HBCU to offer Queer Cultural Studies course

Bowie State University will become the first HBCU to offer a course in queer studies.

The Historically Black University is being recognized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for its efforts of inclusion. HBCUs, and many other colleges for that matter, have been slow to recognize the depth and cultural significance of those within the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community but it looks as if Bowie State plans to turn that tide.

The Human Rights Campaign has an outreach program that gives HBCU students an opportunity to make changes on their campuses so that students who identify as LGBTQ will have better experiences.

This course is evidence of the program’s success.

The course was offered as a trial last spring and saw 26 students sign up. Because of its success, the course will now have a full offering for the upcoming Fall and Spring Semesters.

The class is designed to give students a better understanding of queer history, which intersects on issues of race, religion, media, film, and more.

Perhaps what’s most important is that the class will teach, through a historic and academic lens, how vital queer individuals have been to the progress of the nation.

For students who attend HBCUs, there are two individuals who have contributed in a grand manner to social progress in this nation, and both identified as queer.

Bayard Rustin, a noted gay civil rights leader of color, introduced the theory of non-violence to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was one of the chief architects of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Secondly, there is Marsha P. Johnson; the transexual woman of color who helped spark the Stonewall riots.

As a nation, we are a diverse culture of many different backgrounds and identifications. This course at Bowie State will not only help black students understand this nation’s history better, but it will also lend a way of empathy for a community that is not often offered anything in the way of it. I look forward to more HBCUs following the lead of Bowie State.

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