WGST 19.1 Queer Marriage, Hate Crimes and Will and Grace: Contemporary Issues in LGBTS Studies
This course will explore a wide range of contemporary issues and debates in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies. We will do this by examining, in some detail, several issues now integral to present LGBT rights movements, but will expand our focus beyond the immediate concerns of political organizing to the broader questions these issue raise.
The LGBT movement, now three decades old, is facing serious growing pains. It has won toleration and some mainstream acceptance, but must now decide its current needs, agendas, social and political goals. We will look at three important areas of discussion: challenges to the legal system such as the repeal of sodomy laws and hate crime legislation; evolving social constructions of LGBT life such as gay marriage, the "gayby-boom," and the effect of AIDS on community formation; the threat of queer sexuality especially as it relates to issues of childhood sexuality, public sex, and transgender identity. We will be reading primary source material, including Supreme Court decisions, as well as critical theory by writers such as Lani Guinier and Samuel Delany. We will also look at how popular culture, movies like Basic Instinct, Scary Movie, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and television Will and Grace, Six Feet Under, both reflect and shape popular opinion. We will also examine how race, class, gender, and "the body" are integral to these topics and how queer representation in popular culture shapes both public discourse, and the LGBT cultural and political agendas.