Gregory Herek

Gregory Herek Portrait

Position Title
Professor Emeritus



  • Ph.D., Social Psychology, UC Davis, 1983


Professor Herek is an internationally recognized authority on prejudice against sexual minorities, anti-gay violence and AIDS-related stigma. 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. In the policy arena, he has contributed extensively to amicus briefs filed by the American Psychological Association (APA) and other professional groups in court cases concerning marriage equality for same-sex couples, sodomy laws, military personnel policy, and other issues. In addition, he has served as a consultant and expert witness for numerous legal cases involving the civil rights of lesbians and gay men and people with AIDS.

Professor Herek is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science. He 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 served as chairperson of the Scientific Review Committee for the American Psychological Foundation’s Wayne F. 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 gave 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 U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hearings on Policy Implications of Lifting the Ban on Homosexuals in the 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.

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

Research Focus

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



  • Herek, G. M., & Berrill, K. (Eds.) (1992). Hate Crimes. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. [Named an Outstanding Academic Book of 1992 by Choice Magazine, American Library Association; recipient of a 1993 Myers center Award for the Study of Human Rights in the United States.]
  • Herek, G. M., Jobe, J. B., & Carney, R. (1996). Out in Force: Sexual Orientation and the Military, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Herek, G. M. (1998). Stigma and Sexual Orientation: Understanding Prejudice Against Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Herek, G. M. (2011). Anti-equality marriage amendments and sexual stigma. Journal of Social Issues, 61, 413-426.
  • Herek, G. M., Norton, A.T., Allen, T.J., & Sims, C. L. (2010). Demographic, psychological, and social characteristics of self-identified lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in a U.S. probability sample. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 7, 176-200.


Professor Herek teaches courses in Sexual Orientation and Prejudice, Field Work in Psychology, and Survey and Questionnaire Research Methods.


In 2010, Professor Herek received the Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award from the UC Davis Academic Senate and the Distinguished Humanitarian Contribution Award from the California Psychological Association. He received 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 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. Professor Herek 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.