Social Justice Advocacy Readiness

SUMMARY. Social service providers of consultation, counseling, and
education can benefit from determining their social justice awareness,
knowledge, and skills to ensure culturally competent practice and to
challenge the multiple oppressions facing clients and staff on individual,
cultural, and institutional/systemic levels. The Social Justice Advocacy
Readiness Questionnaire (SJARQ) provides a means to advocate
for social justice with persons of multiple cultural identities, including
all sexual orientations and gender identities. The SJARQ instrument
contains three areas of self-assessment for social services staff: individual
social justice advocacy awareness, comfort, and values; cultural social
justice advocacy knowledge; and institutional/systemic social justice advocacy
skills. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document
Delivery Service: 1-800-342-9678. E-mail address: <getinfo@haworthpressinc.
com> Website: <http://www.HaworthPress.com> E 2001 by The Haworth Press,
Inc. All rights reserved.]
KEYWORDS. Social justice advocacy, counseling, consultation, education
Stuart F. Chen-Hayes, PhD, is Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Counselor
Education, Department of Specialized Services in Education at Lehman College of
the City University of New York.
Address correspondence to: Stuart F. Chen-Hayes, Lehman College of CUNY, Dept. of
Specialized Services Ed., Carman Hall B-20, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx,
NY 10468 (E-mail: stuartc@lehman.cuny.edu or swagalu@earthlink.net)
[Haworth co-indexing entry note]: ‘‘Social Justice Advocacy Readiness Questionnaire.’’ Chen-Hayes,
Stuart F. Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services (Harrington Park Press,
an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 13, No. 1/2, 2001, pp. 191-203; and: From Hate Crimes to
Human Rights: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard (ed: Mary E. Swigonski, Robin S. Mama, and Kelly Ward)
Harrington Park Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., 2001, pp. 191-203. Single or multiple copies
of this article are available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service [1-800-342-9678, 9:00
a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address: getinfo@haworthpressinc.com].
E 2001 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved. 191
Downloaded by

INTRODUCTION
Somewhere, on the edge of consciousness, there is what I call a
mythical norm, which each one of us within our hearts knows
‘‘that is not me.’’ In america (sic), this norm is usually defined as
white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, christian (sic), and financially
secure. It is within this mythical norm that the trappings of
power reside within this society. Those of us who stand outside
that power often identify one way in which we are different, and
we assume that to be the primary course of all oppression, forgetting
other distortions around difference, some of which we ourselves
may be practicing. (Lorde, 1984, p. 116)
Issues of culturally competent service provision and inclusion of all
cultural voices and identities are major issues for lesbian, bisexual,
gay, transgendered, two-spirit, queer, and questioning (LBGT2QQ)
service providers. Because organizations are staffed by persons from
different backgrounds, professions, and educational herstories and histories,
it is difficult to standardize training and education. When it
comes to issues of social justice advocacy, however, providers and
consumers of social work, consultation, counseling, and other educational
services can all benefit from a questionnaire that helps to evaluate
staff and clients’ social justice advocacy awareness, knowledge,
and skills. To be culturally competent and responsive to human rights
and social justice issues, it is important to explore our individual,
cultural and institutional/systemic issues of oppression in the provision
of LBGT2QQ social services.
What is a ‘‘gay’’ or ‘‘transgender’’ issue? Who decides? How do
our LBGT2QQ agencies provide for the multiple identities and social
justice needs for a culturally diverse community? When services are
provided for LBGT2QQ people of color, are issues of heterosexism
addressed while racism is dismissed? When services are provided to
persons of transgendered experience, are issues of transgenderism
addressed while issues of classism and beautyism are ignored?
CULTURALLY COMPETENT LBGT2QQ COUNSELING,
EDUCATION, AND ADVOCACY LITERATURE
Oppression can be defined as prejudice multiplied by power (Chen-
Hayes, 2000). LGBT2QQ service providers are often most familiar
Downloaded by [Capella University] at 18:57 24 February 2014
Promoting Human Rights 193
with the challenges of oppressions such as heterosexism and transgenderism.
The daily lives of LGBT2QQ service providers and clients
are steeped in ongoing struggles to appropriately service LGBT2QQ
persons in a culture that keeps resources away from nondominant
sexual orientations and gender identities. However, challenging these
two oppressions is not enough. Social service providers also need to
challenge the interlocking multiple oppressions (Reynolds & Pope,
1991), including racism, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism, linguicism,
anti-Semitism, and beautyism, to fully empower clients, colleagues, and
other community members.
One way to appropriately challenge multiple oppressions in social
service agencies is to study the struggles of oppressed persons across
multiple identities (Zinn, 1995). Critical theory readers are available
that help persons to look at individual, cultural, and systemic issues of
oppression that cross multiple identities; see, for example, Andrzejewski
(1996) and Rothenberg (1998). Like the rest of the population,
most lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgendered social service providers
are products of the dominant culture’s educational systems. We have
not been given accurate and appropriate information about ourselves
as LBGT2QQ, let alone about the multiple cultural identities that are
found in our communities. Leadership in our communities has varied,
and many of us hunger for ways to be more inclusive in our agencies,
with our staffs, and, most of all, with our clients. LGBT2QQ persons
can benefit from developing ally relationships (Chen-Hayes & Haley-
Banez, in press; Gelberg & Chojnacki, 1996; Lewis & Arnold, 1998;
Washington & Evans, 1991). Allies are persons who are members of a
dominant cultural group who choose to take on the struggles of members
of the nondominant group. As LBGT2QQ persons, we look to
heterosexual and traditionally gendered allies to challenge heterosexism
and transgenderism. Yet, as LBGT2QQ persons, we also need to enter
into ally relationships related to age, gender, disability, appearance,
social class, ethnicity/race, religion, and other cultural variables to challenge
all of the oppressions (Lorde, 1984; Reynolds & Pope, 1991).
CONNECTING THE OPPRESSIONS
THROUGH CRITICAL THINKING
Many LBGT2QQ persons come to an understanding of oppression
through a starting point of heterosexism or transgenderism (Chen-
Downloaded by [Capella University] at 18:57 24 February 2014
194 From Hate Crimes to Human Rights: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard
Hayes, 2000; Chen-Hayes, in press). For others, it is a first awareness
of racism, ableism, or sexism that is the entry point into examining
who is in power and who is disempowered. The challenge for all
LBGT2QQ service providers, however, is to notice that the salience
(Cross, 1996) of one’s multiple cultural identities (Reynolds & Pope,
1991) varies based on membership in various groups and our perception
of the importance of those group identities at any point in
time.
Critical thinking is a tool to help one continually evaluate the
norms, values, beliefs, and policies upheld in daily work and family
environments and how daily work and family environments honor or
dishonor multiple cultural identities. Educators, practitioners, administrators,
and clients may reach similar goals for social justice by
stimulating critical thinking as a tool of social justice advocacy and
multicultural competency. The literature is replete with authors of
various sexual orientations and gender identities who continue to
assist us in developing critical thinking skills. hooks (1994) wrote
about the importance of transgressing in educational practice, including
looking at race, class, gender, and the intersections thereof. Sleeter
and Grant (1994) discussed the concept of social reconstructionist
and multicultural education to focus on multiple contexts. Pedersen
(1994) created a list of ways to provide concrete strategies to providers
and agencies interested in increasing multicultural competence.
Trickett, Watts, and Birman (1994) addressed issues of multiple cultural
identities, including age, disability, sexual orientation, and race.
Dworkin and Gutierrez (1992), Comas-Diaz and Greene (1994), Firestein
(1996), and Israel and Tarver (1997) provided culturally competent
models of advocacy, counseling, consultation, and education with
LBGT persons.
In addition, Lee and Walz (1998) and Lewis and Bradley (2000)
addressed issues of advocacy in counseling and the need for a social
justice perspective in all social services contexts. Ivey (1996) and
D’Andrea and Daniels (1996) both provided models of liberatory
counseling and consultation practice in challenging oppression and
creating socially just practitioners, clients, and social systems. Arredondo
(1999) drew upon earlier work on multicultural competencies
and further refined the personal dimensions of identity model to challenge
racism and other oppressions in a social services context.
Downloaded by [Capella University] at 18:57 24 February 2014
Promoting Human Rights 195
THE SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY READINESS
QUESTIONNAIRE (SJARQ) INSTRUMENT
In light of the evolving literature on multiculturally competent practice
and social justice advocacy, the Social Justice Advocacy Readiness
Questionnaire (SJARQ) (included in Figure 1) was designed
as a way for educators, practitioners, and clients to begin or to continue
dialogue attempting to ensure that all members of our community are a
part of the process of change in our organizations to promote competence,
human rights, social justice advocacy, and challenge multiple
oppressions. Lee and Walz (1998) encouraged counselors to
use assessment instruments that evidence cultural competency and
socially just measurement ‘‘to facilitate the psychosocial development
of persons rather than hinder, stigmatize, or falsely categorize them’’
(p. 309).
The SJARQ is a 188-item awareness, knowledge, and skills self-report
set of questions based on a sampling of social justice items. It is
divided into three parts. Part I is based on an individual’s perceptions
of personal and institutional herstory and history, cultural comfort, and
values and beliefs. The second part, knowledge of social justice advocacy,
is based on a series of questions about prominent and not-soprominent
persons, dates, and events/items related to social justice
struggles across multiple cultural identities. Most of the items from
part two were derived from two main sources: the Syracuse Cultural
Worker’s 1999 Peace Calendar (Syracuse CulturalWorkers, 1999) and
from the work of historian Howard Zinn’s history of the United States
through the eyes of the oppressed (Zinn, 1995). Part III is a list of
institutional and systemic social justice advocacy skill questions to
develop abilities for persons who operate agencies as they may be
perceived by their employees and clients. An answer key is available
for the second part of the SJARQ; however, parts I and III are openended
or Likert-scale questions designed to provide optimal discussions
and qualitative data for LBGT2QQ agencies and social service
providers. Most importantly, the SJARQ is designed for ongoing reflective
practice for LBGT2QQ and other service providers, clients,
and educators to continually monitor social justice advocacy issues.
Practitioners, clients, administrators, and community members can all
benefit from evaluating themselves and their organizations to promote
greater cultural competency and social justice advocacy in LBGT2QQ
social services.

 

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Social Justice Advocacy Readiness

Social Justice Advocacy Readiness

ANSWER


SUMMARY. Social service providers of consultation, counseling, and
education can benefit from determining their social justice awareness,
knowledge, and skills to ensure culturally competent practice and to
challenge the multiple oppressions facing clients and staff on individual,
cultural, and institutional/systemic levels. The Social Justice Advocacy
Readiness Questionnaire (SJARQ) provides a means to advocate
for social justice with persons of multiple cultural identities, including
all sexual orientations and gender identities. The SJARQ instrument
contains three areas of self-assessment for social services staff: individual
social justice advocacy awareness, comfort, and values; cultural social
justice advocacy knowledge; and institutional/systemic social justice advocacy
skills. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document
Delivery Service: 1-800-342-9678. E-mail address: <getinfo@haworthpressinc.
com> Website: <http://www.HaworthPress.com> E 2001 by The Haworth Press,
Inc. All rights reserved.]
KEYWORDS. Social justice advocacy, counseling, consultation, education
Stuart F. Chen-Hayes, PhD, is Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Counselor
Education, Department of Specialized Services in Education at Lehman College of
the City University of New York.
Address correspondence to: Stuart F. Chen-Hayes, Lehman College of CUNY, Dept. of
Specialized Services Ed., Carman Hall B-20, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx,
[Haworth co-indexing entry note]: ‘‘Social Justice Advocacy Readiness Questionnaire.’’ Chen-Hayes,
Stuart F. Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services (Harrington Park Press,
an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 13, No. 1/2, 2001, pp. 191-203; and: From Hate Crimes to
Human Rights: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard (ed: Mary E. Swigonski, Robin S. Mama, and Kelly Ward)
Harrington Park Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., 2001, pp. 191-203. Single or multiple copies
of this article are available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service [1-800-342-9678, 9:00
a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address: getinfo@haworthpressinc.com].
E 2001 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved. 191
Downloaded by

INTRODUCTION
Somewhere, on the edge of consciousness, there is what I call a
mythical norm, which each one of us within our hearts knows
‘‘that is not me.’’ In america (sic), this norm is usually defined as
white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, christian (sic), and financially
secure. It is within this mythical norm that the trappings of
power reside within this society. Those of us who stand outside
that power often identify one way in which we are different, and
we assume that to be the primary course of all oppression, forgetting
other distortions around difference, some of which we ourselves
may be practicing. (Lorde, 1984, p. 116)

Social Justice Advocacy Readiness

Issues of culturally competent service provision and inclusion of all
cultural voices and identities are major issues for lesbian, bisexual,
gay, transgendered, two-spirit, queer, and questioning (LBGT2QQ)
service providers. Because organizations are staffed by persons from
different backgrounds, professions, and educational herstories and histories,
it is difficult to standardize training and education. When it
comes to issues of social justice advocacy, however, providers and
consumers of social work, consultation, counseling, and other educational
services can all benefit from a questionnaire that helps to evaluate
staff and clients’ social justice advocacy awareness, knowledge,
and skills. To be culturally competent and responsive to human rights
and social justice issues, it is important to explore our individual,
cultural and institutional/systemic issues of oppression in the provision
of LBGT2QQ social services.
What is a ‘‘gay’’ or ‘‘transgender’’ issue? Who decides? How do
our LBGT2QQ agencies provide for the multiple identities and social
justice needs for a culturally diverse community? When services are
provided for LBGT2QQ people of color, are issues of heterosexism
addressed while racism is dismissed? When services are provided to
persons of transgendered experience, are issues of transgenderism
addressed while issues of classism and beautyism are ignored?
CULTURALLY COMPETENT LBGT2QQ COUNSELING,
EDUCATION, AND ADVOCACY LITERATURE
Oppression can be defined as prejudice multiplied by power (Chen-
Hayes, 2000). LGBT2QQ service providers are often most familiar
Downloaded by [Capella University] at 18:57 24 February 2014
Promoting Human Rights 193
with the challenges of oppressions such as heterosexism and transgenderism.
The daily lives of LGBT2QQ service providers and clients
are steeped in ongoing struggles to appropriately service LGBT2QQ
persons in a culture that keeps resources away from nondominant
sexual orientations and gender identities. However, challenging these
two oppressions is not enough. Social service providers also need to
challenge the interlocking multiple oppressions (Reynolds & Pope,
1991), including racism, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism, linguicism,
anti-Semitism, and beautyism, to fully empower clients, colleagues, and
other community members.
One way to appropriately challenge multiple oppressions in social
service agencies is to study the struggles of oppressed persons across
multiple identities (Zinn, 1995). Critical theory readers are available
that help persons to look at individual, cultural, and systemic issues of
oppression that cross multiple identities; see, for example, Andrzejewski
(1996) and Rothenberg (1998). Like the rest of the population,
most lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgendered social service providers
are products of the dominant culture’s educational systems. We have
not been given accurate and appropriate information about ourselves
as LBGT2QQ, let alone about the multiple cultural identities that are
found in our communities. Leadership in our communities has varied,
and many of us hunger for ways to be more inclusive in our agencies,
with our staffs, and, most of all, with our clients. LGBT2QQ persons
can benefit from developing ally relationships (Chen-Hayes & Haley-
Banez, in press; Gelberg & Chojnacki, 1996; Lewis & Arnold, 1998;
Washington & Evans, 1991). Allies are persons who are members of a
dominant cultural group who choose to take on the struggles of members
of the nondominant group. As LBGT2QQ persons, we look to
heterosexual and traditionally gendered allies to challenge heterosexism
and transgenderism. Yet, as LBGT2QQ persons, we also need to enter
into ally relationships related to age, gender, disability, appearance,
social class, ethnicity/race, religion, and other cultural variables to challenge
all of the oppressions (Lorde, 1984; Reynolds & Pope, 1991).
CONNECTING THE OPPRESSIONS
THROUGH CRITICAL THINKING

Social Justice Advocacy Readiness

Many LBGT2QQ persons come to an understanding of oppression
through a starting point of heterosexism or transgenderism (Chen-
Downloaded by [Capella University] at 18:57 24 February 2014
194 From Hate Crimes to Human Rights: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard
Hayes, 2000; Chen-Hayes, in press). For others, it is a first awareness
of racism, ableism, or sexism that is the entry point into examining
who is in power and who is disempowered. The challenge for all
LBGT2QQ service providers, however, is to notice that the salience
(Cross, 1996) of one’s multiple cultural identities (Reynolds & Pope,
1991) varies based on membership in various groups and our perception
of the importance of those group identities at any point in
time.
Critical thinking is a tool to help one continually evaluate the
norms, values, beliefs, and policies upheld in daily work and family
environments and how daily work and family environments honor or
dishonor multiple cultural identities. Educators, practitioners, administrators,
and clients may reach similar goals for social justice by
stimulating critical thinking as a tool of social justice advocacy and
multicultural competency. The literature is replete with authors of
various sexual orientations and gender identities who continue to
assist us in developing critical thinking skills. hooks (1994) wrote
about the importance of transgressing in educational practice, including
looking at race, class, gender, and the intersections thereof. Sleeter
and Grant (1994) discussed the concept of social reconstructionist
and multicultural education to focus on multiple contexts. Pedersen
(1994) created a list of ways to provide concrete strategies to providers
and agencies interested in increasing multicultural competence.
Trickett, Watts, and Birman (1994) addressed issues of multiple cultural
identities, including age, disability, sexual orientation, and race.
Dworkin and Gutierrez (1992), Comas-Diaz and Greene (1994), Firestein
(1996), and Israel and Tarver (1997) provided culturally competent
models of advocacy, counseling, consultation, and education with
LBGT persons.
In addition, Lee and Walz (1998) and Lewis and Bradley (2000)
addressed issues of advocacy in counseling and the need for a social
justice perspective in all social services contexts. Ivey (1996) and
D’Andrea and Daniels (1996) both provided models of liberatory
counseling and consultation practice in challenging oppression and
creating socially just practitioners, clients, and social systems. Arredondo
(1999) drew upon earlier work on multicultural competencies
and further refined the personal dimensions of identity model to challenge
racism and other oppressions in a social services context.
Downloaded by [Capella University] at 18:57 24 February 2014
Promoting Human Rights 195
THE SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY READINESS
QUESTIONNAIRE (SJARQ) INSTRUMENT
In light of the evolving literature on multiculturally competent practice
and social justice advocacy, the Social Justice Advocacy Readiness
Questionnaire (SJARQ) (included in Figure 1) was designed
as a way for educators, practitioners, and clients to begin or to continue
dialogue attempting to ensure that all members of our community are a
part of the process of change in our organizations to promote competence,
human rights, social justice advocacy, and challenge multiple
oppressions. Lee and Walz (1998) encouraged counselors to
use assessment instruments that evidence cultural competency and
socially just measurement ‘‘to facilitate the psychosocial development
of persons rather than hinder, stigmatize, or falsely categorize them’’
(p. 309).
The SJARQ is a 188-item awareness, knowledge, and skills self-report
set of questions based on a sampling of social justice items. It is
divided into three parts. Part I is based on an individual’s perceptions
of personal and institutional herstory and history, cultural comfort, and
values and beliefs. The second part, knowledge of social justice advocacy,
is based on a series of questions about prominent and not-soprominent
persons, dates, and events/items related to social justice
struggles across multiple cultural identities. Most of the items from
part two were derived from two main sources: the Syracuse Cultural
Worker’s 1999 Peace Calendar (Syracuse CulturalWorkers, 1999) and
from the work of historian Howard Zinn’s history of the United States
through the eyes of the oppressed (Zinn, 1995). Part III is a list of
institutional and systemic social justice advocacy skill questions to
develop abilities for persons who operate agencies as they may be
perceived by their employees and clients. An answer key is available
for the second part of the SJARQ; however, parts I and III are openended
or Likert-scale questions designed to provide optimal discussions
and qualitative data for LBGT2QQ agencies and social service
providers. Most importantly, the SJARQ is designed for ongoing reflective
practice for LBGT2QQ and other service providers, clients,
and educators to continually monitor social justice advocacy issues.
Practitioners, clients, administrators, and community members can all
benefit from evaluating themselves and their organizations to promote
greater cultural competency and social justice advocacy in LBGT2QQ
social services.