Texas Tech University

Making an Impact: Promoting Positive and Inclusive Conversations for LGBTQIA Community

Ashley Brister

June 26, 2020


A graduate student’s role in expanding diverse sexuality and gender-related research at Texas Tech

Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Matthew M. Rivas-Koehl, said that he began having conversations with Dana Weiser, Ph.D. about research on human sexuality. Those conversations sparked his own pursuit of research on the topic.

Matthew Koehl-Rivas"As a queer graduate student, I can vouch for Dr. Weiser's dedication to inclusive teaching and research across the board, especially when it comes to LGBTQIA identities," Matthew said. "She intentionally incorporated teaching about LGBTQIA identities as part of the curriculum rather than having a separate section or chapter where these identities were covered, then not mentioned throughout the rest of the course material. She explained the importance of doing this as a means of normalizing development across all people and not falling trap to thinking about LGBTQIA folks as an 'other' or outside group."

Under the guidance of Amelia E. Talley, Ph.D. in the Department of Psychological Sciences and Human Development and Family Studies' Dr. Weiser, Matthew created and launched his campus climate survey to examine the attitudes of and towards the LGBTQIA community on campus.

His findings were presented at multiple campus, regional, and national conferences with four journal publications in the works.

"My current work as Dr. Weiser's graduate student focuses primarily on promoting sexual health in LGBTQIA communities across multiple domains. Because we know that this group of people has been historically stigmatized because of their sexuality, the goal of my research is to help not only provide insight into some of the physical and psychological aspects of sexuality that are distinct to this population, but also to promote positive and inclusive conversations about LGBTQIA sexuality in communities and in the scientific literature."