Joshua O Neal

Community-Based Pathway, Class of 2013


Undergraduate institutions:

Seattle Central Community College (AA)

Evergreen State College (BA), Community Psychology & Sociology majors


Tell us about yourself and what you are currently doing

Joshua is director sexual health services for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which includes a collective of sexual health clinics and PrEP programs throughout San Francisco. He also instructs human sexuality courses for City College of San Francisco.  Joshua advocates for and works closely with queer communities, trans individuals, substance users and sex workers within public health, community-based and medical settings, through a harm-reduction and social- justice centered perspective.


How has your M.A. in Sexuality Studies helped get you to be where you are today?

Advanced degrees in sexuality studies from an interdisciplinary framework are uncommon and are valuable in sexuality and sexual health fields. The coursework in the program pushed me to think critically about the ways that society, culture and intersecting identities (race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc.) impact an individual’s sexuality. The program also helped me understand human sexuality through a variety of lenses including sociology, biology, and psychology for example.  As an instructor I am able to engage students from different academic backgrounds and interests, to explore the complexities and tensions related to sexuality issues from different perspectives. The readings, research and discussions from SXS courses are relevant to my work and help inform the approaches and best practices I utilize in both classroom and clinical settings.

The SXS program provided a platform for me to establish myself in my communities as an educator, researcher and clinician, connecting me with other academics and leaders in the sexual health field who became mentors. Taking advantage of the opportunities the program offers such as teaching and research assistance, provided valuable instruction experience at a college level and prepared me for taking on my own sexuality courses after graduation.


What advice would you give to someone interested in your profession?

Career paths and goals rarely work out as intended or expected. Follow your heart, study what you love, and take advantage of all the opportunities presented to you along the way.