My outreach activities target a wide range of stakeholders and aims to inform policymaking and implementation in primarily two ways: first, by demonstrating how my existing research can help understand and improve policy; second, by using emerging policy problems to design new research projects that will produce actionable recommendations for change.
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I frequently give talks to think tanks and government agencies in the UK, US, and China: Chatham House, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, National Endowment for Democracy, Woodrow Wilson Center, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, among others. But to reach a wider audience, I write commentaries and op-eds for media outlets, drawing upon my expertise to offer insight and understanding of unfolding events worldwide.
For example, in the early years of the Syrian conflict, my coauthors and I wrote an op-ed for CNN in which we argued that humanitarian intervention from the US would be unlikely, based upon our quantitative research on the topic published in Foreign Policy Analysis.
A more recent research project seeks to better understand how the general public in Britain views government expenditure on preventative drugs, a project that I conceived of in response to NHS England's decision to not provide full access to PrEP, a highly efficacious anti-HIV drug.
Beyond PrEP and HIV, the project informs policymakers about the actual—rather than anticipated—public response to government expenditures on a wide range of preventative drugs amidst cost-cutting. Early findings were disseminated to the general public in The Guardian and at a public exhibition in London’s OXO Tower, and directly to policymakers in our meetings with members of parliament.
Writing commentaries to reflect on recent news events first can also allow me to identify and develop larger research projects. For example, days after China repealed its 'one-child policy' I suggested in the South China Morning Post that the change could improve the lives of LGBT people by diminishing the family pressure they experience as their parent's 'one-chance' to perform the expected traditional, heteronormative duties of a child.
The commentary compelled me research the issue more deeply. In research published in the Journal of Homosexuality, I ultimately demonstrated that the family pressure felt by LGBT Chinese was not just due to the one-child policy, but also reforms in elder care provision that shifted the burden from the state to the family.
Media coverage helps bring my research to the general public. Citizens are integral to improve policymaking & implementation as: beneficiaries of good policies and victims of bad ones; taxpayers who help fund policies; and (in some countries) voters who can reward policymakers' success and punish their failure.
I’m often asked for comment on issues related to Chinese politics, NGOs & civil society development, LGBT activism, gay & lesbian rights, transgender issues, public and sexual health. My work has been covered by media worldwide, including: BBC (Victoria Derbyshire, BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Trending), CNN, Channel 4, Voice of America, Al Jazeera, Chicago Tribune, South China Morning Post, Christian Science Monitor, Dazed, The Guardian, US News & World Report, Quartz.
As an internationally-recognised expert on LGBT rights, activism, social policy and cultural norms (especially as they relate to China), I’m experienced in providing expert testimony. Most of the my recent testimonies have been for LGBT-related immigration and asylum claims in the UK and US. I’ve also drawn upon my research on the compound effect of social policies, like family planning and eldercare, and cultural norms in China to give expert testimony in a wrongful death case; a mother successfully sued for the loss of future elder care support after her daughter was killed in an auto accident.
If you are representing a client who might be in need of expert testimony related to my areas of research, please contact me directly.
I advise and consult for various organisations, whether they be for- and not-for profit, governmental or non-governmental.
OutRight Action International asked me to serve as academic advisor on a project examining the challenges for LGBTIQ organisations to become legally registered in their home countries. I’ve also worked with Out Leadership as they make the ‘business case’ for LGBT visibility and representation in the corporate world.
I give ongoing advice to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on the changing environment for civil society, human rights, and NGO development in China. Comic Relief and Privacy international have sought my advice on philanthropy, volunteerism, and the regulatory environment for NGOs in China.
Drawing upon my expertise in Chinese environmental politics, I was consultant for the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Global Shark Conservation Campaign, which worked to stop the consumption of shark fin soup in Greater China.