Queer Studies A Milestone

To the Editor:

I recently attended a conference at Brown University entitled, “Transecting the Academy.” The objective of this conference was to create a forum for discussion and exploration regarding Transgender issues and theory, and how they are integrated into academia. I sat with hundreds of students and listened as panelists lectured on Trans-feminist theory, Queer and Trans representations in visual art and literature and the function of having a Queer Studies/Gender Studies in university curriculum.

I was spellbound and excited and frustrated at the same time. While I reveled in learning, I wished that I had encountered some of this discourse earlier in my college career. In May, I will receive a Bachelor of the Arts in English and studio art. My experience in both of these departments at UVM has been overwhelmingly positive.

I believe that the highly interdisciplinary nature of both departments constitutes a large part of this positive experience (along with some excellent professors). Because both English and studio art focus largely on interpretation and personal expression, I have been able to integrate Queer theory into my work. However, as I sat in the “Transecting the Academy” conference, I realized that in fact I was ignorant of many of the concepts that were up for discussion, concepts that would surely be part of a Queer Studies curriculum.

In anticipation of graduation and my inevitable and reluctant transition to the “real world,” I have started to send out resumes. All of these resumes have been sent to organizations with an LGBTQIA focus as activism and the exploration of Queer-related theory and studies are a foremost passion of mine.

For future UVM students, a Queer Studies minor (and hopefully major) will enable them to gain a greater understanding of Queer issues as they relate to academia and activism. I urge the administration, the faculty and the students to support the creation of a Queer curriculum to give students a chance to pursue their interests in this exciting and progressive area.

Vermont (though we have ways to go) is at the forefront of advancing civil rights for all. It would be beneficial to everyone if the curriculum of the University of Vermont mirrored this movement.

Lacey Roberts Class of 2003