But what proportion of students are truly interested and what proportion of them are taking active steps to learn? I don't have the numerical answer to that; however, I can present my personal experience. From the beginning of my master's program I decided that my preferred focus population would be LGBTQIA individuals. In each class I was clear about it in my introduction. In response, I received feedback from students and professors, something like, "It's really admirable that you chose this population, because it is marginalized and we need more counselors to work with it." As true as it is, I found myself to be the only one (!) who made a conscious choice to work with LGBTQIA individuals. Due to that fact, I incorporated LGBTQIA issues in as many assignments as possible in order to educate myself.
One of the main messages that I attempted to convey to other students was the importance of immersing themselves in a particular culture if they want to truly learn. For example, if I want to better understand LGBTQIA issues, the least I can do is to speak to the representatives of this population and the most is to continuously engage and associate in their environment. This is what I did. The result was me learning so much, which I would never learn from books. And this learning is never-ending. However, despite everything that I've gathered so far, I do not consider myself qualified to speak for (not on behalf) LGBTQIA individuals, because I'm an Ally and no matter how much I learn, I will never know what it's truly like to go through life as a lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person. So my rhetorical question is: If a person, despite not being required, chose to dedicate his/her time to study LGBTQIA issues, immerse him- or herself in this environment, and still have much to learn in order to effectively counsel these individuals, then what can we say about those who are not required to learn, who do not take extra steps, and who will receive a license in counseling without truly understanding LGBTQIA issues?
§49.2 - Educational Requirements
Pennsylvania Department of State;
CHAPTER 49. STATE BOARD OF SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS—LICENSURE OF PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS