LGBT News in Academia: Morehouse Offers new course on LGBTQ history and culture

February 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

I recently read an article written by Marcus Lee, a second year sociology major at Morehouse College, one of the most prestigious historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the country. The article read “Morehouse offers LGBTQ course.” My eyes lit up with surprise while my jaw dropped to show my disbelief. My head instantly was filled with questions.

Later on, I saw a news segment on 11 Alive News that explained this story more in depth. This student, being a sociology major, was very observant about the culture of Morehouse and the normal relations between the male students. He noticed that there was much brotherly love amongst the students, but as soon as the issue or topic pertaining to the LGBTQ community arose, the atmosphere quickly shifted from being amiable to uncomfortable. Morehouse does have a history of not being the most inclusive when it comes to homosexuality and gender nonconformity. In 2002 a Morehouse was the center of controversy for a hate crime when a student who was profiled as gay was attacked and beaten by another student. And just last year, Morehouse instituted a new policy that disallowed any student from wearing non-male gender conforming articles of clothing and accessories. I remember discussing this topic with my friends, some who attended Morehouse, to see how they felt about this new policy. It was a bit tricky to reconcile my belief that we should exhibit freedom of expression as United States citizens, but Morehouse is a private institution, and students must sign a contract to adhere to their policies before being formally accepted by the institution. One of my friends jokingly stated “Maybe some of them should transfer to Spelman!”

So Morehouse allowing this course to be taught is MAJOR progress towards acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity of the LGBTQ community.  The course is being taught by an alumnus of the school, who is now a professor at Yale University, via Skype. In other news, Morehouse has a new homosexual-heterosexual alliance/student advocacy organization in existence called Morehouse SafeSpace. I personally have to say that given Morehouse’s history, I am very proud to see these major milestones towards acceptance and inclusivity. Although Georgia Tech has been working to promote acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity of all persons regardless of race, gender, gender-identity, religious preference, political affiliation, and sexual orientation, there has never been an LGBTQ course taught at this institution. I hope that one day Georgia Tech will offer this course, and that this inspirational story will produce a ripple effect to all other colleges and universities across the nation.

– Alfonza L.

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