LGBT Studies, an undergraduate course



LGBT 200: Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies

Created by: Marlen Harrison and Phillip Schnarrs in consultation with Dr. Robert Heasley, Dr. Valerie Gunter, Jimmy Alunni, and Coby Brubaker


LGBT 200: Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies

Created by: Marlen Harrison and Phillip Schnarrs in consultation with Dr. Robert Heasley, Dr. Valerie Gunter, Jimmy Alunni, and Coby Brubaker

Inspired by:

Naomi Pinion

Jill Williams

Course Catalogue Description:

This interdisciplinary course offers an introduction to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies. It traces the emergence of LGBT Studies as an academic field and considers what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. For example, how have the sociohisotorical, cultural, and political understandings of heterosexuality and homosexuality shaped the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) individuals in modern times? This course exposes students to current debates concerning LGBT individuals by presenting theories surrounding sex, gender and sexuality; examining historical and sociological contexts shaping how LGBT people are viewed by the larger society; understanding the impact of heteronormativity and homophobia on LGBT individuals; and studying representations of LGBT individuals in both classical and contemporary media. Furthermore, this course will examine the intersections of such demographics as race, class, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation so that students may gain a deeper understanding of the LGBT experience.


  • Survey of both historical and contemporary development of LGBT identities, communities, cultures, and movements (e.g., cross-culturally, in response to AIDS, legal rights, coming out, etc) and the theoretical approaches (e.g., essentialist vs. constructivist, performativity, queer theory, etc) used to examine the lived experiences of LGBT individuals.

  • Expose students to various interdisciplinary perspectives (e.g., biological, psychological, sociological, religious, philosophical, political, medical, anthropological, etc) concerned with sex, gender, and sexuality and current debates around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sexualities.

  • Examine the intersections of race, class, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation as well as issues of oppression, marginalization, regulation and representation of LGBT sexualities in classical and contemporary literature, art and media.


Students will have an understanding of contemporary and historical issues facing the LGBT community, will develop critical stances regarding theoretical approaches to the study of sexuality, LGBT studies, LGBT identities, heteronormativity and homophobia..

Students will possess an interdisciplinary understanding of the lived experiences of LGBT individuals within contemporary U.S. society and around the world and will be able to detail the development of Sexuality & LGBT studies, from its beginnings to the current state of the disciplines.

Students will be able to attach specific well-known theorists, scholars and philosophers to specific developments within the discipline and their contributions to the fields of Sexuality and LGBT studies; will be able to describe the creation and evolution of sexualized identities; and will be able to identify and explain how the social and historical contexts of specific periods shaped the identities and the perceptions of LGBT individuals.

Course Structure and Approach:

This course involves several primary learning components: reading, discussion, group work, papers, blogs, presentations, lectures, and films. Students are expected to complete assigned readings prior to the class for which they are assigned, attend classes, participate in large and small group discussions as well as formal and informal presentations, with the expectation of increasing student participation and performance. Students should feel free to speak their minds, but not at the expense of other’s opinions and beliefs.


Duberman, Martin. A Queer World: The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader.New York University Press, 1997.

Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality.. Basic Books, 2000.

Bernstein, K. My Gender Workbook. Routledge, 1998.


Participation (15%) This includes attendance, participation in discussions, group work, and class presentations. Attendance is required.

Research Portfolio (20%) This assignment will require that you familiarize yourself with LGBT-related resources. You will choose a topic, create an annotated bibliography of 10 resources on the topic, gather 5 documents from the bibliography and summarize these documents in a short written paper, 3-5 pages. A more detailed description will be provided in class and you may work on this throughout the semester. Late portfolios will be penalized. Please post to your blog.

Blog Assignments (on-line journal) (15% +5%) Rather than hand-in a number of printed responses to readings and course discussions, you will create (via an online presence where you’ll post your thoughts and reactions. You will be expected to write at least ten blog entries throughout the semester, approximately 2-3 paragraphs in length (15%). Additionally you will be required to read and respond to your classmates’ blogs (20 times throughout the semester, 5%).

Multicultural Research Project (15%): The objective of this assignment is to give students a chance to research, discover and explore LGBT issues in other countries and cultures and provide information from outside the course texts. You may work individually or in small groups of no more than three. Your presentation must be no more than10 minutes and should include a handout that has a) name and contact info of presenters; b) summary of project purpose and scope, and explanation of researcher expectations before undertaking research; c) recommended reading list (at least 5 sources, only one of which may be an internet resource); and d) summary of what each presenter learned in relation to their expectations. Post this to your blog, please.

Reflective Letters (5% + 10%): Twice during the semester you will write a letter to your instructor reflecting on your experience in this course. Your reflective letters will be written to your instructor and should be written with an appreciation for and an understanding of the letter genre. Your voice may be informal and you may use "you". You will think about your progress throughout the semester and discuss your conclusions both at the mid-term and at the end of the semester. You may make suggestions for future courses, comment on specific assignments or components in the course, reflect on your progress, etc. Post your letters on your blog. Mid-term letter, 3-5 paragraphs (5%); Final letter, 12-15 paragraphs (10%).

Quizzes (15%) You will have a number of un-announced quizzes throughout the semester.

Grading System: It will be a 100 point system, 90-100 is an A, etc. Only extremely exceptional work can earn an A.


Attendance is mandatory. After 4 free absences you will lose one letter grade. We will also adhere to practices of human to human consideration by avoiding tardiness (excessive tardies will count as absences), splinter discussions and so forth.

All reading assignments should be completed by the date on which they are scheduled. It is required to bring the text to class that the readings are in. Come prepared to discuss the readings! You are responsible for knowing all assignment due dates and schedule changes.

Plagiarism Statement:

Unacknowledged borrowing of ideas, facts, phrases, wordings, or whole words in a paper, as well as the copying of another Students’ work all constitute plagiarism and are unacceptable in the university community. Students turning in plagiarized work may receive a failing grade for the essay or for the entire course. For more information, see the university policy on plagiarism in your student handbook, or ask me. We will also be discussing this topic more in class. (Schragel, 2006, Plagiarism statement)

Schragel, J. (2006). English 101 syllabus. Retrieved August 20th, 2007, from

The Writing Center : Please remember that IUP has an incredible Writing Center located in Eicher Hall. They have walk-in and appointment times, and can assist you in a number of ways. Please consider visiting the Writing Center if you’re feeling anxious or stressed about your writing for this class. They will not help you with grammar, punctuation, etc, but they will help you to organize your thoughts, plan your essays, and develop your ideas! And best of all, it’s FREE!

You cannot make up any in class group work credit we do, or any participation points. No late papers will be accepted. Do the readings, come to class, participate, and hand you papers in on time!!! Have fun!


Week 1: Introductions

Video: The Celluloid Closet

Week 2: Sexing The Body: “Dueling Dualisms” p.1

Videos: Excerpts from Sex and Gender and The Pinks and the Blues

Week 3: Queer:Part One: Mapping Identities: Gender and Sexuality

#2 “The Event of Becoming” p.17

#4 “Latina Lesbians” p.35

#7 “The Hijras of India” p. 82

#8 “Are Modern Western Lesbian Women and Gay Men a Third Gender?” p.87

Video: Treyf 1998 55" VT 7053

Week 4: Queer:Part Two: The Terrains of History

#13 “Homosexual and Heterosexual: Questioning the Terms” p.177

On Reserve: Jennings, K. Becoming Visible. Chapter 13 “Stonewall and the Dawning of a New Day” pp.195-214

Video: Before Stonewall

Week 5: Queer: Part Three: Mind/Body Relations: Science and Psychology

#23 “Creating Natural Distinctions” p.309

#26 “Difference and Diversity: Gay and Lesbian Couples” p.345

Film: If These Walls Could Talk 2

Begin working on My Gender Workbook

Week 6: Sexing the Body: “That Sexe Which Prevaileth” p. 30; “Of Gender and Genitals” p.45

Video: Normal

Week 7: Sexing the Body:“Should There Be Only Two Sexes?” p. 78;

Queer:#12 “Creating Good-Looking Genitals in the Service of Gender” p. 153

Video: Mariposas en el Andamio 74”

Week 8: Multicultural research project presentations

Week 9: Movie Week, TBA

Week 10: Queer: Part Four: Laws and Markets

#29 “Homosexual Identity and Gay Rights” p.399

#32 “Colin Powell’s Reflection: Status, Behavior, and Discrimination” p. 431

Video: Coming Out Under Fire

Recommended Readings

#50 “AIDS and Adolescence” p. 649

#51 “Women and AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa” p. 663

Week 11: Queer:

#37 “Economic Identity/Sexual Identity” p. 502

#38 “The Different Dilemmas of Lesbian and Gay Professionals” p. 508

#39 “The Growth of the Gay and Lesbian Market” p. 514

Video: Gay and Lesbian Identity – But I was a Girl

Week 12: Guest Speakers/presentations, TBA

Week 13: Portfolio Topics Due!

Queer:Part Five: Sexual Policies, Sexual Politics

#42 “Teenage Narratives of Lesbian Desire” p. 549

#44 “One Generation Post-Stonewall: Political Contests over Lesbian and Gay School Reform” p. 572

#47 “The Virtual and Actual Identities of Older Lesbians and Gay Men” p. 615

Video: Out: Stories of Lesbian and Gay Youth / When Paris Was a Woman / Golden Threads

Week 14: Sexing the Body: “Gender Systems: Toward a Theory of Human Sexuality” p. 233

Week 15: Final conferences, small group, with instructor.

Week 16: Finals Week – party! Portfolios due.


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