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Students and experts excited about TMU’s new LGBTQ2S+ minor

By Krishika Jethani

Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) students and experts say they are excited about the school’s decision to launch an LGBTQ2S+ studies minor in the 2023-24 academic year.

Earlier this month, the school announced that the Senate committee’s approval of the new minor as part of the sociology department in the Faculty of Arts.

“The new minor will support further development of LGBTQ2S+ programming and scholarship, and encourage organization of LGBTQ2S+ activities and initiatives,” the school said in an email to The Eyeopener.

To achieve the minor requirements, students must complete six courses. In order to successfully fulfil requirements, one of those courses must be either “Queer Sociology” or “LGBTQ2S+ Histories.” The courses will also be offered as liberal or open electives for students from all programs to take.

Sarah Hussein, a queer third-year nursing student, is happy with TMU’s decision to introduce this minor and educate students more about sexuality and gender identity.

Although the Toronto Metropolitan University Students’ Union (TMSU) offers equity centres for students to join, the school said the new curriculum will offer a supportive environment for both students and faculty to learn more about the field of study.

“I think it’s amazing [that] they’re making it into a minor instead of just a student group because I feel it really validates the queer community and shows that there is a whole knowledge base,” said Hussein. “There’s queer people everywhere so if people can learn more, then maybe interactions with queer people will be better and overall there will be less violence toward the community.”

The school said in its press release that the new minor will “allow students to connect with the rich history and present of LGBTQ2S+ movements and personally engage students from queer and trans communities.”

The LGBTQ2S+ studies minor will also allow faculty members who have an interest in the community to build relationships with students.

Margaret Yap, an associate professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management, is an expert in diversity in organizations with a focus on race and gender. She said this is a very important initiative taken by the university. The LGBTQ2S+ community is a “significant group in our society and we have a big representation at our university,” said Yap. “It is very important that we…give [the LGBTQ2S+ community] a voice.” 

However, Aleksandra Alymova, a trans student in her second-year of performance production, said she is skeptical about the school’s decision to launch this minor.

“I think that the university is doing a good thing and I think it’s going to benefit a lot of people but I can’t help but be critical,” she said.

Alymova explained that people who are not interested in queer history will not be attracted to this minor. “I guess I’m just disillusioned with these types of things,” she said. 

Joe Recupero, an associate professor in sport media, thinks it’s a “fantastic” idea and opportunity for staff, students and faculty to understand the context of the LGBTQ2S+ community. 

“I don’t think this is necessarily a niche minor, I think this is for everyone to actually learn more about a really interesting part of history.”

Recupero said he had been thinking about proposing a course about LGBTQ2S+ in sports prior to hearing the announcement of the new minor. The sport media program can benefit from learning about LGBTQ2S+ issues in sports, he said.

“I think the most important thing is once we know more about [the LGBTQ2S+ community], it will also allow society to function in a much more inclusive manner,” said Yap. 

The school said it hopes all members will take this opportunity to learn more about the LGBTQ2S+ community and their contribution to society. 

Simone Cellario, a second-year sociology student, believes the more the community knows about LGBTQ2S+ communities, the easier it will be to accept them.

“The more attention there is, the more people will feel like it’s not a problem being queer,” they said. 

“Also, queer people that feel the pressure of society in terms of coming out will probably feel more welcomed and accepted in this passage.”

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