Adam Polaski

'Homosexuality as Gateway Drug' and Queer Studies

Filed By Adam Polaski | November 16, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: Baylor University, LGBT studies, queer studies, sociology

Last week, an image surfaced that showed a unique course listing over at Baylor University. The course, listed as "special topic in Sociology," was named "Homosexuality as Gateway Drug."

It's not clear exactly what the course would have covered -- probably, of course, that homosexuality leads to drug experimentation, alcoholism, and a dearth of other impediments to morality -- but it's clear that it wasn't going to honestly and openly talk about gay history and culture. After all, this is Baylor University, the Baptist school that prohibited students from forming a gay student organization just last year.

The course has since been renamed to the less inflammatory "Family Studies," but it will be eye-opening to see what the curriculum is like in a course originally intended to be called "Homosexuality as Gateway Drug."


Despite the anti-gay negativity implicit in the Baylor offering, seeing the course got me thinking about whether I have any options to really hone in on LGBT studies here at my college. We don't have a queer studies major or minor, but would it be easy to create one?

Last year I thought about petitioning for an LGBT studies minor at the college. It would encompass six courses from various departments -- sociology, politics, psychology -- and work to achieve an understanding of LGBT history, LGBT issues, and modern struggles for the movement.

A number of schools throughout the country already have queer studies programs. A few, including Ohio State, Miami University, and York University, actually offer an undergraduate major in sexuality studies, and dozens of others (see one list here) offer a minor in the subject area.

I'm curious if any Projectors have participated in any LGBT Studies or Queer Studies programs in colleges. If so, what did you get out of it?

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At the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health we have a certificate program in LGBT Health Research that has been active for the past 4-5 years. We also have a number of people involved in LGBT health research.

The University of Colorado has an LGBT Studies certificate program (which is sort of like a minor, only inter-disciplinary). They also have a special Lavender Graduation for participants, which is nice. The program's mostly courses in English, Women's Studies, and Sociology. I'm a bit disappointed, because it's so heavily biased towards literature and I was hoping for some biology, psychology, anthropology, history, political science... stuff like that. But it's good that the program exists.