Professor Herek received his Ph.D. in social psychology from UC Davis in 1983, then was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. He subsequently served as a faculty member at Yale and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York before returning to UCD, first as a research psychologist and later as a tenured professor.
An internationally recognized authority on prejudice against lesbians and gay men, anti-gay violence, and AIDS-related stigma, Professor Herek has published numerous scholarly articles on these topics. His edited and coedited volumes include:
A special issue of the American Behavioral Scientist on "AIDS and Stigma" (1999).
Professor Herek also serves as consulting editor for several academic journals, including Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, Psychology of Men and Masculinity, Journal of Sex Research, and the Journal of Homosexuality.
Professor Herek is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS). He is the recipient of 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 Early Career 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. He 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.
Prof. Herek 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 worked closely with the late Evelyn Hooker to organize the Wayne F. Placek Award, administered by the American Psychological Foundation with a bequest left to Dr. Hooker. He served as chairperson of the Scientific Review Committee for the 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 has also contributed his professional expertise to policy work involving lesbian and gay concerns and AIDS issues. 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 House Armed Services Committee's hearings on gays and the U.S. 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 numerous court cases, including cases that challenged the constitutionality of:
State sodomy laws (Lawrence v. Texas and Bowers v. Hardwick, U.S. Supreme Court)
Military policies excluding lesbians and gay men (Watkins v. U.S. Army, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals)
State antigay ballot propositions (Romer v Evans, U.S. Supreme Court)
Antigay discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America (Boy Scouts v. Dale, US Supreme Court)
Laws restricting legal recognition of same-sex relationships (e.g., In re Marriage Cases, California Supreme Court; Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, Connecticut Supreme Court; Lewis v. Harris, New Jersey Superior Court).
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.