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HomePlenary Sessions 2021

PLENARY PANEL
Thursday, November 18th at 5:15pm - Preciosa Ballroom
Sex Research in Puerto Rico
Presenters:

 Caleb Esteban, PhD
Assistant Professor, Ponce Health Sciences University


Caleb Esteban, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at Ponce Health Sciences University, Ponce, Puerto Rico. Dr. Esteban completed his bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. He obtained their master's and a doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the Albizu University, San Juan Campus. He also completed a Postdoctoral Research Faculty Development Program in Human Intersexuality in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus. Dr. Esteban co-founded and served as president for two years of the student organization, GSDO (Gender and Sexual Diversity Organization) of the Albizu University. He was awarded the LGBT Thesis/Dissertation Scholarship given by the Sex, Gender and Sexual Orientation Diversity Committee of the Puerto Rico Psychology Association, for their doctoral dissertation titled: Masculinity: Quality of life and Psychosocial Wellbeing of Gay and Bisexual Men in Latin America. Dr. Esteban has been an active member of mentioned committee since 2009 and has acted as Committee Coordinator since 2017. He obtained a certification in Affirmative Psychotherapy with the LGBT Population from the American Association of Marriage and Couple Therapy and a professional certification in Sexual Therapy from Albizu University. Dr. Esteban’s areas of interest are primarily the LGBTAQI+ community, exploring topics such as gender and sexuality, quality of life and well-being, biopsychosocial health disparities, and affirmative spaces. Dr. Esteban interests also include the construction, translation, adaptation and/or validation of psychology instruments to measure the attitudes, knowledge, and social distance towards the LGBTAQI+ community. Dr. Esteban received the Committee of the Year Award in 2018 for the Sex, Gender and Sexual Orientation Diversity Committee that he coordinates, and the Academic Psychologist of the Year Award in 2019 in the Puerto Rico Psychological Association Convention.


Edda I. Santiago-Rodríguez, DrPH, MPH, MA
Adjunct Professor, University of Puerto Rico


Dr. Edda I. Santiago-Rodríguez is a Public Health Practitioner and a Social-Community Psychologist interested in understanding the way social determinants of health influence people’s health and wellbeing. She possess a doctoral degree in Public Health with specialty in Social Determinants of Health from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus and postdoctoral education in HIV prevention research from the Center of AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) at the University of California, San Francisco.  She has worked for the Puerto Rico Department of Health as Director for the End the HIV Epidemic Initiative and the HIV/STD Prevention Division. Currently, she is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus-School of Public Health where she leads a CDC funded grant aiming to develop a policy intervention to increase PrEP Uptake among sexual minority men in Puerto Rico. For the past 10 years, she has worked with vulnerable populations and communities in Puerto Rico and the United States. She has focused on a series of HIV-related projects working to examine intersectional stigma, housing instability, and psychosocial factors affecting Latino people living with HIV and their HIV care and treatment outcomes. She has blended her academic training and research experience in public health, social-community psychology, and HIV research, and leveraged her skills and insights in conducting qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research. Her long term research plan is to focus on understanding and eliminating the health inequities that influence the health of frequently marginalized populations, specifically the Latino communities in the United States and Puerto Rico. 


José Joaquín Mulinelli-Rodriguez
Executive Director, Coaí, Inc. 


My work in the HIV field started as a volunteer of the AIDS Foundation of Puerto Rico back to 1989. On 1995 I was appointed member of the PR DoH – CPG as of today working in diverse committees such as Executive, Finance, and Membership, among others. Also, on 1995, became community advisory board of the ACTU (Aids Clinical Trial Unit) at the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of PR. On April of 1996 I started in Coaí, Inc., a CBO, as a Program Coordinator of “En Rosa”, a MSM / TG Aids Servic
e program.  Then, in 1998 I became Program Director and in 2003 as of today I am the Executive Director for this CBO with PR DoH, CDC, HRSA, and SAMHSA funds.Between March 2002 and July 2005 I became part of the Board of Directors for the Family Planning Association of PR (April 2004 - July 2005 - Vice-President of the Board of Directors)From November 2007 to July 2015 I was a council member and President (November 2014 - July 2015) for the RW HRSA EMA of San Juan Planning Council appointed by the last two Mayors of San Juan as member; Jorge Santini-Padilla, and Carmen “Yulín” Cruz-Soto (also as President).  In this Planning Council I was also member of the Finance, and webpage Committee/ I have been part of the Rainbow Pride Coalition since the beginning in 1991, a lgbt group that is in charge of the PR LGBT Pride Parade for the last 31 years.  I’m also an openly gay married man.  Also I'm a gay activist in the LGBTTQQI communities in PR and had wrtitten articles for lgbt newspaper, participated in lgbt radio program "Saliendo del Closet", internet lgbt program "Retoxidos", and for massive circulation newspaper in PR discussiing topics on Aids and Covid-19.  In the USA, I became a member of the Pictorial Review Panel for PROCEED in New Jersey (1997), and also a member of APLA (Aids Project Los Angeles) – Shared Action CAB from 2010 until 2017, ViiV Healthcare Latino MSM Advisory Board (since April 2018). During the last 21 years I have been collaborating closely with the PR DoH in elaborating the Puerto Rico Enhanced Comprehensive HIV Prevention Plan, later known as Puerto Rico Prevention, Treatment & Surveillance Comprehensive HIV Plan.  Also in collaboration with the PR DoH Aids Surveillance Office we have been working on the NHBS-MSM, IDU & HET since 2004 as of today.

Carlos E. Rodríguez-Díaz, PhD, MPHE, MCHES

Associate Professor, George Washington University


Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Diaz is an Associate Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Prevention and Community Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health in George Washington University. He is also the President-Elect of The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Dr. Rodriguez-Diaz is a community health scientist with over fifteen years of experience practicing public health and conducting action research in Puerto Rico, the United States of America, and the Caribbean Region. His work has focused on sexual health, LGBT health, infectious diseases, particularly HIV care and prevention, and health equity through actions on the social determinants of health. 
Dr. Rodriguez-Diaz is currently studying health and racial disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has led several programs and research projects addressing health inequities among populations made socially vulnerable including people with HIV, Hispanic/Latinxs, incarcerated populations, and sexual and gender minority groups. Dr. Rodriguez-Diaz’ research and scholarship has led to coverage in well-known national and international media sources such as the Washington PostThe HillThe GuardianEl Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico), El Mercurio (Chile), and Folha de S.Paulo (Brazil), as well as in major research publications and conferences. Rodriguez-Diaz completed post-doctoral training in HIV and Global Health Research, a Ph.D. in Public Health with a major in Community Health, and an MPH in Health Education. He has also completed post-graduate training in health policy, human rights, and health diplomacy.   



Accordion Widget
Abstract
Abstract
While research to understand and address sexuality-related issues is broadly conducted in multiple settings, cultures, and populations, some contexts are understudied. There is limited evidence of sex research conducted in Puerto Rico. Most of the sexuality research conducted in Puerto Rico has been implemented in the last two decades. It heavily focuses on sexually transmitted infections and the experiences of sexual and gender minority populations. Further, there is limited evidence of how research findings have translated to interventions or programs to create conditions for enjoying the multiple aspects of sexuality in Puerto Rico. During this plenary, the presenters will discuss the history of sex research in Puerto Rico and the challenges to conducting sexuality research with different populations. Similarly, they will discuss the current research been undertaken to improve the sexual health of those disproportionally affected by the HIV epidemic and sexual and gender minorities. These research experiences and findings will be contextualized for the development, implementation, and evaluation interventions with different Puerto Rico populations.

 

Accordion Widget
Learning Objectives
Learning Objectives
To discuss the experience of scientists conducting sex research in Puerto Rico.
To analyze the implications of sex research conducted in Puerto Rico for the sexual health promotion of socially vulnerable populations.


PLENARY SPEAKER
Friday, November 19th at 9:00am - Preciosa Ballroom

#HotGirlScience and Hip Hop Hypotheses: A Dialectic Between Sex Science and Black Culture
Presenter:

Candice Hargons, PhD
Associate Professor, University of Kentucky

Dr. Candice Nicole Hargons is an award-winning associate professor of counseling psychology at the University of Kentucky, where she studies sexual wellness and healing racial trauma – all with a love ethic. Dr. Hargons is the creator of the Ally+ Accomplice Meditation for Cultivating an Anti-Racist Mindset and the Black Lives Matter Meditation for Healing Racial Trauma, which has been featured in the Huffington Post and Blavity and used by universities and private practices across the US. Additionally, Dr. Hargons is the founder of the Center for Healing Racial Trauma. Her sex and relationships expertise has been featured in the New York Times and the podcast Science Vs. She is dedicated to forwarding sex positive, anti-racist narratives of Black people in research and community projects.


Accordion Widget
Abstract
Abstract
#HotGirlScience emerged from the synthesis of hip hop feminist frameworks of pleasure (Morgan, 2015) and Jennings’ (2020) assertion that hot girl summer is an epistemology. Through this paradigm of science, sexologists studying Black people are encouraged to digest critical sexuality studies to reduce ignorance (Bowleg et al., 2017), but move beyond them toward sex positive, liberation-focused inquiry (Hargons et al., 2020), where pleasure is central. Hip hop scripts inform Black sexualities (Coleman et al., 2016; Ross & Coleman, 2011); thus, this talk examines the premises forwarded by popular hip hop artists, with an intentional focus on Black women artists. By centering the lived experiences and premises that are resoundingly popular among Black people across a range of social locations, sex science goes beyond deficit-models and critical examination of the marginalization faced by Black people to realization of the liberatory potential of Black music and scholarship. As a sex positive, participatory action research project, the Big Sex Study collected data from 448 Black people throughout the USA, representing diverse ethnicities, sexual identities, ages, genders, and socioeconomic statuses. We present data responding to three hypotheses drawn from the work of Cardi B, City Girls, and Megan thee Stallion: 1) “I ain’t lying bout my nut, just to make a ***** happy”; 2) “Broke boys don’t deserve no pussy”; and 3) “It didn’t happen if the dick wasn’t snappin’”. Contextualizing these findings, I articulate Black experiences of publishing in sex research journals and the imperative to cite Black women (Smith et al., 2021) under the #HotGirlScience paradigm.


Accordion Widget
Learning Objectives
Learning Objectives
To list the four #HotGirlScience criteria.
To critique sex science using Black samples for adherence to the #HotGirlScience paradigm.

 

DISTINGUISHED SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENT PLENARY SPEAKER

Friday, November 19th at 3:30pm - Preciosa Ballroom

Sexual Identity Development: What We Know and Need to Know

Presenter:

Margaret Rosario, PhD
Professor, City University of New York-City College and Graduate Center

Margaret Rosario, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at The City University of New York. Her research focuses on identity and stress, as well as the implications of each for health and other adaptational outcomes. The research has primarily centered on lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people undergoing sexual identity development. In addition, she is interested in the determinants of sexual orientation and the intersection of multiple identities. Dr. Rosario is the recipient of research grants. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. She is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Sex Research and a member of several editorial boards. She is Past President of Division 44 of the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. Dr. Rosario did her postdoctoral training at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, her doctorate at New York University, and her bachelor’s degree at Princeton University.
  


Accordion Widget
Abstract
Abstract
Identity is a core sense of self-sameness and continuity over time of who one is, including who one is in relation to and connected to others (Erikson, 1980). My research has focused on sexual identity development among cisgender individuals, most particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and other sexual minority (LGB+) youth. I have defined identity as consisting of two major components of formation and integration and have specified their parsimonious dimensions. Identity formation concerns self-discovery and exploration of the identity. For sexual identity development, it involves becoming aware of one’s sexual orientation, questioning whether one might be a sexual minority, and having sex with same-sex and perhaps other-sex partners. Identity integration concerns increasing commitment to the identity and forging connections to others based on the identity. For sexual identity development, it consists of engaging in LGB-related social activities, working through negative attitudes toward homosexuality or bisexuality, feeling comfortable with nonspecific others knowing about the identity, and disclosing that identity to specific others. Sexual identity formation and integration may unfold in different ways and at different speeds and developmental ages. These hypotheses were empirically confirmed (Ott et al., 2011; Rosario, Schrimshaw, Hunter, et al., 2006; Rosario et al., 2008b; Rosario, 2019).

Sexual Identity Development and Health and Other Adaptation 
Identity has implications for adaptation because prices are paid for arrested development of the self. The strength of the relation varies with the importance of the identity and extent of its integration. Sexual identity composes an important identity, potentially affecting many facets of one’s life. My research shows that sexual identity development is related to less psychological distress, fewer sexual risk behaviors, and less substance use among youth (Rosario et al., 2001, 2004, 2011; Rosario, Schrimshaw, & Hunter, 2006). Some relations are complex. For example, initial involvement in LGB-related social activities was associated with substance use, but, over time, more involvement was related to less substance use (Rosario et al., 2004), perhaps suggesting that initial substance use gradually subsided as the anxiety of entering a new community and learning its ways diminshed. Although some results found identity formation, whether occurring recently or sometime ago, was unrelated to psychological distress and self-esteem (Rosario et al., 2011), other findings indicated that identity formation in early adolescence was related to subsequent psychological distress (Katz-Wise et al., 2017b). The latter may suggest that enhanced cognitive capabilities are need to manage identity formation and its implications. Identity integration was related to subsequent adaptation: those with low identity integration reported elevated psychological distress and low self-esteem, and those with high integration had the lowest levels of distress and highest self-esteem (Rosario et al., 2011).

Sexual Identity Development and Stress 
Identity exists in relation to and informed by others; thus, it may be respected or stigmatized by others. Minority or sexual minority stress refers to experiencing society’s stigmatization of homosexuality/bisexuality and of anyone considered to be a sexual minority. LGB+ youth experience more victimization than heterosexual peers (Russell et al., 2014). Comparable stressful events are related to subsequent discomfort with their sexuality (Rosario et al., 2002), as well as more psychological distress (Rosario et al., 2002) and substance use (Rosario et al., 2008a). The stress is not just external; it is internalized, ensuring that sexual minority individuals must work through their negative attitudes toward and discomfort with their identity as part of their development. Indeed, stress and sexual identity development may overlap; for example, sexual identity disclosure is a marker of identity integration, but disclosure proves stressful if the individual is rejected (Rosario, Schrimshaw, & Hunter, 2009). Whether it is a challenging sexual identity developmental process or elevated stress, LGB+ youth are at risk for poor health in the short- and long-term relative to heterosexual peers. The poor health extends beyond mental to physical health. They engage in cancer risk behaviors (Rosario, Corliss, Everett, Reisner, Austin, et al., 2014). The behaviors persist over time (Rosario et al., 2016) and victimization partly explains the disparities in the cancer risk behaviors between LGB+ and heterosexual youth (Rosario, Corliss, Everett, Russell, Buchting, et al., 2014). Nevertheless, identity integration is beneficial for the health of LGB+ youth (Rosario et al., 2011).

Nascent Sexual Identity and Its Implications 
Understanding of sexual identity development must extend beyond the individual’s awareness of being a sexual minority. Indirect evidence of the prenatal roots of same-sex behavior has existed for some time (Rosario & Schrimshaw, 2014) and the genetic markers of such behavior have been identified by others (Ganna et al., 2019). Therefore, a nascent LGB+ child may exist at birth. Although the child is unaware of the sexual identity, others may infer it by means of gender nonconforming behaviors, which are more common among nascent LGB+ than heterosexual children (Roberts et al., 2012a). The behaviors may affect how others respond to the child. By the time the child becomes aware of the sexual minority identity, a great deal of sexual minority stress may have been experienced. Childhood maltreatment is more common among sexual minority individuals than heterosexual peers, as a meta-analysis by others found (Friedman et al., 2011). The maltreatment is partly attributed to gender nonconformity (Roberts et al., 2012b) and gender nonconformity is related to subsequent psychological distress (Roberts et al., 2012b, 2013). Attachment—the profound sense of safety and security, or its absence, that begins in infancy—is also affected, given the maltreatment. Sexual minority individuals report less secure attachment to their mothers than do heterosexual peers and attachment mediates disparities by sexual orientation in subsequent psychological distress and substance use (Rosario, Reisner, Corliss, Wypij, Calzo, et al., 2014; Rosario, Reisner, Corliss, Wypij, Frazier, et al., 2014). Hypotheses concerning the role of attachment in stress and sexual identity development have been advanced (Rosario, 2015).

Future Endeavors 
1. Careful focus is needed on early childhood experiences with known implications for subsequent adaptation: adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) of maltreatment and family dysfunction, attachment, gender nonconformity, and peer relationships. Of interest is the experiences of LGB+ and heterosexual individuals in these areas and the implications of the experiences and those of sexual identity development for subsequent health and other adaptation.
2. Sexual identity development continues to unfold in the middle years of life and potentially throughout life. Why? For whom? Under what circumstances? What was happening in the years preceding the change? 
3. Sexual identity is but one identity; the individual has others, such as sex, gender, ethnic or racial identity. How multiple identities interact requires attention. Some work has been done on the interaction of sex and sexual identity among cisgender individuals, but more is needed. Too little work has investigated differences by ethnicity or race. Even less is known about sexual identity and gender identity. For example, how do transgender individuals experience their sexual identity? How do researchers conceptualize their sexual identity?

 

Accordion Widget
Learning Objectives
Learning Objectives
To define sexual identity development, its 2 major constituents, and their components.
To describe the implications of sexual identity development for adaptation.

PLENARY SPEAKER

Saturday, November 20th at 9:00am - Preciosa Ballroom

Policing Bodies: Law, Sex Work, and Desire in Johannesburg
Presenter:

I. India Thusi, PhD, JD
Professor of Law, Indiana University-Bloomington, Kinsey Institute

Professor Thusi is Professor of Law at Indiana University-Bloomington Maurer School of Law with a joint appointment at the Kinsey Institute. Her research examines racial and sexual hierarchies as they relate to policing, race, and gender. Her articles and essays have been published or are forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review, NYU Law Review, Northwestern Law Review (twice), Georgetown Law Journal, Cornell Law Review Online, amongst others.Thusi’s research is inextricably connected to her previous legal experience at organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and—most recently—The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communication lab that collaborates to effect lasting policy and culture change. She served as a federal law clerk to two social justice giants: the Honorable Robert L. Carter, who sat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and was the lead counsel for the NAACP in Brown v. Board of Education; and the Honorable Damon J. Keith, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and is lauded for his prominent civil rights jurisprudence. She also clerked for Justice van der Westhuizen at the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the country’s highest court.  Among other acknowledgements throughout her career, Thusi was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Global Scholar for 2020-2023. Her paper “Reality Porn” was selected for the 2020 Stanford/Harvard/Yale Junior Faculty Forum, and she was recognized as a Top 40 Rising Young Lawyer by the American Bar Association in 2019. 

 

Accordion Widget
Abstract
Abstract
Sex work occupies a legally gray space in Johannesburg, South Africa, and police attitudes towards it are inconsistent and largely unregulated. This results in both room for negotiation that can benefit sex workers and also extreme precarity in which the security police officers provide can be offered and taken away at a moment's notice. Sex work straddles the line between formal and informal. Attitudes about beauty and subjective value are manifest in formal tasks, including police activities, which are often conducted in a seemingly ad hoc manner. However, high-level organizational directives intended to regulate police obligations and duties toward sex workers also influence police action and tilt the exercise of discretion to the formal. In this liminal space, this talk will consider how sex work is policed and how it should be policed. Challenging discourses about sexuality and gender that inform its regulation, this presentation will expose the limitations of dominant feminist arguments regarding the legal treatment of sex work. It will illustrate the tension between enforcing a country's laws and protecting citizens' human rights.

Accordion Widget
Learning Objectives
Learning Objectives
Analyze how popular discourses about gender, sexuality, and sex can impact the policing and regulation of sex work.
To describe the historical development of the regulation and policing of sex work in South Africa and the British colonies.
To identify how issues of race, ethnicity, and immigration status impacted the policing of sex workers in Johannesburg, South Africa.

SOCIAL JUSTICE/PUBLIC POLICY PLENARY SPEAKER

Sunday, November 21st at 9:00am - Preciosa Ballroom

Beyond Free Britney: The Interaction of Conversion Therapy Bans and Guardianship/Conservatorship Reform

Presenter:
Victoria Minerva Rodríguez-Roldán, JD
Senior Policy Manager, AIDS United

Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán is the Senior Policy Manager for AIDS United, where she brings her own unique intersectional specialties to the fight against the HIV epidemic. Particular areas of expertise and focus are the intersections of issues affecting people living at the intersections of transgender identity, disability and mental illness through a social justice lens. She frequently speaks on discrimination issues impacting the trans and disability communities. She has been profiled in multiple national media outlets and has been published in multiple academic journals. Prior to joining AIDS United, she was senior policy counsel at the National LGBTQ Task Force where she led the Trans/GNC Justice Project and the Disability Justice Project. She currently serves on the board of directors of multiple disability, LGBTQ and social justice non-profit organizations. Victoria holds a B.A. in psychology with honors from the University of Puerto Rico, and a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law. She has lived in the DC area since 2014. 

Accordion Widget
Abstract
Abstract
Britney Spears’ struggle against the conservatorship she is under has attracted a lot of media publicity to the topic of guardianship and conservatorship in the United States and the struggles that people face when they face the “Civil Death” that such a process is. At the same time, a major goal of the LGBTQ movement is the banning of the discredited attempts at changing a vulnerable person’s gender identity or sexual orientation, known as conversion therapy. The goal of this lecture is to discuss the ways in which guardianship/conservatorship intersect with the need to protect LGBTQ people from conversion therapy, particularly those with developmental, intellectual, and mental health disabilities who find themselves under a guardianship or conservatorship. This talk advocates for changes to the law to protect said vulnerable populations, as well as reforms to the overall system of guardianship and conservatorship.

Accordion Widget
Learning Objectives
Learning Objectives
To describe the intersection of LGBTQ people with disabilities who are at risk of guardianship or conservatorship.
To explain how to better address this area of research.

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