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Reproductive Sociology Research Group


My scholarship lies at the intersections of public health, sociology and gender and sexuality studies to analyze and intervene in social and structural inequities in health among racial/ethnic and sexual and gender minorities in the United States. Over the past decade, my community-based participatory and ethnographic research has examined what I identify as the structural intimacies of the Black AIDS epidemic as the conjoining of social structural patterns with intimate lives, specifically in relation to: systems of racialized state violence, including incarceration and police brutality experienced by Black sexual and gender minorities; queer kinship formations and sexual stigma; and HIV counter narratives.

I am currently investigating the structural intimacies of LGBTQ kinship through three related projects. In Gender Justice, a community-based participatory research project based in an elementary school in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am working with transgender and gender expansive and LGBTQ-parented children drawing on a participatory visual arts inquiry, Photovoice, to center visual narratives of gender among children and consider schools as sites of gendered production. An ongoing project through my work with SCU’s Center for Arts and Humanities will be working with a filmmaker to create a documentary film on Gender Justice, drawing on new forms of immersive technology. I am also conducting an ongoing longitudinal qualitative interview study with LGBTQ parents and parents of transgender children to examine two unique minority stress processes – 1) parents experiencing sexual and/or gender minority stress due to the stigmatization of their own identities, and 2) parents sharing the gender minority stress faced by their transgender or gender expansive child, and in the context of their parent-child relationship. This work presents possibilities for re-imagining gender and its embodied experiences in social and structural contexts, thereby focusing our collective responsibility to support the health and well-being of parents and children in LGBTQ families onto shifting gendered practices at the relational and institutional level.

In my current project, I will consider the role of shifting reproductive technologies and attendant changes in kinship structures in informing the health of LGBTQ families through an area of research on donor-inseminated LGBTQ families, and specifically donor siblings. In particular, I am interested in understanding how donor siblings constitute a mechanism through which understandings of family and biology become produced for LGBTQ families. I will integrate my theoretical work on structural intimacies with an examination of narrative data as I consider the impact of shifts in reproductive technologies on LGBTQ health and kinship, in particular through changing experiences and understandings of the donor sibling. Through critical examination of the donor sibling and assisted reproductive technologies as structural intimacies in which historic and persistent racial/ethnic and gender inequities are embedded and reinforced, I aim to further understandings of the limits and possibilities of queer kinship.


Training and Courses

I completed my Master of Science degree at Harvard School of Public Health (2000), my Doctorate in Public Health at UC Berkeley (2008), and postdoctoral work at the Health Equity Institute at SF State University (2010). After working as research faculty at the Health Equity Institute and Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality at San Francisco State University, I joined the faculty at Santa Clara University, where I am now Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences. I teach courses focused on Structural Racism; Race, Class, Gender and Health; Racial and Health Equity; Women, Gender, and Health; Community Health; and Senior Capstone seminars with policy and community collaborators.

I grew up in the highlands of Scotland and consider home to be there as well as in Berkeley, California where I live with my partner and two children.


Selected Publications

Mackenzie S. (In Press) Experiences of Gender and Sexual Minority Stress among LGBTQ Families: The Role of Community Resilience and Minority Coping. Advances in Medical Sociology: Special Issue on Sexual and Gender Minority Health.

Talbott A and Mackenzie S. (2020) Gender Justice: A Photovoice Gender Inclusion Curriculum for Elementary School Children. Teaching about Gender Diversity, Susan Woolley and Lee Airton. Canadian Scholars Press.

Mackenzie S, Michels C, & Chang J. (2020) Structures of sexuality: Sexual stigma, disclosure and HIV risk with primary female partners among behaviorally bisexual Black men. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 49:299- 310.

Mackenzie S. (2019) Reframing ‘masculinity:’ Structural vulnerability and HIV among Black men who have sex with men and women. Culture, Health and Sexuality: 21:2,175-187.

Mackenzie S & Talbott A. (2018) Gender Through the Eyes of Children: A Photovoice Project with Elementary School Gender Expansive and LGBTQ-Parented Children and their Allies. Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning. 18(6): 655-671.

Mackenzie S & Brooks D. (2018) Stigma, Disclosure and Relationship Agency in Black Women’s Sexual Relationships with Behaviorally Bisexual Black Men. Sexuality and Culture. 22(3): 837-848.

Mackenzie S, Rubin E, Gómez C. (2016) ‘Prison is one place you don’t want your sexuality:’ Sexuality, desire and survival among incarcerated bisexual Black men in the United States. Penal Field (Champ Penal). DOI: 10.4000/champpenal.9364.    

Mackenzie S. (2013) Structural Intimacies: Sexual Stories in the Black AIDS Epidemic. Rutgers University Press.

Mackenzie S. (2011) Dissecting the Social Body: Social Inequality through AIDS Counter Narratives. Public Understanding of Science. 20(4): 491–505.

Mackenzie S. (2000) Scientific Silence: AIDS and African Americans in the Medical Literature. American Journal of Public Health. 90(7): 1145-1146.


Public Facing Work

Queering Biology. Chapter in What’s in a Name? Stories of Inspiration from Non-Biological Moms. Demeter Press, 2020.

The Particular Pain of Pandemic Grief. New York Times. August 14, 2020.

Grief in a Pandemic. National Public Radio KQED Perspective. July 14, 2020.

Re: Brothers, Sisters, Strangers, New York Times Magazine, July 14, 2019.         

Queering Biology: Donor Conceived LGBTQ Families Re/Defining Family. Daily Kos. July 1, 2019.

Gender Justice: Gender through the eyes of Children. Santa Clara University Bannan Institute Podcast. Santa Clara, CA, October 24, 2017.

A Call to Action: Bridging Public Health And Medicine To Fight Racism, Police Brutality And State-Sanctioned Violence. Huffington Post, March 7, 2017.

Talking about Orlando with our Children: A Call to Action for LGBTQ Families. Daily Kos, June 18, 2016.

Tips for Talking with Children about the Shooting in Orlando. Huffington Post. June 21, 2016.


Contact Details

Associate Professor, Public Health Science Program, Santa Clara University
Email address: