Education has allowed students to learn more about themselves and others. The result has motivated society to move forward and accept one another as diverse fellow human beings. As we move into the 21st century, there has never been a better opportunity to ensure the pursuance of underrepresented minority access. Currently, majors and minors are offered in many fields of underrepresented minority study, including Asian-American Studies, Black Studies, Chicano Studies, and East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies. These fields of study, among others, have proven extremely successful at UCSB and at universities throughout the United States.
It is estimated that approximately 1,600 to 2,500 students at UCSB identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBT). This is approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of the total undergraduate population. The African-American population at UCSB is 3 percent of total undergraduates (about 424 students) and the Asian-American population is 16 percent (2,579 students).
The LGBT community at UCSB is another underrepresented minority that should be represented in a field of study. However, there is currently no undergraduate department that offers an official minor in LGBT Studies. Minors in LGBT Studies are offered at many universities nationwide, as well as at UC Berkeley and UC Los Angeles. A minor in LGBT Studies is long overdue at UCSB and would be an asset to our campus, setting a new standard for minority studies as it has done on many other campuses. Students at universities around the world will be called upon to be leaders in the near future. Therefore, it is necessary that we learn about each other.
Courses available within the LBGT Studies at UCB and UCLA include UGIS 20AC: Alternative Sexual Identities & Communities in Contemporary American Society, UGIS 147B: Sexuality, Culture and Colonialism, LGBTS M115: Lesbian and Gay History in the U.S., and LGBTS M133: Chicana Lesbian Literature. These are just a few of the courses addressing this underrepresented minority community and there are already many courses existing within the UCSB curriculum that could be applied to LGBT Studies, such as Asian-American Studies 135: Asian-Pacific American Queer Issues, English 129: Queer Textuality, Sociology 152A: Sociology of Human Sexuality, and Sociology 159LG: Sociology of Lesbian and Gay Communities.
Establishing a minor cannot be accomplished without student support. Without this support, minors would not have been recognized on diplomas and many fields of study would not be in existence. We have the power to create the solutions to our own needs, but only with our loud voices can we create this progressive field of study that will benefit all students.
We have created a survey on our Associated Students Leg Council website (www.asucsb.org) where each and every student can give her or his input in creating this new minor. We also plan to hold a public forum on this issue in the near future and there will be a workshop on LGBT Studies at the UCLGBT Conference (UCSB, Feb. 16-18, 2001). We welcome any and all comments on this important matter. For further information, contact Bill Flores at
Bill Flores is a junior political science and sociology major and A.S. Off-Campus Rep. Elizabeth Van Dyke is a sophomore political science major and A.S. Rep-at-Large.