Steven Thrasher

Steven W. Thrasher, Ph.D., holds the inaugural Daniel H. Renberg chair at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, the first journalism professorship in the world created to focus on LGBTQ+ research. He is also a faculty member of the Institute of Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing at Northwestern, the largest university-based research center in the United States dedicated to the health of LGBTQ+ people. In 2019, Out magazine named him one of the 100 most influential and impactful LGBTQ+ people of the year.  

A scholar of the racialization, policing, and criminalization of HIV, Dr. Thrasher recently served as a national surrogate and advisor on AIDS policy to the presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. He has worked as a staff writer for The Village Voice, a contributing editor for BuzzFeed News, U.S. Writer-At-Large for The Guardian, and a regular contributor to the New York Times op-ed page. His work has also appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Review of Books, Esquire, and Teen Vogue.  An avid public speaker on matters of race, sexuality, and public health, he has given talks at universities and cultural institutions around the world, and is a frequent commenter on social matters on Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera, PBS, CNN and many public radio programs and podcasts. Radio journalism he has produced has been broadcast by National Public Radio programs like All Things Considered and Morning Edition and on Public Radio International’s Marketplace. Dr. Thrasher’s accolades include the Courage Award from the Anti-Violence Project, the James A. Arronson Award for Social Justice Journalism from Hunter College, the Journalist of the Year Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, an induction into the Hall of Fame of the American Sociological Association’s journal Contexts, an Honorable Mention for the American Studies Associations Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for Best Dissertation, and receiving writing grants from the Gannett, Ford and Alfred P. Sloan Foundations. Prior to his career as a journalist, Dr. Thrasher earned a BFA in film and worked in the crews of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, HBO’s The Laramie Project, and NPR’s StoryCorps project. He earned his doctorate in American Studies from New York University in 2019.