A fairly common question Dr. Hall receives is to inquire how he developed such passion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equity. In 1989, as a 15 year-old high school junior, Dr. Hall heard a teacher, for the first time, say positive things about being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
He explained to the students that homosexuality is just as acceptable as heterosexuality. He taught the class that the American Psychiatric Association had definitively stated that homosexuality was not a disorder. What he taught was certainly challenged by students in class. Some insisted that homosexuality had to be a psychiatric disorder.
For Dr. Hall, acceptance came quickly, perhaps because he had never been told by the important people in my world — such as parents, teachers and clergy — that homosexuality was morally wrong.
Since that time, friends from high school have come out. Dr. Hall has been a Gay Straight Alliance adviser. He has been deeply engaged in and working with great passion for equal right for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. The pain and isolation of the closet has proven too painful for so many people within our society.
While Dr. Hall’s work extends far beyond sexual orientation and gender identity, the foundation he received in high school has proven to be particularly powerful in development of passion and safety for all within society.
His passion for equality is matched with his passion for teaching about law and democracy. While one can champion equality and fair treatment for all, democracy provides grounds in which we all come together — majorities and minorities alike. It is through thoughtful deliberation not just about what we have in common but also about our differences that helps strengthen a democratic, pluralistic society.
Dr. Hall has been a classroom teacher for 13 years and GSA adviser for 9 years. His students have awarded him with teaching awards such as Most Creative Teacher, Teacher Most Likely to Be Remembered in 10 Years, and Teacher Most Likely to Brighten My Day. Dr. Hall’s work as a classroom teacher has been featured on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Additionally, he was the original co-chair of his school’s bullying prevention committee. As an adjunct college professor, he has taught courses on addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in school, bullying prevention, sexuality and law, and other topics.
Dr. Hall considers receiving the GLSEN Runner-Up award to be among the most touching and rewarding experiences of his professional career. GLSEN honored Dr. Hall with this award not only for his visionary leadership as a teacher and GSA adviser but also for his passionate and creative work in reducing bullying behavior in his school and others. By working tirelessly for safer spaces in schools, Dr. Hall is working to impact school culture so that students will not face discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or for other reasons.
When Dr. Hall’s first GSA students were about to graduate from college, some contacted him about whether they would have to go back into the closet when they graduated. He then realized the importance of also working on a work environment that is lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusive. As a result, he started working with global Fortune 500 companies — such as JP MorganChase, Merck, the Hershey Company and many others — on creating a workplace that is inclusive of everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. As a nationally recognized speaker, Dr. Hall creates programs that are individually designed to meet a company’s needs. These programs include affective, cognitive and behavioral development, three domains that are necessary to address if changing corporate culture.
A world traveler, Dr. Hall has spent time in close to 40 countries and territories around the world. He and his partner, Annie Hall, have three young children and reside in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.