Gil Herdt Gil Herdt

Founding Director
Human Sexuality
School of Consciousness and Transformation

PhD, Australian National University, Institute for Advanced Studies; MA, University of Washington at Seattle

MA, BA, California State University, Sacramento

Gilbert Herdt, PhD, is distinguished professor (adjunct) and the founding director of the Human Sexuality PhD program.

Herdt is a cultural and clinical anthropologist whose work began with long-term field study of the Sambia people of Papua New Guinea, and then extended to the United States, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and Western Europe through more than thirty years' research, teaching, policy and clinical studies. A distinguished graduate of Sacramento State University, Herdt received graduate training at the University of Washington, the Australian National University, and postgraduate training at the Neurospychiatric Institute, UCLA. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Australia (1974-78), an individual NIMH Scholar in the Psychiatry Department at UCLA (1978-80), and he has received long term and major funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Ford Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation, as well as individual scholarships from Guggenheim, NEH, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Herdt taught on the faculties of the Stanford University (1979-85), the University of Chicago (1985-98), and San Francisco State University (1998-2017), where he founded the Department of Sexuality Studies, the Master of Arts in Human Sexuality Studies, and the National Sexuality Resource Center, from which he retired as Emeritus Professor. He is the founder of the University of Amsterdam Summer Institute on Sexuality and Culture (1996-2000) 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 is general editor of a new series of scholarly book, Anthem Studies in Sexuality, Gender and Culture. He is at work on his magnum opus, The Singers Are Gone, a study of how sexual culture changed in Papua New Guinea over three generations.

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.

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