By Amanda Tonoli
Ten students who spent the spring semester exploring the prevalence of LGBTQ – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer – issues from the late 19th century to now have put their findings on display in the basement of Beeghly Center at Youngstown State University.
The course, “LGBTQ Issues in History and Popular Culture,” was offered for the first time this semester. It focused on the history of LGBTQ issues and their portrayal in popular culture – film, music and books.
“So often I’m told that we don’t need to worry about LGBTQ issues or LGBTQ identities – that it’s just a fad – but LGBTQ issues have actually been around for centuries,” said Megan List, assistant professor of teacher education. “It’s important to realize the LGBTQ community has had voices both historically and valuably since the 19th century.”
List said she’s proud the final projects – which include history boxes, interpretive dance, poster presentations, video presentations and more – demonstrated students helping fellow students learn about LGBTQ issues in their own creative ways.
YSU senior student Billy Green, early-childhood education major, agreed.
“It’s cool to see how each person can express their creative connections to LGBTQ,” he said.
Beyond the connections, Sydney Jones, junior student majoring in criminal justice, said just being able to highlight the LGBTQ community in a class is amazing.
Cryshanna Jackson-Leftwich, director of the Women and Gender Studies program, said moving forward she hopes to both continue learning personally and help others learn about LGBTQ’s prominence in history.
“I would hope to bring awareness to the LGBTQ community and debunk stereotypes society has about it,” she said.
Heldreth said it’s especially important to keep educating people about LGBTQ issues “given the political climate.”
“It’s good to know there are still so many advances that need to be made, and the threats against the LGBTQ community need to be acknowledged as a message that there is still need for improvement,” she said.
LGBTQ Issues in History and Popular Culture will be offered again in the 2018 spring semester.
List said it will soon make it’s way to becoming an option to fulfill general-education requirements.