Fresno State has made a major push for LGBTQ2+ Studies on campus. The university will begin to offer a new minor program, LGBTQ2+ Studies, in fall 2023.
The minor will be added to the established Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies programs within the College of Social Sciences. Along with the new minor, five additional courses will be added to the curriculum that focuses on queer history, queer representation and queer migration.
Students, staff, faculty and community members gathered on Friday, Sept. 9 to celebrate the LGBTQ2+ representation on campus during a promotional video shoot in front of the fountain.
“[The minor] is meant to be applicable to many people across all [of] campus. It’s one of those minors that’s meant to really serve people who are especially gonna be working with communities in diverse communities,” said Katherine Fobear, coordinator of the minor.
Fobear said students’ continuous push for representation at Fresno State led to the new minor program being incorporated on campus, enabling the LGBTQ2+ community to be more involved in the school curriculum. Fresno State United Student Pride (USP) club president, Ingeborg Kisbye, attended the video shoot and spoke about the experiences of LGBTQ2+ students on campus.
“We’ve been on this campus [and] we’ve been [the subject of] hate crimes and we’ve been attacked. Finally being able to have a minor on campus that represents who we are and who we’ve always been and to educate people, as well as gay people, to have like-minded classes and classes that actually focus on gay history for once is important,” Kisbye said.
Fresno State has had a tumultuous history in its relationship with the LGBTQ2+ community in the past. The Collegian recently detailed multiple instances of discrimination toward the university’s LGBTQ2+ students in the late 1980s, including harassment from the Ku Klux Klan during a conference of western states for lesbian and bisexual students, and the burning of the USP’s booth when they were still going by the name of Gay, Lesbian Student Alliance (GLSA).
Another individual who was present at the video shoot was Fresno State alumna Elsie Saldana. She recalled that during her time in the ‘60s there was nothing similar to the new LGBTQ2+ Studies minor available on campus during her time. Emmanuel Agaz-Torres, a Fresno State student, emphasized the importance of having a minor now accessible to those wanting it.
“I believe having a minor in LGBTQ2+ Studies not only really solidifies the need to listen to the community and support the community, but also allows others to have access to understanding what the community stands for,” he said.