Nanette Gartrell, M.D.

Nanette Gartrell

Photo by Randal Dieringer

Nanette Gartrell, M.D., is a Williams Institute Visiting Distinguished Scholar, UCLA School of Law, and she has a guest appointment at the University of Amsterdam. She was previously on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Francisco.

She is a clinician and researcher whose ground-breaking investigations have been published in professional journals and cited in the media. Dr. Gartrell has appeared on network television (including PBS, Good Morning America, CNN, NBC, CBS, and Fox News), and on public, talk, and Sirius satellite radio.

She is the author of the bestselling MY ANSWER IS NO—if that's okay with you: How women can say NO with confidence. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, the Ladies Home Journal, and the Christian Science Monitor.

For 13 years, Dr. Gartrell volunteered her psychiatric services to chronically mentally ill homeless people. Her spouse is Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Dee Mosbacher, M.D., Ph.D.



In 2023, Dr. Gartrell received the American Psychiatric Association's John Fryer Award to honor her contributions to improving the health of sexual minorities.

In 2020, Dr. Gartrell received the American Psychiatric Association's Alexandra Symonds Award to recognize and honor her outstanding contributions to women's health and the advancement of women.

In 2017, Dr. Gartrell was one of 24 LGBT people chosen to appear on curriculum posters for schools in the United Kingdom. Others include Alan Turing, Simone de Beauvoir, Anne Lister, and Pedro Almodovar. View all of the posters.

Dr. Gartrell received the 2014 GLMA Achievement Award in Baltimore, September 13, 2014. See awards gala announcement.

Drs. Gartrell and Mosbacher were the co-recipients of the 2014 Mathew O. Tobriner Public Service award from the Legal Aid Society, Employment Law Center. See awards luncheon announcement.

Dr. Gartrell received the Association of Women Psychiatrists Presidential Commendation Award, American Psychiatric Association, May 2013. See article [PDF].

She was honored as “Researcher of the Year” by the UCSF Lesbian Health Research Center.

Drs. Gartrell and Bos's 2010 NLLFS publication in Pediatrics was cited by Discover magazine as one of the top 100 science stories of the year.

Dr. Gartrell was the recipient of the 2008 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues (Division 44, American Psychological Association).


Books by Dr. Nanette Gartrell

MY ANSWER IS NO… if That's Okay with You: How women can say NO with confidence.

NO is a very simple word—two letters, one syllable. Yet many women have a hard time saying it without feeling anxious or guilty. In My Answer Is NO...If That's Okay with You, Dr. Gartrell takes a fresh look at why even the most powerful, accomplished, and successful women find it difficult to say NO. The book provides tips from such accomplished women as Danielle Steel, Barbara Bush, Sandra Day O'Connor, Faye Wattleton, Mary Fisher, and Peggy Noonan. My Answer Is NO... offers a revolutionary approach to setting limits without jeopardizing important relationships.

Official website; available from Simon & Schuster, Inc.


Everyday Mutinies: Funding Lesbian Activism

Edited by Nanette Gartrell, M.D. and Esther D. Rothblum, Ph.D.

In Everyday Mutinies: Funding Lesbian Activism, prominent lesbians—including well-known activists such as Martina Navratilova, Alison Bechdel, Dee Mosbacher, and Jewelle Gomez—tell the stories of their activism with an emphasis on how they support themselves and fund their political activities. Everyday Mutinies includes the inspirational stories behind Naiad Press, The Ladder, the Academy Award-nominated film “Straight from the Heart”, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Published by Haworth Press, Inc., available from


Bringing Ethics Alive: Feminist Ethics in Psychotherapy Practice

Edited by Nanette Gartrell, M.D.

Bringing Ethics Alive provides theoretical and practical perspectives on ethical considerations concerning gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation in psychotherapy. This book deals with the multicultural aspects of ethics in mental health services and discusses specific objectives for incorporating ethics in psychotherapy education.

Published by Haworth Press, Inc., available from


Articles by Dr. Nanette Gartrell

Tips for Advocates in the Hospital
published in the San Francisco Chronicle - Sunday, April 13, 2008
Read article [on]

How To Say No At Work ... And Still Get Ahead
published in The Christian Science Monitor - March 3, 2008
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Does Your Doctor Hear You?
published in the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine - December 16, 2007
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A Tenderloin Tail
published in the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine - April 30, 2006
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A San Francisco Outing
published in the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine - July 17, 2005
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"Travels With the Aunts"
published  in the New York Times Magazine - November 21, 2004
(includes a sidebar by 15-year-old Nathan Gartrell, "A Nephew's Tale")
Read article [on]
Read sidebar by Nathan Gartrell [on]


Other Publications

Nanette Gartrell & Esther Rothblum (2014): Leading Lesbians Fight Disease and Disability, Journal of Lesbian Studies, 18:1.

Anna Leddy, Nanette Gartrell & Henny Bos (2012): Growing Up in a Lesbian Family: The Life Experiences of the Adult Daughters and Sons of Lesbian Mothers, Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 8:3, 243-257.
Read article [PDF]