CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State students can pursue classes in Queer Studies starting this summer.
"Queer studies isn't just about those particular identities," said Qwo-Li Driskill, the professor in charge of organizing the Queer Studies curriculum. "It's also a critique of what normal is and how we make up these ideas of normal."
Driskill said "queer" isn't necessarily a derogatory term. For Queer Studies, the word is defined as "not normal."
"A word that a lot of people are really proud of and also a word that can be used to hurt people in certain contexts," Driskill said, "but I also think that words like gay are used to hurt people, you know, so any word can become a derogatory word."
Queer Studies is intended to explore how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and queer communities are defined.
"Straight is really an idea and, so is gay," Driskill said. "It's this idea that we construct as a dominant culture creates these ideas that are pretty arbitrary."
Courses start this summer. Students at Oregon State said they welcome the new course of study.
"I think it gives you a new outlook on things, gives you a different experience," said student Sam Barlow, "and I think as we learn more about other people, it just helps us understand and empathize a little bit better."