Guest Commentary Opinion

Guest column: Students should enroll in LGBT courses

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What does it really mean to be LGBT? Have there always been LGBT peoples? What does it mean when we say people are born LGBT (or born straight)? How are both gender and sex socially constructed? How do gender and sexual identities interact with other identities and people? What is bisexual erasure? Why do straight men frequently have sex with other straight men?

If any of the above questions piqued your interest (and the answers to each are many times more complex than one would think), sign up for WGSS 2360, Introduction to GLBT (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender) Studies.

This academic course can be used to satisfy Philosophy, Language and Culture core curriculum requirements, to fulfill an elective requirement or to begin a minor in GLBT Studies.

Part history, part sociology and psychology, part political science, part literature, part theory and part biology, WGSS 2360 is interdisciplinary and provides students with numerous opportunities to incorporate perspectives from their major into course discussions and projects.

In addition to LGBT students, those who are androgynous, asexual, genderqueer or intersex, for example, need this course.

Sometimes I hear someone say something along the lines of “but I’m not gay” when encouraging them to sign up for WGSS 2360. That does not matter; GLBT Studies is for everybody. All students need is an open mind and a willingness to read, write and discuss.

The LGBT community is far more diverse and complicated than most currently realize. This course will help all students become more effective allies, as they will be equipped with terminology and history, they will have misconceptions clarified and they will become more aware of the dynamics of privilege and oppression when it comes to sex, gender, gender expression and sexuality, for example.

This course also gives all students opportunities to examine how invisible and very powerful cultural norms have shaped their identities and perspectives. Heteronormativity and cisgender normativity profoundly define and shape every aspect of our lives. In WGSS 2360, students learn why all of this matters and how to see these dynamics at work.

Society does not provide many safe places to have academic conversations about LGBT people and their experiences, but WGSS 2360 is one of those few places. Each semester, students quickly bond with each other and learn how to have what are sometimes difficult and maybe initially uncomfortable conversations. Conversations are also focused on various poems, movies, plays, songs and manifestos, as well as academic articles.

In sum, GLBT Studies is perhaps most important because it will challenge, in some way or another, (almost) everything students have learned so far about all things to do with sex, gender and sexuality.

They will learn how people identify—rather how society allows them to identify—is constantly changing and differs vastly from place to place. LGBT or not, students are also surprised as they learn how many LGBT people there are and how much they have influenced the trajectory of history.

Finally, students across the spectra of sex and gender report that this course helps them find their voice and learn more about themselves.

As an added bonus, in a world ever more attuned to minorities, background in GLBT Studies will only give students additional advantages regardless of where they go or what they do after graduation.

Guest columnist Andrew Joseph Pegoda is a lecturer teaching Introduction to GLBT Studies and can be reached at [email protected].


  • If Pegodi has how own way … students would be forced to take his class.

    Why should anyone take this class. And what is GLBT Studies good for?

    Can people just go about their lives, being either straight or gay, and be an accountant, designer, etc., without their sexuality being the vain of their existence.

    With more gays coming out as Conservatives, I’m actually softening my views.

    • He JUST said what it’s good for. You are ignorant.

      It’s called opening your mind and understanding people’s struggle. Like taking an African American studies course or Arab Studies.

        • Why don’t you open your mind and find out for yourself instead? While you’re at it, get a real job instead of being a troll.

          • If you’ve read before … I own a business … I employee people … I delegate … so I can spend part of my day … among people who think they are smart.

    • His name is DR. PEGODA!!!!!
      This class has a variety of objectives it is “good for,” and I would suggest to every and all persons to take this class no matter what sexual orientation. The more people can understand what entails LGBTQ+, the less hate in the world.


    • Can’t really “go about” our lives when LGBT people are still discriminated against and even murdered simply for being LGBT. Conservatives are the ones who make sexuality the “vain of their existence”. They are the ones who politicize LGBT people and the struggles we face simply because they don’t want to acknowledge our existence. Maybe if you took the class you’d learn that discussing these topics is a step closer to normalizing the existence of LGBT people in our society and ending discrimination.

  • How about a class which ignores all of those division politics and teaches students to just be Americans if they are citizens, or whatever they are citizens of?

    • You don’t solve problems by ignoring them… our differences make us who we are and acknowledging them isn’t a bad thing because it helps us accept each other for who we are. Your argument is the same as those who say they “don’t see color” we are all different and that’s okay.

  • No it won’t,
    It eats my credits that I can use to study something I am interested.

    There are better ways to promote acceptance then a required course, like better events on campus about GLBT+

    Love does not exist, just chemicals in your brain.
    Using such nonsense only lets Anti GLBT use their nonsense

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