Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 34° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

EWU now offering minor in sexuality and queer studies

Eastern Washington University students are reflected in a window on the Cheney campus on Friday, April 12, 2019. EWU’s board of trustees may declare a “severe financial crisis” this month as the university faces unprecedented drops in state funding and other revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington University students are reflected in a window on the Cheney campus on Friday, April 12, 2019. EWU’s board of trustees may declare a “severe financial crisis” this month as the university faces unprecedented drops in state funding and other revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Eastern Washington University has expanded its course offerings to include a minor in sexuality and queer studies – part of an effort, faculty members say, to incorporate more teachings about LGBT communities.

“This is the first part of a larger revision of the curriculum,” said Judy Rohrer, director of the EWU Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

The program already offered a major and a minor in women’s and gender studies, which include courses on feminist movements and theories. The new minor, offered starting this fall quarter, explores the history, activism and contributions of LGBT people.

The minor curriculum includes four courses or 20 credits. Those topics also will be incorporated into the major curriculum, and “sexuality” will be added to the name of the umbrella program, Rohrer said.

“It’s recognizing that there are lots of people who don’t fit a very traditional image of gender roles and expectations around sexuality,” said Mimi Marinucci, a professor who also teaches philosophy at EWU.

Washington State University, Western Washington University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon offer similar minors in sexuality and queer studies.

In addition to promoting inclusivity and curbing discrimination, Rohrer said there are economic arguments for LGBT-focused education. She cited a 2018 Gallup survey that found 12% of Gen Z teenagers identified as something other than heterosexual.

“Employers are looking for students who know how to navigate a diverse, increasingly diverse world,” Rohrer said. “Especially in the service sector, and in education, and in health care, people want employees who have knowledge of marginalized communities.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.