Ruth Hall, a professor of psychology at the College, received the award for Distinguished Contribution to Ethnic Minority Issues for 2011. This award is given by the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (Division 44 of the American Psychological Association).
Hall won the award for the extensive research she has done that integrates issues that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and people of color face. Recently, she has been studying the consequences of homophobia.
“Gay-bashing is very common—people aren’t treated equally,” Hall said. She cites this unequal treatment as a reason why LGBT people have the highest teen suicide rate.
“People grow up having negative feelings about themselves, and since a lot of adults aren’t out, young people don’t have role models.”
Hall began studying minority LGBT issues about 25 years ago, in part because of personal experience. “As a lesbian black woman, my own experiences and the experiences of many of my friends were catalysts for me going into this research,” said Hall.
“There’s not a lot of visibility about issues regarding LGBT people, women and colored people,” Hall added. “I became an academic to teach students about these issues and write about them.”
Hall is currently writing an article about African-American women and their perceptions of being African American, taking LGBT issues into account.