Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus

Biographical Sketch

Research & Publications


Media Portrayals

Blog  [non-UCD website]     

Social Psychology Network page   [non-UCD website]

Other Links


Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus
Department of Psychology

University of California, Davis
Research and Policy website
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Note: Professor Herek retired from UC Davis in 2016 and is now an emeritus member of the faculty. He is no longer teaching, advising, or supervising undergraduates, graduate students, or post-docs.
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Professor Herek is an internationally recognized authority on prejudice against sexual minorities, anti-gay violence, and AIDS-related stigma. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from UC Davis in 1983, then was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. He subsequently served as a faculty member at Yale and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York before returning to UCD, first as a research psychologist and later as a tenured professor.

He has been a pioneer in the scientific study of heterosexuals' prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, as well as the effects of that prejudice on its targets. His published papers number more than 100, and include:

His work has been highly influential and widely cited. According to Google Scholar, 53 of his papers have been cited more than 200 times, and 24 have been cited more than 500 times. A 2010 study of the cumulative impact of North American social/personality psychologists' published work (taking career stage into account) ranked him in the top 5%.

Professor Herek has served on the editorial board of numerous academic journals, including Basic and Applied Social Psychology, The Journal of Social Issues, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, The Journal of LGBT Health. The Journal of Sex Research, and The Journal of Homosexuality.

Professor Herek is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS). He is the recipient of the 2006 Kurt Lewin Memorial Award for "outstanding contributions to the development and integration of psychological research and social action," presented by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (APA Division 9). In 1996, he received the APA Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest. In 1992, he received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the APA Committee on Lesbian and Gay Concerns. He is the only person to have been honored twice with APA Division 44's annual award for "Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Lesbian and Gay Psychology," having received it in 1989 and again in 1999. In 2010, he received the Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award from the UC Davis Academic Senate, and the Distinguished Humanitarian Contribution Award from the California Psychological Association.

Professor Herek is a past chairperson of the APA Committee on Lesbian and Gay Concerns and has also served on the APA Task Force on Avoiding Heterosexist Bias in Research and the APA Task Force on AIDS. He worked closely with the late Evelyn Hooker to organize the Wayne F. Placek Award, administered by the American Psychological Foundation with a bequest left to Dr. Hooker. He served as chairperson of the Scientific Review Committee for the Placek Award from 1995 to 2007, during which time more than $1.4 million in direct support and matching funds were given to scientists conducting research on sexual minority issues.

Professor Herek was a member of the NAS Institute of Medicine's Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities, and coauthored that panel's 2011 consensus report, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding.

Professor Herek has also contributed his professional expertise to policy work involving lesbian and gay concerns and AIDS issues. In 2011, he provided invited oral and written testimony for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' hearings on Federal Enforcement of Civil Rights Laws to Protect Students Against Bullying, Violence and Harassment. In 1997, he was an invited participant at President Clinton's White House Conference on Hate Crimes. In 1993, he testified on behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Psychiatric Association, and four other national professional associations for the House Armed Services Committee's hearings on gays and the U.S. military. In 1986, he testified on behalf of the APA for the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee's hearings on antigay violence. He also has assisted the APA in preparing amicus briefs in more than 30 major court cases, including cases that challenged the constitutionality of:

In addition, he has served as a consultant or expert witness for numerous court cases and administrative proceedings involving the civil rights of lesbians and gay men and people with AIDS. Recent examples include Perry v. Schwarzenegger, challenging the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, and Massachusetts v. US Dept. of Health and Human Services, challenging the constitutionality of some provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The transcript of Prof. Herek's courtroom testimony in the Prop. 8 trial (which lasted approximately 7 hours) can be downloaded in PDF format. In all, he has contributed his expertise in more than 60 court cases and administrative proceedings involving sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS.

The Journal of Homosexuality has published a special issue devoted to papers that build on Dr. Herek's theoretical and empirical work. The Introduction, Beyond Compare: The Extraordinary Career of Gregory Herek, written by special issue editor Prof. Dominic Parrott, is available online as are several other articles from the issue.

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Research and Publications

Professor Herek's original empirical research has addressed sexual prejudice and stigma and HIV/AIDS-related stigma in the US population, and the mental health consequences of hate crimes and other expressions of stigma targeting lesbians and gay men. His current research program focuses mainly on issues of prejudice and stigma, especially as they apply to sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS.

A bibliography of his published papers and chapters is available online. For many papers, links are provided to abstracts, downloadable preprints, and links for requesting reprints by e-mail. Links to many of the preprints, as well as other information relevant to researchers, can also be found on the Professional Library page.

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Media Portrayals

In a video reenactment of the Proposition 8 trial, Prof. Herek was portrayed by Scott Lowell [below, left], whose acting credits include "Queer As Folk." The video can be viewed on YouTube.


Portions of the Prop. 8 trial and related events are portrayed in "8" – a play written by Academy Award winning writer Dustin Lance Black. In its September (2011) world premiere as a staged reading on Broadway, Prof. Herek's role was played by K. Todd Freeman [above, center]. In its March (2012) West Coast premiere, Prof. Herek's role was played by Rory O'Malley [above, right].


          Michael RJ Campbell

Locally, Skylar Collins [above left] played Prof. Herek's role in the UC Davis production of "8" and Michael RJ Campbell [above right] performed the role in the Sacramento production.



In other productions of "8," Prof. Herek's role has been played by


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Other Links

Professor Herek's research and policy page
Professor Herek's bibliography (with selected abstracts)
Preprints of papers available for downloading
Scales and questionnaires
Sexual Prejudice
Hate Crimes
AIDS and Stigma
Beyond Homophobia, Professor Herek's blog
[not on the UCD website]

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