All photos courtesy of  Eliél Freer-Sullivan

All photos courtesy of Eliél Freer-Sullivan


I am a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department at Emory University. My research is at the intersection of four key areas of social life: sexuality, identity, trauma, and memory.

For my dissertation, I investigate the long-term social impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I examine how the early years of the epidemic were a source of trauma for gay men and how this trauma has become embedded into the meaning of gay identity. Based on the work I’ve done so far, it seems that this trauma has become a collective memory, or a shared story, that influences how gay men think about themselves and the world around them.

I am currently interviewing gay men in New York City to learn more about how gay men of different races and generations understand what it means to be gay and how the HIV/AIDS epidemic might or might not relate to that. You can learn more about how I approach interviewing here!

In addition to my dissertation, I am fascinated by the power of media. I do a lot of work studying how media can help us understand facets of social life, in particular queerness and memory. In the past I’ve used the podcast Welcome to Night Vale to discuss how we remember traumatic experiences. My next projects, which I can’t wait to dive into, will be looking at RuPaul’s Drag Race and Big Mouth!

Outside of my research interests, I try to spend my time baking, catching up on my favorite magical girl anime, and searching for a new not-so-quiet coffee shop to people watch over my dirty chai latte.