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Why Dr. Bidell Became Involved


Markus P. Bidell, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Counseling

I came out in high school, not easy during the early 1980's in the mid-west. The youth group meetings at a local LGBT community center became an important source of support as well as a place to become involved and engaged with the LGBT community. In 1984, I participated in a pre-med program at the National Institutes of Health. Here, I came face-to-face with the emerging AIDS epidemic. I didn't realize it at the time, but the epidemic was shaping my future occupational pursuit- and when I moved to San Francisco in 1989, I soon joined ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) as well as Queer Nation. We took our right to free speech and assembly literally through purposeful civil disobedience to effect policy changes. I also started providing support for people living with HIV/AIDS and began working as a research assistant at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at University of California, San Francisco. These experiences ultimately led me to graduate studies in counseling at Sonoma State University and combined applied psychology (Clinical/Counseling/School) at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

I am the 2014-2015 Regent's University Fulbright Scholar - engaged in a collaborative teaching program and joint research project that examines US/UK LGBT competency and training for mental health and healthcare providers. At Hunter College, my scholarship focuses on LGBT mental health disparities, specifically by exploring healthcare providers' LGBT cultural competency. In addition, I lecture and write about the intersections between LGBT mental health, psychology, and public policy.

Hunter is also where I met my husband. For both of us, it was our first day on the job and we ended up sitting next to each other at a luncheon. The rest, as they say, is history. But in this case, it really is history. I never dreamed marriage would be a legal option in my lifetime, yet we were part of the ten thousand plus (pre-Proposition 8) same-sex couples legally married in California. Prop 8 was the voter referendum that stopped same-sex marriages in California. The pre-Prop 8 marriages were at the center of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the historic U.S. Supreme Court case upholding the lower Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that "Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen [same-sex] status and human dignity ... and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior, [thereby] subject[ing] a minority group to the deprivation of an existing right without a legitimate reason [and that the] Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort".

Current Work


I have over a decade of experience as a counseling psychologist and educator training graduate level school, rehabilitation, career, community, and mental health counselors. My teaching spans applied, clinical, and content courses in counseling and psychology. I've also taught undergraduate classes and recently received a Presidential Curricular Innovation Grant to create an undergraduate interdisciplinary certificate in LGBT social science and public policy. It's very rewarding to work on educational programs for the next generation of LGBT community leaders, social scientists, healthcare practitioners, activists, educators, and policy makers.

Research, Public Policy, and Creative Endeavors

Addressing psychosocial disparities that negatively impact LGBT individuals represent the core foundation of my scholarship. Specifically, my research focuses on healthcare providers' LGBT affirmative competence and education to address LGBT mental health and psychosocial disparities. I created the Sexual Orientation Counselor Competency Scale (SOCCS; Bidell, 2005)-the first psychometrically valid and reliable instrument that assesses mental health providers' attitudinal awareness, skill, and knowledge regarding LGBT affirmative counseling. Since its publication, the SOCCS has gained widespread application as a primary outcome variable in peer reviewed and doctoral dissertation research. I continue to connect my social science research efforts to effect wider changes in public policy that advance social justice and human rights for LGBT people.

Peer Reviewed Publications

Bidell, M.P. (2014). Are multicultural courses addressing disparities? Exploring multicultural and affirmative lesbian, gay, and bisexual competencies of counseling and psychology students. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 42, 132-146. doi: 10.0000/j.0000-0000.2013.00000.

Bidell, M. P. (2014). Is there an emotional cost to completing high school? Ecological factors and psychological distress among LGBT homeless youth. Journal of Homosexuality, 61, 366-381. Advanced online doi: 10.1080/ 00918369.2013.842426

Bidell, M. P. (2014). Personal and Professional Discord: Examining Religious Conservatism and Lesbian-, Gay-, and Bisexual-Affirmative Counselor Competence. Journal of Counseling and Development, 92, 170-178. doi: 10.1002/j.1556-6676.2014.00145.x

Whitman, J. S. & Bidell, M. P. (2014). Affirmative Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Counselor Education and Religious Beliefs: How Do We Bridge the Gap? Journal of Counseling and Development, 92, 162-169. doi: 10.1002/j.1556-6676.2014.00144.x

Bidell, M. P. (2013). Addressing disparities: The impact of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender graduate counselling course. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 13, 300-307. doi: 10.1080/14733145.2012. 741139

Bidell, M. P. & Whitman, J. S. (2013). A review of lesbian, gay, and bisexual affirmative counseling assessments. Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, 4, 112-126. doi: 10.1177/2150137 81349642

Bidell, M. P. (in press). Changing school culture through gay-straight alliances. In A. Wilson & V. Bloomfield (Eds.), Voices of LGBTQ students and teachers: Changing the culture of schooling. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

Bidell, M. P. (2013). Ecological factors and psychological distress among LGBT homeless youth [Abstract]. Psychology, Community & Health, 2, p. 97. doi:10.5964/pch.v2i2.70. Research paper presented at the 1st International Conference on LGBT Psychology and Related Fields, Lisbon, Portugal.

Bidell, M. P. & Whitman, J. S. (2013). A complex intersection in psychology training: Students with conservative religious beliefs and LGBT affirmative education [Abstract]. Psychology, Community & Health, 2, p. 250. doi:10.5964/pch.v2i2.73. Workshop given at the 1st International Conference on LGBT Psychology and Related Fields, Lisbon, Portugal.

Bidell, M. P. (2013). Sexual Orientation Counselor Competency Scale. [Database record, Originally published in 2005]. Retrieved from American Psychological Association -PsycTESTS. doi: 10.1037/t07178-000

Bidell, M. P. (2012). The nexus of ecological factors and psychological distress among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender homeless youth. The Cultural Spotlight: New York State Psychological Association, Division of Culture, Race & Ethnicity, 1(2), 17 - 21.

Bidell, M. P. (2012). Examining school counseling students' multicultural and sexual orientation competencies through a cross-specialization comparison. Journal of Counseling and Development, 90, 200 - 207. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-6676.2012.00025.x

Bidell, M. P. & Garfield, A. R. (2012). Networking in New York State schools: Supporting gay-straight alliances. New York State School Counseling Journal, 9(1), 27 - 34.

Bidell, M. P. (2012). Appendix D: The Sexual Orientation Counselor Competency Scale. In K. Alderson, Counseling LGBTI Clients (pp. 253 - 258). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Bidell, M. P. (2011). School counselors and social justice advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students. Journal of School Counseling, 9(10), 1 - 22. Retrieved from articles/v9n10.pdf

Bidell, M. P. (2011). Gay-straight alliances and school counselors: Social justice advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. New York State School Counseling Journal, 8 (1), 9 - 15.

Bidell, M. P. (2010). Can nature heal? The impact of adventure based counseling for gay/bisexual men living with HIV/AIDS. Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, 1, 68 - 79. doi: 10.1177/2150137810367801

Bidell, M. P., & Deacon, R. E. (2010). School counselors connecting the dots between disruptive classroom behavior and youth self-concept. Journal of School Counseling, 8(9), p. 1 - 30. Retrieved from

Bidell, M. P., Ragen, J. K., Broach, C. & Carillo, E. (2007). First impressions: A multicultural content analysis of professional psychology program Web sites. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 1, 204 - 214. doi: 10.1037/1931-3918.1.3.204

Bidell, M. P. (2005). The Sexual Orientation Counselor Competency Scale: Assessing attitudes, skills, and knowledge of counselors working with Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual clients. Counselor Education and Supervision, 44, 267-279. doi 10.1002/j.1556-6978.2005. tb01755.x

Bidell, M. P., Turner, J. A., & Casas, J. M. (2002). First impressions count: Ethnic/Racial and Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual content of professional psychology application materials. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33, 97-103. doi: 10.1037/0735-7028.33.1.97

Bidell, M. P., Furlong, M. J., Dunn, D. M., & Koegler, J. E. (2000). A case study of attempts to enact self-service tobacco display ordinances: A tale of three communities. Tobacco Control, 9, 71 - 77. doi:10.1136/tc.9.1.71

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