Gil Herdt

Gil Herdt

Professor and Chair
Human Sexuality

Gilbert Herdt has an international profile and distinction that spans the United States, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and Western Europe through more than thirty years' research, teaching, policy and clinical studies. Herdt is a graduate of Sacramento State College, the University of Washington, the Australian National University, and UCLA. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Australia (1974-78), an individual NIMH Scholar at UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute, and has been the recipient of Guggenheim, NEH, and Rockefeller Foundation fellowships. He has taught at Stanford University, University of Chicago, and San Francisco State University (SFSU). He has held major grants from the NIMH, Spencer Foundation, Ford Foundation, and others.

Herdt founded the Department of Sexuality Studies and the Master of Arts in Human Sexuality Studies at SFSU, the first in the nation. He is the founder of the University of Amsterdam Summer Institute on Sexuality and Culture and SFSU's Summer Institute on Sexuality, Health and Society (2001-2010). His publications include thirty-five books, monographs, and anthologies, and more than one hundred scientific papers. Herdt continues to conduct fieldwork among the Sambia and is a champion of sexual literacy and human rights in Pacific Island countries.

 

Sexual Literacy and Its Impacts on Policy and Human Rights

Research on sexual orientation and changing attitudes toward marriage rights in the United States reveals how changing sexual and gender socialization and changes in attitudes and beliefs regarding homosexuality have helped life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth over the past two decades. This workshop begins by tracing the cultural history and environment of policies, court decisions, and political maneuvers in response to the question of "same-sex" marriage. It considers the generational barrier between older and younger gay and lesbian individuals, and community formation that occurred since 1990 in the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Then we will examine fluctuations of public opinion polling from 1989 to 2009. In the bulk of the workshop we will focus on emerging, positive research on the resiliency, strength, and future aspirations of LGBTQ youth. Such research was begun in the late 1980s with a significant community-based, ethnographic study on LGBTQ youth in Chicago (Herdt and Boxer, 1993). Recent studies have gone further in challenging the very premise that LGBTQ youth are challenged as previously believed (Savin-Williams, 2005). The workshop considers how these issues may actually represent how the culture and community and media representations of LGBTQ youth have changed to present more positive traits in response to a deficiency model used in most psychological research on LGBTQ youth. The workshop will also consider how to engage with policy studies and advocates through such research.