Competency Category:

13.3 – Work with LGBTQ2+ Clients

Purpose & Context

Career Development Professionals (CDPs) reflect on their own values and beliefs and seek to understand those of their clients. CDPs challenge their own assumptions and avoid stereotypes that might negatively impact the well-being of the client and the outcomes of career development interventions.To prepare for working with LGBTQ2+ clients, CDPs must develop an understanding of the challenges and barriers LGBTQ2+ clients face and how this may impact expectations regarding work, education and training.

Effective Performance

Competent career development professionals must be able to:

  • P1. Identify challenges and barriers, LGBTQ2+ clients may be facing:
    • Hostile learning and working environments
    • Discrimination/stereotypes
    • Workplace issues, e.g. limited career advancements, heterosexism
    • Limited access to specific occupations, fields, or growth opportunities
    • Homophobia
    • Biphobia
    • Transphobia
    • Physical and psychological violence
    • Identity issues and self-criticism
    • Rejection/Isolation
    • Poverty
  • P2. Identify documents, tools, and resources to overcome potential barriers, for example:
    • Local support networks, organizations and schools with sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination policies
    • LGBTQ2+ mentors and role models
    • List of LGBTQ2+ friendly work environments
    • LGBTQ2+ associations and interest groups, e.g. Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Out & Equal, Egale Canada, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Canada (PFLAG)
  • P3. Tailor services to meet the client’s needs, for example:
    • Explain legal protections relevant to the client, e.g. Canadian Human Rights Act
    • Use gender-neutral, non-heteronormative language
    • Provide effective coping techniques for different types of oppression
    • Adopt self-esteem interventions, positive self-talk, reframing, forgiveness
    • Develop advice and guidance for employers, e.g. legislative requirements, HR policies and practices that support diversity and inclusion, workplace sensitivity training, employee assistance programs, recruitment strategies, benefits of inclusive workplaces

Knowledge & Understanding

Competent career development professionals must know and understand:

  • K1. Legislation and regulation, e.g. Canadian Human Rights Act, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Provincial Acts
    and Codes and the Criminal Code 2017, rights of LGBTQ2+ persons (i.e. gender identity and gender expression as
    protected from discrimination)
  • K2. Models of identify formation
  • K3. Transition process, e.g. physical appearance, medical concerns, psychological adjustment, legal issues
  • K4. Development of gender identities
  • K5. Development of self-concept
  • K6. Language sensitive to LGBTQ2+ people
  • K7. Culturally different views on sexual orientation and gender identity

Contextual Variables

Competent career development professionals must be able to perform this competency in the following range of contexts:

Depending on client base, CDPs may need to develop a deeper understanding of specific groups within LGBTQ2+, e.g. non-cisgender women.

Glossary & Key References


Industry-specific terms contained in the standard defined here, where applicable.

LGBTQ2: acronym to identify lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer and two-spirited persons.

Bisexuality: attraction to both male-identified and female-identified persons.

Biphobia: fear or hatred of bisexual persons or bisexuality.

Cisgender: a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.

Coming out: process of becoming aware of one’s sexual orientation and sharing with others.

Gay: person who is attracted to someone of same sex or gender.

Gender role: stereotypical expectations of an individual based on gender.

Gender identity: person’s sense of own gender, which need not correlate to assigned sex at birth.

Heterosexuality: attraction to persons of opposite sex.

Heterosexism: form of oppression that targets people who are gay, lesbian and bisexual.

Homosexuality: attraction to persons of same sex.

Homophobia: fear or hatred of homosexuals.

Lesbian: a female identified person who is attracted to female-identified persons.

Straight: term used to refer to a person who identifies as heterosexual.

Trans: term used to represent range of gender identities.

Transgender: umbrella term to identify a person who transcends traditional gender roles e.g., transsexuals, Two Spirit people.

Two Spirit: a modern umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Aboriginal people who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial role within their culture.

Information Sources and Resources for Consideration

Shepard, Blythe C. & Mani, Priya A. Eds. Career Development Practice in Canada. Toronto: CERIC Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-9811652-3-3.

Zunker, Vernon G. Career Counselling: A Holistic Approach 9th edition. Boston: Loose-leaf Edition, 2016. ISBN-10: 978-1-305-40106-8.

Context Rating Scales


Q: What is the consequence of a professional being unable to perform this skill according to the standard?

Moderate risk: CRITICAL


Q: How frequent and under what conditions is this skill performed?

Routinely, regular course of procedure

Level of Difficulty

Q: Under routine circumstances, how would you rate the level of difficulty in performing this skill?

Moderate difficulty or complexity

Time Required to Gain Proficiency

Q: What is the average length of time or number of repeated events that are minimally necessary for an individual to become proficient in performing the skill to the standard?

A competent career development professional requires a minimum of one year of experience with at least 40 different clients, representing a broad range of individuals, including LGBTQ2+ clients.


Practitioners typically perform this competency without supervision, and alone.


It is unlikely that this competency will automate.

Requisite Work Aids, Tools, Equipment or Materials


Career Development Professional Centre

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Thank you for being a part of the online CDPC social learning community. To ensure that all members have the best possible experience, we have a few ground rules that we ask everyone to adhere to. This code of conduct applies equally to every person in the community and is intended to foster an online space that is inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all. 

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