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LGBT/Queer Studies

The Breakdown

Is our sexuality determined even before birth?  Are gender roles imposed upon us?  Or do we naturally fall within distinct categories?  What does it mean to identify and be identified as “queer” in today’s society?  If you’re looking to address questions such as these, LGBT/queer studies is likely an appropriate major for you! 

An interdisciplinary pursuit, LGBT/queer studies examines constructions of sexuality and gender and the political and social implications of both.  Through classes ranging from psychology and sociology to literature and women’s studies, you’ll study the development of gender “norms” and the marginalization of those who don’t fall within these pre-determined boundaries.  We do need to mention that LGBT/queer studies is not nearly as common/prevalent as say, history, and you will not find departments at every school.  Further, a handful of colleges and universities might only offer it as a minor/concentration.  Therefore, if you’re certain you want to choose this major, you must closely examine the academic options of the schools you’re considering.

A major in LGBT/queer studies calls for strong writing and communication skills.  Additionally, you will need to be good at analyzing and synthesizing information.  Intellectual curiosity is also paramount as you’ll cover a variety of topics.  Finally, you should be able to casually drop references to the Stonewall riots (a seminal moment in the gay rights movement).

   

Nuts and Bolts

As a LGBT/queer studies major, you’ll engage with all aspects and issues that affect LGBT individuals.  Classes could include: Media and Sexuality, Psychology of Human Sexual Behavior, Confronting AIDS, Psychology of Gender, Queer Identities in Contemporary Culture, Social Justice and American Culture, Gay and Lesbian Literature, Sexuality in Modern Society, Gay and Lesbian Issues in Education and Families, and Sexuality and the State.

Decisions, Decisions

LGBT/queer studies majors are interested in how gender and sexual identity develop and play out in various cultures and societies.  Therefore, they are also likely to be interested in studying anthropology, sociology, psychology, women’s studies, comparative literature, history, African American studies, Latin American studies, human development, rhetoric, East Asian studies, Middle Eastern studies and African studies.

What's Next

All right – we’ll admit it.  A major in LGBT/queer studies does not necessarily prepare you for any specific career track.  However, therein lies the beauty.  The skills you’ll both acquire and hone are applicable to a variety of fields and professional pursuits.  Indeed, if you do a little digging, you’ll find fellow majors in numerous industries.  Like so many liberal arts students, a number of LGBT/Queer studies majors ultimately pursue law and business degrees.  Others land positions as archivists or museum educators.  Journalism and documentary film are also common pursuits as are advertising, public relations,  public policy, and social work.  Truly, just like LGBT/queer studies draws upon many different disciplines, it’s possible for majors to head in many directions.

 

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