Update on LGBTQ Curricula and Initiatives

Originally published December 16, 2014

The proposed undergraduate minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Studies cleared another benchmark this semester as the three new courses that will form the core requirements all were approved with permanent course numbers. WGST 260 (Perspectives on LGBTQ Studies), WGST 360 (Queer Theories), and WGST 460 (Men and Masculinities) will be regularly offered and serve as the foundation for the proposed minor. The final step of the process, the approval of the minor proposal, has begun. Special thanks to our WGST associate faculty for helping to identify the list of elective courses for the minor. If you currently or are planning to teach a course with content related to LGBTQ Studies, please contact Brian Jara at brian.jara@mail.wvu.edu with that information.

At the University level movement continues on the 2013 proposal for an LGBTQ Center. The WVU Commission for LGBTQ Equity, co-chaired by WGST faculty member Brian Jara, has been working with University administration in the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Student Life, and the Office of the Provost, on exploring what space and staffing resources are available to help launch a center.

Our LGBTQ courses have already begun to have local impact. At this semester’s Women’s and Gender Studies Fair, students in WGST 260 developed two research and outreach projects addressing critical challenges facing LGBTQ youth in the region. One project focused on working with the two local high schools to support the creation of GSA Alliances (Gender & Sexuality Alliance, formerly known as Gay-Straight Alliances). The second project focused on LGBTQ homeless youth and explored whether current homeless shelters are equipped to support LGBTQ youth, as well as what it would take to eventually establish a new nonprofit organization.

Both group projects were well received at the Fair and they have already worked on putting their research into action. The GSA group presented their project to the Morgantown Human Rights Commission, which was moved to draft a resolution supporting local high school GSAs that will be considered by the Morgantown City Council in early 2015.