VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
The Impact of Attendance at a LGBTQIA Conference on School Counselors’ and Other Educators’ Beliefs and Behaviors
Aaron Iffland and Trish Hatch
Historically, LGBTQIA issues have been both controversial and sensitive topics of conversation in educational settings. School counselors and other educators have a professional responsibility to advocate for LGBTQIA youth, yet many lack the attitudes, knowledge, and skills to do so. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the 2012 Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership (CESCaL) LGBTQIA and Educators Conference. The conference provided attendees with the knowledge of laws and rights of LGBTQIA students, provided extensive educator resources, and encouraged attendees to take personal responsibility to be advocates for LGBTQIA youth and to create safe spaces in schools. Through the use of an anonymous preconference and post-conference survey, the perceptions of adult attendees at the conference were investigated to gauge the impact of the conference. Results indicate participants’ perceptions of knowledge, attitudes, and skills regarding advocacy for LGBTQIA youth increased as a result of participating in CESCaL’s LGBTQIA 2012 conference.
Keywords: LGBTQIA, educators, CESCaL, conference, advocacy, change agents, “Supporting Students, Saving Lives”