Queer studies

Queer studies, sexual diversity studies, or LGBT studies is the study of issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity usually focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender dysphoria, asexual, queer, questioning, intersex people and cultures.[1]

Originally centered on LGBT history and literary theory, the field has expanded to include the academic study of issues raised in biology, sociology, mental illness, anthropology, the history of science,[2] philosophy, psychology, sexology, political science, ethics, and other fields by an examination of the identity, lives, history, and perception of queer people. Marianne LaFrance, the former chair of the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale University,[3] 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?'"[2]

Founding scholar of the discipline, the late Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Queer studies is not the same as queer theory, which is an analytical viewpoint within queer studies (centered on literary studies and philosophy) that challenges the putatively "socially constructed" categories of sexual identity.[2]

Background

Though a new discipline, a growing number of colleges have begun offering academic programs related to sex, sexuality, and sexual orientation.[4] There are currently 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.