March 21, 2019

Headcase: LGBTQ Writers and Artists on Mental Health and Wellness


Headcase: LGBTQ Writers and Artists on Mental Health and Wellness, co-edited by Stephanie Schroeder and Teresa Theophano, is an anthology that will be forthcoming from Oxford University Press in February 2019. A groundbreaking collection of personal reflections and artistic representations illustrating the intersections of mental wellness, illness, and LGBTQ identity, as well as the lasting impact of historical views equating queer and trans identity with mental illness, Headcase offers personal views from both providers and clients, often one and the same, about their experiences.

In this presentation we will hear various perspectives as the editors and three Headcase contributors read from their work. The presenters include Dr. Christian Huygen, Executive Director of Rainbow Heights Club, Nikkiesha N. McLeod, writer, singer/songwriter, and musician, and Donald Brown, doctoral student at The Graduate Center, City University of New York and Presidential MAGNET Fellow.

Light reception created by Catering By Design provided after the lecture.

The main Mütter Museum will not be open during this event.


Donald V. Brown, Jr.​​ is a doctoral student in Critical Social Psychology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, where he is a Presidential MAGNET Fellow. Donald is concerned with questions of social categorization and its scientific, societal, and personal consequences. He has previously worked on projects in the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies, under the leadership of Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, at Columbia Law School. For the past eight years, in addition to academic pursuits, he has served as a higher education professional at New York University—most recently as Associate Director of Student Services for Global Public Health. He holds a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education from Teachers College, Columbia University, in addition to a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience.

Christian Huygen​​, ​PhD​​ is a clinical psychologist and the Executive Director of Rainbow Heights Club, a psychosocial support agency for LGBT adults living with serious mental illness. In 2012, Dr. Huygen was appointed to the Multicultural Advisory Committee of the New York State Office of Mental Health. He organized three conferences on LGBT-affirming behavioral health services and developed a training program for mainstream care providers. The curriculum has been presented to thousands of individuals who work at hundreds of agencies, clinics, hospitals, and residences. Along with Dr. Barbara Warren, Dr. Huygen successfully advocated for the inclusion of questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in the New York State Office of Mental Health’s statewide patient surveys and records for both inpatients and outpatients, to better understand the prevalence and needs of LGBTQ people living with mental illness.

Nikkiesha N. McLeod​​ is a writer, singer/songwriter, and musician. They began playing the steel-pan at the age of twelve, when they convinced their parents to let them join the neighborhood steelband orchestra, Panasonic Connection. Nikkiesha has been working on their first EP. They were a co-founder of the grassroots feminist zine ​OutLaw Sister Riff​, which focused on issues affecting women and young girls, and have been a recipient of Howard University’s John J. Wright Award for poetry, a finalist in the Hollin’s Poetry Festival, and a co-award recipient for the City College English Department Adrian Schwartz Award for Women’s Fiction. Nikkiesha’s work has appeared in the literary journals ​[sic]​ and​ Tom Tom Magazine,​ as well as on ​Black Girl Dangerous​. Nikkiesha blogs at

Stephanie Schroeder, JD​​ is a writer based in New York City. She has published works in ​The GuardianCurve MagazineBrooklyn MagazineHealthlineLife of the Law, Lambda Literary Review,​ and many other outlets. Her nonfiction work has been anthologized in ​That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation,​ ​Here Come the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage​, and ​Easy to Love, But Hard to Live With: Real People, Invisible Disabilities, True Stories​. Schroeder is also the author of the memoir ​Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies & Suicide (2012). She works part-time as a peer advocate at a mental health shelter for homeless women ages forty-five and older. Find additional information about Stephanie and her writing at

Teresa Theophano, LMSW​​ is a New York State-licensed social worker and freelance writer/editor who co-founded the New York City Queer Mental Health Initiative (QMHI), an LGBTQ mental health peer support network in collaboration with the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, in 2014. Since graduating from Hunter College School of Social Work with an MSW the same year that her book ​Queer Quotes ​(2004) was published, she has worked and volunteered with LGBTQ communities at numerous organizations including Rainbow Heights Club, the New York City LGBT Community Center, and Queers for Economic Justice. Teresa currently serves on the board of directors of queer homeless youth program Trinity Place Shelter. Her writing has appeared on websites such as and and in anthologies including ​The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts (2004) and ​Queerly Loving​ (2017).

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The Mütter Museum helps the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.

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