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Overview

There has been a significant number of high-impact jobs working with the gay and lesbian population much longer than there has been an entire major on which to build a foundation for those jobs. Times do change. Gay and lesbian studies is a multidisciplinary major that will give you a strong body of knowledge in gay and lesbian history and culture. The gay and lesbian community—often called the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) community—has faced many challenges over the years and still faces many challenges today. You’ll study how this culture has affected and been affected by heterosexual culture, and the conflicts that have arisen between them. You’ll learn about the LGBT population’s concerns with civil rights in the workplace and home, struggles with public policy, and battles over legal issues. Media portrayal of the LGBT community will be discussed, as well as how the media has both harmed and helped their efforts to establish their place in the culture.

With this major, sexuality will be treated as an important element of the humanities and social sciences. You’ll study sexuality critically, examining its role in history, art, literature, and psychology, among other fields. The relationship between identity and sexuality has changed over the years and you’ll gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be LGBT today, the intricacies of LGBT relationships, and the number of ways those relationships are viewed by society. You’ll also spend time on how LGBT relationships are perceived within different cultures and social classes.

Art, music, politics, psychology, philosophy, and literature will all be part of your gay and lesbian studies major. If you plan to obtain a master’s degree in psychology, social work, or sociology, this major offers a solid background for a career working with this population. You don’t have to be involved in a LGBT relationship to major in gay and lesbian studies—this major is open to all.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Asian American Gender and Sexuality

  • Cultural History of Queer Studies

  • Feminist Theory and Research

  • Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights

  • Gay and Lesbian Perspectives in History

  • Gender, Race, and Sexuality

  • Lesbian and Gay Literature

  • Lesbian and Gay Politics

  • Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality

  • Psychology of the Lesbian Experience

  • Religion in the Gay and Lesbian Population

  • Sexual Orientation and Health


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

As with other humanities majors, your best preparation will be a broad spectrum of courses in all disciplines. Take upper-level courses in science and math, such as calculus and physics. Good reading, writing, and spoken communication skills will be vital to your success in a gay and lesbian studies major, so be sure to take advanced courses in English, languages, history, and other humanities disciplines. If your school or community has any gay and lesbian organizations, becoming involved might give you some good perspectives with which to begin your college studies. Volunteer work is another good option.


GRADUATE PROGRAMS & CAREERS