to provide his HIV medication. In another case, a transgender teenager who was admitted to a hospital for suicidal ideation and self-inflicted injuries was repeatedly misgendered and then discharged early by hospital staff. He later committed suicide.” (Director et al., 2022)
There are many programs to help LGBTQ+ people against bullying and discrimination and to help them find the medical help they deserve. There are laws to protect people from being discriminated against. Knowing where these programs are for your area is vital for human service professionals.
Organizations can increase LGBTQ+ inclusion by making gender-neutral bathrooms. Pride month is June, and celebrating LGBTQ+ people shows inclusion. Training employees on diversity can help eliminate the terrible stigma against LGBTQ. Employers should make sure promotions are equal across the board.
Everyone is human, and just because someone believes differently doesn’t mean they are wrong. The world needs diversity. Everyone brings something different to the table. Sexual orientation doesn’t determine work quality and should not matter. Understanding your client makes it easier for them to trust you.
Should religious people discriminate against someone because their sexual preference differs from their beliefs?