Sexual Diversity Studies, also known as Queer studies, or LGBT studies, is the study of issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity usually focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex people and cultures. (The acronymis often written LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQI, GBLT, etc.)
NOTE: Sexual Diversity Studies is not the same as queer theory, an analytical viewpoint within queer studies (centered on literary studies and philosophy) that challenges the putatively "socially constructed" categories of sexual identity.
Originally centered on LGBT history and literary theory, the field has expanded to include the academic study of issues raised in biology, sociology, anthropology, the history of science,philosophy, psychology, sexology, political science, ethics, and other fields by an examination of the identity, lives, history, and perception of queer people. Among these questions are how we frame and categorize sexual differences, why we fear some and celebrate others, how medical, religious, and political authorities respond to them. What is the nature of sexual identity and orientation? How and why is sexuality labeled as lesbian, heterosexual, perverse, normal, gay, or queer? How do cultures at different times and places divide the sexual from the non-sexual?
The first undergraduate course in the United States on LGBTQ studies was taught at the University of California, Berkeley in the spring of 1970. It was followed by similar courses in the fall of 1970 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and at the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL). The UNL course, taught by Louis Crompton, led to the introduction in the state legislature of a bill (eventually defeated) which would have banned all discussion of homosexuality in that state's universities and colleges.
Today, there are over 40 certificate and degree granting programs with at least five institutions in the United States offering an undergraduate major; a growing number of similar courses are offered in countries other than the United States.
Marianne LaFrance, the former chair of the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale University, says, "Now we're asking not just What causes homosexuality? But also what causes heterosexuality? And why is sexuality so central in some people's perspective?"
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, the official publication of APA Division 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues), is a scholarly journal dedicated to the dissemination of information in the field of sexual orientation and gender diversity. It is a primary outlet for research particularly as it impacts practice, education, public policy, and social action.
The journal is intended to be a forum for scholarly dialogue that explores the multifaceted aspects of sexual orientation and gender diversity. Its focus is on empirical research (both quantitative and qualitative), theoretical and conceptual articles, in-depth reviews of the research and literature, clinical case studies, book reviews, and letters to the editor.
Many issues include a major article or set of articles on a specific theme of importance to theory, research, and/or practice in the psychology of sexual orientation and gender diversity. In addition, articles address professional issues, methodological and theoretical issues, and comments on previous publications in the journal as well as such topics that advance the psychological knowledge of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their families, couples and marriage, health and health care, aging, work, and careers.
The journal includes all areas of psychological research, especially developmental, social, clinical, community, counseling, family, gender roles and gender nonconformity, lifespan and aging, cultural diversity including race and ethnicity, and international issues.
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"Storytellers are powerful and we are all storytellers," suggests Tsara Shelton, author of the book Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up..
LGBT Awareness & Events
List of important LGBT awareness dates and coming sexual diversity events.