Hirstory/Herstory of LGBTQ Studies @ UT
The LGBTQ Studies Program emerges from the LGBTQ/Sexualities Research Cluster, founded in
2004 under the auspices of the Center for Women’s & Gender Studies, when then-director Gretchen Ritter sought to expand the intellectual life of the Center. Since then, the Research Cluster has brought together faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates from across the campus to share research in feminist and queer studies, histories of gender and sexuality, critical race studies, and related fields. It has sponsored visiting speakers, presentations by UT faculty and students, graduate student professional development, and pedagogy workshops. Invited speakers have included Jack Halberstam, David Eng, Douglas Crimp, and José Muñoz. Many different UT faculty, past and present, have shared co-chair responsibilities, including Jill Dolan, Lisa Moore, Gloria González-Lopez, Matt Richardson, Michael Johnson, Hector Dominguez-Ruvalcaba, Omise’eke Tinsley, and Laura Gutiérrez.
The Research Cluster developed curriculum through the LGBTQ/Sexualities track of the WGS Graduate Portfolio, the undergraduate LGBTQ/Sexualities Studies Certificate, the LGBTQ/Sexualities Studies Transcript-Recognized Minor, and core courses such as the WGS 303 Introduction to LGBTQ Studies (first offered in 2014) and cross-listed courses in a range of departments. We have also sought to build strong partnerships with the Departments of African and African Diaspora Studies and Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, as well as the Native American and Indigenous Studies and Asian American Studies Programs, to build support for racial justice at UT and beyond.
The LGBTQ Studies Program, contributes to campus-wide resources for an LGBTQ-friendly and gender-inclusive campus. With faculty affiliates and students across many departments and schools, including Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Social Work, Communications, and others, LGBTQ Studies plays a key role in contributing to UT’s diversity campus-wide. We work with related groups on campus such as the Gender Sexuality Center (also founded in 2004); the Pride and Equity Faculty Staff Association (PEFSA), which led the fight for domestic partner benefits at UT, beginning in 2006; the President’s Ad Hoc Committee on LGBTQ Initiatives; and many student organizations, including the Queer and Trans Students Alliance (which produced the important 2006 report on LGBTQ campus climate) and QPOCA, among others.
Central to our mission is the affirmation of queer and trans students, faculty, and staff including people of color, undocumented people, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, and people with multiple marginalized identities – as well as a commitment to engaging with queer and trans scholarship, including critical race scholarship,disability studies, Indigenous studies, and other interconnected critical frameworks.
As a way to celebrate the diversity out of which LGBTQ Studies has grown, we launched QT Voices, an online magazine celebrating LGBTQ+ voices at UT Austin in June 2020.