The Ohio State University at Newark

Dorian Rhea Debussy

Dorian Rhea Debussy, Ph.D. (she/her) is a part-time Lecturer in the Dept. 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 Dept. of Political Science for three years.

Additionally, Rhea serves as the inaugural Director of External Affairs at Equitas Health, which is a federally designated community health center 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. More 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; 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 book project is under contract with Columbia University Press with an expected publication date of fall 2025.


PhD | Political Science | University of Connecticut
Graduate Certificate | College Instruction | University of Connecticut
Graduate Certificate | Feminist Studies | University of Connecticut
MA | Political Science with a concentration in American Studies | University of Connecticut
BA | Political Science | Columbus State University
Visiting Student Certificate | Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) | Regent's Park College at the University of Oxford

Areas of Expertise:

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

Dorian Rhea Debussy Website