Seminar: LGBTQ Youth Health: (Why) Aren’t Things Better?

Stephen Russell, Ph.D., Department Chair and Professor of Human Development and Family Science; Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor in Child Development, University of Texas at Austin

  • Tuesday February 26, 2019 from 12:00 pm–1:00 pm
  • Bennett Pierce Living Center -- 110 Henderson Building

Access the video of this PRC seminar led by Stephen Russell, Ph.D.

Few societal attitudes and opinions have changed as quickly as those regarding sexual minority people and rights. In the context of dramatic social change in the space of a single generation, there have been multiple policy changes toward social inclusion and rights for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people. As a result, there is a common belief that the sociocultural context for LGB people – perhaps particularly for youth – has improved. That is: Aren’t things better? Yet recent evidence from the developmental sciences points to paradoxical findings: in many cases, health disparities are getting worse. But why? In light of swift sociocultural changes, combined with emergent findings regarding the health and wellbeing of sexual minority youth, we suggest that there is a developmental collision between normative adolescent developmental processes and sexual minority youth identities and visibility. The result is a new reality for sexual minority youth, health, and disparities.

About the Speaker: Dr. Stephen Russell studies adolescent development, with an emphasis on adolescent sexuality, LGBT youth, and parent-adolescent relationships. Much of his research is guided by a commitment to create social change to support healthy adolescent development. He is most proud of his research that has been used to shape local and state policies and laws for school safety, and his most rewarding work is with trainees: he works with an amazing group of postdoctoral scholars, graduate and undergraduate students, and finds supporting their development and learning from them to be the most satisfying part of his job.

Dr. Russell has been involved in community and professional organizations throughout his career, including as Human Relations Commissioner in several cities (Durham, NC; Davis, CA; Tucson, AZ), and currently as chair of the Board of Directors of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). He has been an elected board member of the National Council on Family Relations (2005-2008), and is Past-President of the Society for Research on Adolescence.

For more information on Dr. Russell, click here.