| Gay/Lesbian Politics
Y396 | 3309 | Sanders
The modern gay and lesbian movement was born in the New York City
Stonewall riots of 1969. Thirty years after what began as an angry and
disorganized appeal for basic human dignity, gays and lesbians have entered
the mainstream of American interest group politics. At the ballot box, in
Congress, state legislatures, and the courts, and via the media, protest
rallies, and organizations from Washington to college campuses, they are
seeking recognition, challenging institutions, and asserting claims to
rights and protections under law. Yet they remain the nation's most
controversial, misunderstood, and disliked minority, and most Americans
remain deeply ambivalent and conflicted over the gay movement's struggle for
rights and visibility.
After a brief historical overview, we will read about and discuss
the key issues in politics and law where gays and their conservative
opponents do battle: non-discrimination laws, hate crimes, equal marriage
and adoption rights, AIDS policy. We'll also examine public opinion, voter
behavior, and political campaign tactics, and highlight some of the
controversial philosophical questions over sexual identity which influence
the movement's profile and priorities.
Substantial student participation through discussion will be
expected. Readings will consist of several current books and a course pack.
As this is an intensive writing course, grading will be based on substantial
written work, and the exam format will be take-home essays. The course will
incorporate video and guest speakers, and students will be encouraged to
explore the substantial resources available on the web.