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5 Reasons Why You Should Major or Minor in LGBTQ+ Studies

College is a time to learn, a time to explore and a time to discover. You’ll likely learn a lot about the world and about yourself during these four years. If you identify with the LGBTQ+ community or are looking for a way to learn more about LGBTQ+ issues, why not pick up a major or minor in the subject? We talked to Shane Van Hoy, a student volunteer coordinator for James Madison University’s LGBT & Ally Education program, to find out just how much it has to offer.

1. You’ll be more well-rounded


If you go to a liberal arts school, it’s likely that you’re already required to take a list of general education courses on a variety of subjects. But are there LGBTQ+ classes? Majoring or minoring in this field can broaden your span of knowledge and open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking.

“I think LGBTQ issues definitely intersect with all other identities, making it so someone would be more well-rounded if they chose that as their major or minor,” Van Hoy says. Many people don’t know a lot about it, and it’s important for people to be educated so they can protect themselves or be a better ally.

If you’re worried about people thinking LGBTQ+ studies isn’t a “real major,” don’t be. LGBTQ+ studies can make you a more well-rounded person in general, and that is valuable in itself. You’ll be taking classes that challenge you intellectually, and you may even begin to look at things in a different light—a skill that you can use both in your personal life and in your career. So what do you have to lose?

2. You’ll meet people with similar values to you


If you major or minor in LGBTQ+ studies, you’ll have classes with people who are also interested in equality and inclusion. Who doesn’t love making new, awesome friends? You’ll be able to have meaningful discussions with your classmates, which is sometimes not the case in more competitive programs.

“No matter what your major is, you’re going to meet people with similar interest as you,” Van Hoy says. “But on such a personal issue as your identity, this subject will definitely bring people together!” Having classmates you enjoy spending time with is always a plus, but most importantly, these people can be your support system as you try to figure out who you are. Having friends who will stand up for you in situations of bullying or hate is extremely important, and LGBTQ+ classes are a great way to grow your group of friends.

Related: 9 Reasons to Visit Your School’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center

3. You’ll be able to educate others


If you’re super educated on all things LGBTQ+, you’ll be able to share that information with people you know (and potentially with people you don’t know, too!). Majoring or minoring in LGBTQ+ studies will give you the knowledge and tools you’ll need to educate your family, friends and peers about LGBTQ+ matters.

“Everyone studying these topics would be much more educated when addressing any platforms regarding LGBT issues,” Van Hoy says. If this is a subject you’re passionate about, it’s important for you to share your social awareness with those around you! Studying LGBTQ+ issues will give you the responsibility of helping end hatred and violence against LGBTQ+ individuals. If you’re sharing what you know with others, people in the queer community will stand a better chance of being understood and accepted—and live to their fullest potential.

4. It will open new doors


LGBTQ+ studies are relatively new, and it’s definitely a growing subject. Although some people may think there won’t be jobs for graduates in the field, majoring or minoring in it can open a ton of doors for you. You’ll definitely gain some valuable connections that will be beneficial when searching for a job later on, and you’ll be qualified for positions that many other people won’t be. People majoring or minoring in LGBTQ+ studies go on to work at non-profits, become professors or counselors and even work in law and politics—think about it, you could change the world!

In addition to having the opportunity to land an awesome job, you’ll be able to help your company make its workplace more LGBTQ+-friendly. “Majoring or minoring in LGBTQ+ studies would open a whole new platform for LGBT rights and establishing a more firm movement for equality,” Van Hoy says. Many companies nowadays are looking to make their work environments more inclusive, and might call on your knowledge to help them in this endeavor.

5. You’ll take some awesome classes


Majoring or minoring in LGBTQ+ studies will give you the opportunity to take some really cool classes. “Gender and Sexual Diversity in the French Novel and Cinema of the 1980s and 1990s” at U of A, “LGBTQ Perspectives in Pop Music” at UCLA and “Drugs and Social Justice” at Cornell are just some examples. If you’re sick of history, math and English, LGBTQ+ studies will definitely keep things interesting—and relevant.


Whether you’re looking to major, minor or just take classes in LGBTQ+ studies, it definitely has a ton of benefits. You’ll learn a lot about the world and about yourself, while meeting cool people and opening doors for new opportunities! What’s not to like?

Rachel graduated from the Honors College at James Madison University in May 2017 and is pursuing a career in the media/PR industry. She majored in Media Arts & Design with a concentration in journalism and minored in Spanish and Creative Writing. She loves spending time with friends and family, traveling, and going to the beach.
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