Katherine Grainger

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service

Katherine Grainger is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service.  She is also a respected attorney, has worked on civil rights, women’s rights, labor, and education issues. Currently, Katherine is Partner of Civitas Public Affairs Group.  She has previously served as assistant counsel to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo where she was responsible for crafting and implementing major legislative initiatives, including the Marriage Equality Act, and overseeing pressing regulatory, budgetary, and litigation matters. Prior to joining the Governor’s staff, she was a senior staff member in the New York State Senate. Katherine has also worked extensively on reproductive rights and justice as vice president for public policy and political initiatives at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and as the director of state policy at the Center for Reproductive Rights. A frequent public speaker, Katherine is quoted widely in the national press and has appeared on PBS’s “Frontline” and NPR.

Katherine earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and women’s studies from the George Washington University and her law degree from Northeastern School of Law.

This graduate level course will provide an in-depth analysis of gender and sexuality policy in the United States. We will focus on the role that criminalization plays in this area, examining topics such abortion and regulation of intimate partner behavior, including sodomy. Practical application on how policy is made will be intertwined throughout the course and we will use case studies to examine why certain policy efforts, such as marriage equality was successful, while the Equal Rights Amendment failed. Focus will also include the impact that the current political climate is having on women, LGBTQ and gender nonconforming individuals and an effort will be made to weave in current events, as well as pop culture throughout our learning. Finally, we will study the impact existent and nonexistent policy protections have on people of color, the economically disadvantaged, immigrants, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. Incorporated into our analysis will be readings from queer liberation scholars and feminist theorists to help us evaluate the pros and cons of existing policy gains. The course will explore what full equality might look like in the United States with an examination of what can and cannot be achieved through policy advancements.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Upon completion of Gender & Sexuality in U.S. Policy Formation, students should be able to:

1. Understand the evolution of gender and sexuality policy in the United States;

2. Think analytically and strategically about policy formation and opportunities for pragmatic and transformational change;

3. Articulate how social justice policy is created, including the individual, contextual, and environmental factors that influence policy shifts;

4. Be a step closer to becoming reflective practitioners, i.e. professionals endowed with a sophisticated grasp of the art, science, opportunities, limits of crafting public policy.

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The advancement of LGBTQ rights in the United States has experienced unprecedented success over the last twenty years, shifting both public attitude towards and legal protection for gay Americans. This graduate level course will provide an in-depth analysis of current LGBTQ policy achievements in the United States, including the recognition of marriage equality in all 50-states, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and increased anti-discrimination protections. Emphasis will be placed on how these victories were achieved, including background on the strategies and tactics used to generate results. We will also take a critical look at such milestones, and examine what they mean for the entire LGTBQ population, including queer people of color, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals, the disabled, and economically disadvantaged. Incorporated into this analysis will be readings from queer liberation scholars to help us evaluate the pros and cons of existing LGBTQ policy gains. The course will explore what full equality might look like for LGBTQ people in the United States with an examination of what can and cannot actually be achieved through policy. Practical application on how policy is made will be intertwined throughout the course, as will select comparative readings to understand how U.S. LGBTQ policy impacts queer populations around the world.

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