Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

LaVonne Fox


Bisexuality; Cultural Competency; Gender Identity; Homosexuality


When considering cultural groups, people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population are rarely considered or discussed as a cultural group. For many people, discussion about the LGBT community and sexuality is uncomfortable or often deemed private in order to avoid discussion. Therapists often state "well it's none of my business," but as Harrison (2001) states, it is our job as health professionals to provide therapy settings that are safe for all individuals to openly express themselves. The challenge that arises is in developing a greater understanding around sexual differences in order to be able to provide quality service to future clients of the LGBT community (Harrison 2001).

Harrison (2001) suggests therapists must consider clients' sexual identity differences as a culture, and that it is our responsibility, as healthcare professionals, to provide therapy settings that are safe for all individuals to express themselves. Kingsley and Molineux (2000) state, "it is now a time that a broader and more thorough understanding of how sexual orientation can influence (how) occupation is developed, so that therapy can be more authentic with people who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual" (p. 207).

The research on LGBT, in occupational therapy, is severely limited. When considering the large numbers of the LGBT cultural group in the U.S., occupational therapists have minimal resources to assist them in gaining cultural awareness and remove the myths and stereotypes that may be negatively affecting the professional's beliefs and attitudes toward individuals in this group. Researchers have indicated that in order for occupational therapists to provide authentic care, it is critical that issues surrounding homophobia be addressed (Harrison 2001).

A literature review was conducted regarding: the stereotypes, myths and attitudes of health care professionals who are working with this population; the role of therapeutic use of self in regard to service delivery; the needs and rights of this population in regard to the provision of a respectful therapeutic process and; the best evidenced-based practices that are essential for occupational therapist to provide culturally competent quality care to effectively and objectively meet the needs of this population. In addition, the national LGBT Occupational Therapy group was contacted.

The result of this scholarly project is the development of an educational resource guide for clinicians to gain cultural competency in order to work most effectively with members of the LGBT group. Occupational therapists must gain cultural competency related to the LGBT population in order to be aware of personal biases and to provide client-centered care to individuals within this cultural group.