Last updated on: 7/19/2011 | Author:

Gilbert Herdt, PhD Biography

Executive Director of the National Centers on Sexuality at San Francisco State University
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Is Sexual Orientation Determined at Birth?"

“What the idea [of homosexuality] now connotes to many westerners goes beyond its original meaning, however: that homosexuality is a sexual orientation based on innate biological drives or agencies. Such a notion, already circulated in the growing popularity of the idea of a ‘gay brain,’ is entirely a matter of speculation, though one that has its attractions.”

Same Sex, Different Cultures: Exploring Gay and Lesbian Lives, 1997

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Executive Director, National Centers on Sexuality (Department of Sexuality Studies, National Sexuality Resource Center, Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality), San Francisco State University, 2008-present
  • Founding Editor, Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC (National Sexuality Resource Center), 2004-present
  • Founder and Executive Director, Institute on Sexuality, Inequality, and
    Health, San Francisco State University, 2000-present
  • Adjunct Professor, Program in Medical Anthropology and History of
    Science, University of California at San Francisco, 2000-present
  • Founder and Professor, Department of Sexuality Studies, San Francisco State University, 1998-present
  • General Editor, Worlds of Desire (book series on sexuality, culture, and health), University of Chicago Press, 1994-present
  • Founder and Director, National Sexuality Resource Center (NSRC), San Francisco State University, 2002-2010
  • Founder and Director, Summer Institute on Sexuality and Society, University of Amsterdam, 1995-2000
  • Co-Founder and President, International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Society and Culture, University of Amsterdam, 1996
  • Founder and General Editor, Studies in Melanesian Anthropology, University of California Press, 1984-1992
  • Former Professor and Chair, Committee on Human Development, University of Chicago
  • Associate Professor, Committee on Human Development, University of Chicago, 1985-1990
  • Co-Founder, Evelyn Hooker Center for Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, University of Chicago
  • Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University, 1979-1985
  • Pre-doctoral Fulbright Scholar, Department of Anthropology, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, 1974-1977
  • Post-doctoral Certificate, Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, 1979
  • PhD, Anthropology, Institute for Advanced Studies, Australian National University, 1978
  • MA, PhC (Doctoral Candidate), Anthropology, University of Washington, 1973
  • MA (Thesis), Medical Anthropology, California State University at Sacramento, 1972
  • BA (Honors), Anthropology, California State University at Sacramento, 1971
  • Founding faculty sponsor of the lesbian and gay students’ organization at Stanford University
  • Co-chair of the provost committee at the University of Chicago that created the first partner benefits policy for a US university
  • Founder, Center on Culture and Mental Health, University of Chicago
  • Founding Associate Editor, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 2002-2007
  • Recipient, William Simon Henry Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1997-1998
  • Recipient, Annual Award for Research, National Association for Men’s Studies, 1992
  • Recipient, Ruth Benedict Prize (for The Sambia: Ritual and Gender in New Guinea), 1988
  • Nominee, National Book Award (for Guardians of the Flutes, 1981)
  • Individual Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1977-1980
  • Fellow, American Anthropological Association
  • Fellow, International Academy of Sex Research
  • Fellow, Royal Anthropological Institute (UK)
  • Organized seven international conferences in sexuality, gender, HIV/AIDS, and sexual theory, including the first global conference on AIDS and anthropology
  • “Herdt’s work on the Sambia of Papua New Guinea was among the first major foundational works on sexual identity in the field of anthropology. He has published 33 books and edited scientific anthologies, monographs, and some 100 scientific peer reviewed journal articles, chapters, encyclopedia articles, and scholarly reports.”
    “Gilbert Herdt, PhD 2010,” (accessed July 14, 2011)
Quoted in:
  1. Is There an Age by Which People Realize Their Sexual Orientation?