UHCL The Signal
The official student newspaper of the University of Houston-Clear Lake

UHCL professor gives presentation on the LGBTQ community at the nation’s capital

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The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) held a congressional lunch seminar in conjunction with the Honorable James P. McGovern Oct. 25 on the topic of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Kim Case, professor of psychology at UHCL, is also a co-founder of Houston’s chapter of the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and Kevin Leo Yabut Nadal, associate professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, presented in front of an audience comprised of members of congress, professionals from advocacy groups and other nonprofit organizations.

Case and Nadal lead a presentation entitled “Toward LGBTQ Non-discrimination & Inclusivity: What We Know and What We Need.” Case and Nadal started off their presentation defining essential terminology including LGBTQ, microaggressions, institutional discrimination, intersectionality and sexual orientation.

“There were about 100 people, including a lot of people from congressional offices,” Case said. “It took place in the Rayburn House Office Building inside the actual United State House of Representatives building where all of their offices are, so I was definitely nervous!”

Case and Nadal’s presentation focused on four main themes affecting the LGBTQ community including education, workplace, health, violence/homelessness. The presentation was focused around the importance of conducting research and gathering data before putting laws into place when it comes to the LGBTQ community.

The presentation also featured real-life stories of people who have been subjected to discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

“We combined statistics with real people’s stories,” Case said. “The audience who attended our presentation were very attentive, open people who wanted to learn, but statistics can be dry, so we tried to incorporate a lot of stories and examples. We even included stories from friends of ours, and my co-presenter (Nadal) also drew from his personal experiences.”

Moving forward, Case and Nadal made it clear that several important public policies and resources are needed. This includes legal protections and explicit inclusion, funding/grants for more data/research, and training for the people and institutions currently servicing the LGTBQ community.

“There really is not near enough research done specifically on the LGBTQ community,” Case said. “My hope is to bring awareness on doing more research because, without it, it’s impossible to figure out what exactly needs to be done to help them.”

Alex Barrera, a Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) volunteer, emphasized the significance of Case and Nadal’s presentation in the fight against inequality.

“It’s so important that we have people that care,” Barrera said. ”As a Latino member of the LGBTQ community myself, it sometimes is scary to think about our future, and it’s nice to know people are out there fighting against discriminations that we face daily.”