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Dorian Rhea Debussy

Dorian Rhea Debussy Headshot

Dorian Rhea Debussy

Lecturer, Newark Campus


Office Hours

By Appointment

Areas of Expertise

  • American Foreign Policy
  • American Military History
  • Feminist Studies
  • LGBTQ+ Politics
  • Queer History
  • Security Studies


  • Ph.D. Political Science, University of Connecticut
  • M.A. Political Science, concentration in American Studies, University of Connecticut
  • Graduate Certificate Feminist Studies, University of Connecticut
  • Graduate Certificate College Instruction, University of Connecticut
  • B.A. Political Science, Columbus State University

Dorian Rhea Debussy, Ph.D. (she/her) is a Lecturer in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University at Newark. She joined the faculty in summer 2019, and she previously served as a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science for three years.

In addition to her role with OSU, Rhea serves as the inaugural Director of External Affairs at Equitas Health, which is a non-profit community healthcare system and one of the largest LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS serving healthcare organizations in the country. Prior to this, she enjoyed a decade of service in higher education, which began in public university settings in Connecticut. Most recently, she served as the Associate Director for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kenyon College, where she specialized in fostering LGBTQ+ inclusion and equity across campus and beyond. During her time at Kenyon College, she also served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, where she taught the college’s first queer studies course.

A graduate of the Dept. of Political Science at the University of Connecticut, Rhea’s doctoral work focused on the histories of LGBTQ exclusion from the military and intelligence communities. Building upon this research, Rhea served as the lead author for the newly updated and expanded third edition of Freedom to Serve: The Definitive Guide to LGBTQ Military Service (forthcoming in fall 2023; Washington, D.C.: Modern Military Association of America), which is the most comprehensive guidebook on issues affecting LGBTQ service members across all branches of the military. Given the important nature of this work and the status of this guidebook, an advance copy of this text was requested by the Biden Presidential Transition Team in December 2020.

As a scholar of LGBTQ+ politics and policy, Rhea also regularly presents at regional, national, and international LGBTQ+ conferences. In fall 2020, she presented at the Equitas Health Institute’s Transforming Care Conference, where she was also recognized with the Community Advocate Award. Rhea, who is a member of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), also presented at WPATH’s 26th Annual Scientific Symposium, which is the world’s largest conference on transgender health. More recently, she presented an advocacy workshop at Stonewall Sports’ 8th Annual National Tournament and Summit, which is one of the largest LGBTQ+ focused athletic events in the country.

Passionate about inclusive teaching, Rhea has extensive and varied teaching experiences. Previously, she taught queer studies courses for the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Kenyon College; courses on the politics of race, class, and gender at Manchester Community College and Eastern Connecticut State University; and LGBTQ+ studies, feminist studies, American politics, and quantitative methods courses at the University of Connecticut. In addition to teaching, Rhea continues to actively write about issues affecting LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ politics more broadly. Her current book project is under contract with Columbia University Press with an expected publication date of fall 2025.


Selected Publications

- Lavender Security Threats: The History of Anti-LGBTQ Policies in the American Military and Intelligence Community. New York: Columbia University Press. Forthcoming in fall 2025.

- “LGBTQ+ Workers Want More Than Just Pinkwashing.” 2024. WAMC Northeast Public Radio and The Academic Minute Podcast. Circulated by NPR, BBC Radio World Service, Inside Higher Ed, and others.

- “Queer Careers: LGBTQ+ Advocacy on Campus and Beyond” in collaboration with Dr. Kimberly Creasap. 2024. Higher Ed Careers Beyond the Professoriate. Eds. Karen Cardozo, Katherine Kearns, and Shannan Palma. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press. 

- “LGBTQ+ Workers Want More Than Just Pride Flags in June.” 2024. The Conversation. Re-published via The Associated Press.

- Freedom to Serve: The Definitive Guide to LGBTQ Military Service, 3rd edition. 2023. Washington, D.C.: Modern Military Association of America (formerly OutServe and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network [SLDN]). 

- “Biden Signs Marriage Equality Bill into Law – But the Respect for Marriage Act has a Few Key Limitations.” 2022. The Conversation. Re-published via The Associated Press.

- “‘Rainbow Wave’ of LGBTQ Candidates Run and Win in 2020 Election.” 2020. The Conversation. Re-published via The Associated Press.

- “What We Can Learn from Mrs. America — And Why the ERA Fight Must Continue.” 2020. BUST Magazine.

- “Leading Your Academic Department Toward Inclusion: How to Ensure Faculty are LGBTQ+ Competent in the Classroom.” 2020. Leading Through Crisis, Conflict, and Change in Higher Education. Ed. Jon Crylen. Madison, WI: Magna Publications. 

- “LGBTQ Students and College Affordability Under the PROSPER Act.” 2018. The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, vol. xxv, no. 5.

- “Barriers for Transgender Voters Ahead of the 2018 Midterm Election.” 2018. The Conversation. Re-published via The Associated Press.

- “How the PROSPER Act Could Negatively Impact LGBTQ Students.” 2018. The Conversation. Re-published by Salon