Why Dr. Parsons Became Involved
Jeffrey T. Parsons, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Public Health
I came out between my sophomore and junior years of college, and was one of the first openly gay university students at my undergraduate institution, and served as the founder of the school's first Gay Student Support Group. We had to keep our meeting location secret, and students had to go through an intake appointment with a gay-affirmative member of the University's Counseling Center in order to be told of the location, because some of the members of the school's athletic teams wanted to find the group and intimidate members. This was 1987 - and it was, thankfully, a very different experience than students find at Hunter College.
Early in my career, I made a conscious decision to never be closeted. I was very lucky - my first Provost at my first academic job was a gay man and incredibly supportive. My research quickly turned to focus on the health of LGBT persons, particularly related to HIV/AIDS among gay and bisexual men. My research center, the Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST, www.chestnyc.org) has been a place for me to mentor the next generation of scholars focused on the psychological health of LGBT persons.
I have also become an advocate for family equality for LGBT persons. My partner of 23 years and I are raising our 6-year-old son conceived through surrogacy, without the benefit of legal marriage rights and other family rights that would be afforded to a heterosexual couple. I am actively involved with Family Equality Council and serve on the Board of Directors of Men Having Babies, an advocacy group devoted to helping gay men become fathers. I also conduct some research on gay dads and gay men who are interested in becoming fathers.
At my first academic institution, I developed and taught a course on the Psychology of Sexual Orientation. Since arriving at Hunter in 2000, I have integrated content and material on LGBT into all of my courses. In addition, through my research center, I have mentored dozens of LGBT students and allies committed to LGBT issues and concerns.
Research, Public Policy, and Creative Endeavors
My research focuses primarily on the mental and sexual health of gay and bisexual men - including such topic as gay male escorts, sexual compulsivity among gay men, and the prevention of substance use and sexual risk taking. Recently, however, my work has also included interventions to improve the lives of transgender women. My work has focused on young people, older people, and most recently on gay couples. My research has been the target of right-wing conservative factions, who despise the idea that federal research dollars are being devoted to improving the health of LGBT persons.
Parsons, J.T., Lelutiu-Weinberger, C., Botsko, M., & Golub, S.A. (in press). Predictors of day-level sexual risk for young gay and bisexual men. AIDS and Behavior. PMID: 22614745
Parsons, J.T., Rendina, H.J., Ventuneac, A., Cook, K.F., Grov, C., & Mustanski, B. (in press). A psychometric investigation of the Hypersexual Disorder Screening Inventory among highly sexually active gay and bisexual men: An item response theory analysis. Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Parsons, J.T., Starks, T.J., DuBois, S.N., Grov, C., & Golub, S.A. (2013). Alternatives to monogamy among gay male couples in a community survey: Implications for mental health and sexual risk. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42(2), 303-312. PMID: 22187028
Parsons, J.T., Starks, T.J., Gamarel, K.E., & Grov, C. (2012). Non-monogamy and sexual relationship quality among same-sex male couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 26(5), 669-677. PMID: 22906124
Parsons, J.T., Grov, C, & Golub, S.A. (2012). Sexual compulsivity, co-occurring psychosocial health problems, and HIV risk among gay and bisexual men: Further evidence of a syndemic. American Journal of Public Health, 102(1), 156-162. PMID: 22095358
Parsons, J.T., Kelly, B., Bimbi, D.S., DiMaria, L., Wainberg, M.L., & Morgenstern, J. (2008). Explanations for the origins of sexual compulsivity among gay and bisexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37(5), 817-826. PMID: 17882541
Parsons, J.T., Kelly, B.C., & Weiser, J. (2007). Initiation into methamphetamine use for young gay and bisexual men. PMID: 17398040
Parsons, J.T., Severino, J.P., Grov, C., Bimbi, D.S., & Morgenstern, J. (2007). Internet use among gay and bisexual men with compulsive sexual behavior. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 14(3), 239-256.
Parsons, J.T., Kelly, B.C., & Wells, B.E. (2006). Differences in club drug use between heterosexual and lesbian/bisexual women. Addictive Behaviors, 31(12), 2344-2349. PMID: 16632210
Parsons, J.T., Schrimshaw, E.W., Bimbi, D.S., Wolitski, R.J., Gomez, C.A., & Halkitis, P.N. (2005). Consistent, inconsistent, and non-disclosure to casual sexual partners among HIV-seropositive gay and bisexual men. AIDS, 19(S1), 87-98. PMID: 15838198