On National Coming Out Day, reflect on the challenges ahead

On the eve of National Coming Out Day, LGBTQ+ communities, their allies, and lawmakers working for equality face a host of challenges to the progress made over the past decade.

Northwestern Now spoke with University faculty experts about a series of efforts to protect marriage equality in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade, “don’t say gay” in school bills, monkey pox, trans healthcare and more.

With the recent Dobbs decision, what should we think of marriage equality?

“The recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization suggests that conservative Supreme Court justices have the power to take away recognized rights that we all assume are here to stay,” said Héctor Carillo, professor of sociology and gender and sexuality studies. . “He made it clear that progressive social movements related to sexuality can never let their guard down despite their achievements.”

“There is enough room in this society for everyone to pursue their own understanding of what makes a good life,” said law professor Andrew Koppelman. “The Respect for Marriage Act and the Fairness for All Act would both be steps in the right direction.”

What is the benefit of an education that celebrates queer people?

“Books that tell stories of LGBTQ people or offer advice on coming out can be a lifeline for young LGBTQ people seeking to understand their sexuality, gender or place in the world. Depriving young people of these stories will only make them feel isolated and invisible,” said clinical psychologist Brian Mustanski.

“For children and teens who are not LGBTQ, exposure to LGBTQ-inclusive education is also important, as it can be a powerful way to challenge stigma and promote a broader worldview,” said Kathryn Macapagal, also a clinical psychologist.

How have trans healthcare norms changed in 2022?

“The World Professional Association for Transgender Health still has work to do to ensure that its standards of care are representative of the needs and experiences of all non-cisgender people,” said alithia zamantakis, postdoctoral researcher and community activist for queer/trans intersectional justice. . “Future iterations of standards of care need to include more actors per committee, greater representation of transgender experts and actors of color.”

> Related: Prioritizing Your Safety and Well-Being When Coming Out

How can identities intersect when someone comes out?

“A lot of people go through a phase — I would include myself — where it’s hard to reconcile spirituality and sexuality,” said E. Patrick Johnson, dean of the School of Communication. “It’s a long process for a lot of people. And for some, it’s an ongoing process. The black church, in particular, established one of the original “don’t ask, don’t tell” scenarios for queer people in congregations. It is not uncommon to have people in the church who are still struggling even though they are leading the choir or in the pulpit.

How has the public health response played into the challenges caused by monkeypox?

“The monkeypox outbreak is particularly troubling as it was not a new infection. Being endemic in Africa for many decades, there is a vaccine and a treatment,” said Dr Rob Murphy. “It is clear that there is something terribly wrong with our public health approach to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. In this environment, it is imperative that all stakeholders push as hard as possible for access to diagnosis, care and treatment.

What are some of the factors that have led to reduced HIV transmission and better outcomes for black sexual minority men?

“The strengths and resiliencies of black sexual minority men who are able to remain HIV-negative stem from how they learned, as boys and young black men, to survive in an anti-black, gender-based world” The Talk , ‘a cultural transmission of methods for ‘not getting killed’ while ‘being Black’ and is at the intersection of their racial and sexual identities as sexual minority Black men,” said Jagadīśa-devasrī Dacus, research assistant professor and social worker.

The experts participating in this Q&A session represent a wide range of Northwest perspectives and fields of study.

Héctor Carrillo is Professor of Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and has affiliations with Latino/a Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Science and Human Culture, the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and the Institute for Sexual and Sexual Minority Health and Welfare (ISGMH).

Andrew Koppelman is John Paul Stevens Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and Professor of Political Science.

Brian Mustanski is a clinical psychologist, director of ISGMH and professor of medical social sciences, infectious diseases, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences, and co-director of the NIH-funded Third Coast Center for AIDS Research.

Kathryn Macapagal is a clinical psychologist, associate professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and associate director of the Center for Translational Health Research and Interventions Advancing Equity for Sexual and Gender Minorities at ISGMH.

alithia zamantakis is a postdoctoral researcher at ISGMH who conducts qualitative research and is a community activist for queer/trans intersectional justice.

E. Patrick Johnson is Dean of the School of Communication and Professor of Annenberg University at Northwestern.

Robert Murphy is Executive Director of the Havey Institute for Global Health, Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, and John Phair Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Feinberg School of Medicine.

Jagadīśa-devasrī Dacus is Associate Director of ISGMH, Assistant Research Professor and Social Worker.

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