February 5, 2014

As Sochi Olympics Begin, Experts Can Discuss Significance of Obama's Call for Gay Athletes to Lead Delegation

Psychologists offer insight on how openly LGBT members of U.S. delegation may reduce prejudice

What 

President Barack Obama’s choice of openly gay and lesbian athletes to represent the U.S. government at the Sochi Winter Olympics gives psychologists an opportunity to educate a global audience about how interaction between heterosexual and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people effectively reduces prejudice. Research has shown that individuals who get to know LGBT people are less likely to discriminate against them and more likely to support LGBT social and political equality. The following American Psychological Association staff and members are available to discuss the significance of gay and lesbian athletes leading the U.S. delegation in Sochi:   

Who

Clinton Anderson, PhD
Washington, D.C.
Email
Phone: (202) 336-6037

As APA associate executive director and director of the Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, Anderson leads education and advocacy to improve the health and well-being of LGBT people, increase scientific understanding of gender identity and sexual orientation, and reduce stigma, prejudice, discrimination and violence toward LGBT people.

Sharon Horne, PhD
Boston
Email 
Phone: (901) 230-0422
Website

Associate professor of counseling psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Horne studies the impact of prejudice and discrimination on LGBT people and how to build resilience. She has worked in the Soviet Union and post-communist countries since 1987 on human right issues, including LGBT mental health concerns and has conducted research on LGBT issues in Russia. 

Gregory Herek, PhD
Davis, Calif.  
Email
Website

Professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, Herek focuses his research on prejudice against lesbians and gay men, violence against gays and AIDS-related stigma.  

Ilan Meyer, PhD
Los Angeles
Email
Phone: (310) 825-9932
Website

Senior scholar for public policy at the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, Meyer specializes in how prejudice and discrimination create health disparities in the LGBT community. 

Background

For nearly 40 years, the APA has supported efforts to end discrimination against LGBT individuals, as reflected in the organization’s official policies and resolutions (PDF, 627KB). To assist in educating the Russian public, APA has translated its question-and-answer brochure (PDF, 205KB) about sexual orientation and homosexuality into Russian. 

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 134,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.