The Department of Feminist Studies plans to expand the LGBTQ Minor by adding three new classes; two in Winter quarter and one during Spring

New Director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) studies minor and assistant professor Jennifer Tyburczy plans to revitalize the Department of Feminist Studies’ LGBTQ minor, which has been offered since 2004.

Tyburczy aims to offer students a comprehensive background in new LGBTQ theories as well as the global history of LGBTQ studies. The minor currently provides an interdisciplinary examination of the lives, experiences, identities and representations of LGBTQ individuals. Students seeking the LGBTQ studies minor will take feminist studies courses in addition to a variety of interdisciplinary courses.

Tyburczy said she wants the minor to connect with social issues from around the world and focus on LGBTQ developments within the UCSB student population.

“Top priorities will include strengthening the intersections of gender and sexuality studies with race, ethnicity, class, and disability studies from a national and transnational lens, forging new social justice and scholarly ties across disciplines,” Tyburczy said in an email.

Tyburczy said the minor is expanding with two new courses being offered during next Winter quarter and one new course during Spring quarter.

“I will offer two new courses this winter: an upper-division undergraduate course called ‘Trans-Art’ that will explore transgender, genderqueer, and gender fluid artists and artworks across genres and geographies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and a queer theory graduate course,” Tyburczy said in email. “In the spring, I will offer an undergraduate version of queer theory.”

According to Tyburczy, the minor will be tailored to better prepare the student body for future careers in a variety of fields.

“Students will gain broad knowledge in a growing segment of the national and global population that remains little understood by mainstream institutions,” Tyburczy said in email. “This knowledge can be employed in a variety of arenas: from activism and public advocacy work, to the law and the health sciences, to the arts and educational environments.”

Second-year communication major Ciara Baker, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, said the LGBTQ studies minor educates students on global issues concerning sexuality, gender and identities and understanding systematic marginalization through critical thinking.

“I think the minor is important because it produces well-rounded students because of the intersectionality it covers and it also makes students more aware, so that they can be more inclusive and successful in any career that they choose,” Baker said in an email. “The LGBTQ minor allows UCSB students to broaden their field of study and understand race, gender, and other identities.”

Third-year sociology major Madeline Stefani said she is pursuing the minor because it focuses on viewing “gender rigidity” as one of the main causes of inequality.

“I think that it covers important movements in our history as humans that are not covered anywhere else and gives students the opportunity to explore social issues, especially ones relating to the LGBTQ community,” Stefani said in an email. “It’s another area of marginalization that is not really discussed in the history courses. I think it should be just as important as an ethnicity requirement.”

Feminist studies professor Leila Rupp said many students pursue the minor to better understand the identities of their loved ones.

“Some students do the minor for personal reasons, either because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer or have family members who are and want to understand the place of sexuality, in combination with other factors, in shaping life experiences,” Rupp said in an email.

Rupp said students also enter the program to better recognize the problems of LGBTQ members in intellectual and career-oriented domains.

“Some students pursue the minor for professional reasons, so that in their chosen careers they understand the lives, experiences, and identities of LGBTQ people,” Rupp said in an email. “And still others do the minor for primarily intellectual reasons, because they find the subject matter compelling.”

A version of this story appeared on page 7 of the Thursday, November 5, 2015 print edition of the Daily Nexus.