Is your major queer friendly?

Towards the end of the last school year, a student at a borrel for our Major (Governance, economics and development) said that some students did not want to major in GED because they did not think it was queer friendly.

This statement made me step back a bit, as I’d never thought of it.

But now that I do, I have no idea where the concern is.

First, development means freedom and flourishing, which benefits the LGBTQ+ communities, as well as the poor, the young and old, and various other minorities. Governance, likewise, is about protecting rights and rule of law, not majoritarian domination by violence.

Second, majors are not queer-friendly or not. People are. So you might run into bigots in the humanities as well as in the hard sciences. Sure, some disciplines spend a lot more time on queer history or gender-ethics, but those disciplines are not always going to be “friendly” to queers, since our job is to analyze and understand — not to pander.

Third, academics can get pretty obscure in their studies and concerns, to the point where their echo-chambers (e.g., economists focussing on GDP) are not just separated from reality, but counterproductive (e.g., to sustainability). The difference between these fetishes and the real world can be extreme — in good and bad ways — so students should be wary of “understanding life” while sheltered in an academic setting.

My one-handed conclusion is that all humans can benefit from the entire range of academic disciplines. And all disciplines can benefit from a diverse set of practitioners bringing their perspectives, experiences and resources into a shared effort to understand our world and our societies. Vive la difference!*

*Just in case some people do not get the joke — Vive la difference is most typically used by self-proclaimed chivalrous men when praising women  — doffs fedora. Simone de Bouvoir had something to say about that. I am using it here as a pun but also to reclaim “difference” to humanity.

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Author: David Zetland

I'm a political-economist from California who now lives in Amsterdam.

3 thoughts on “Is your major queer friendly?”

      1. So, it should have been in italics.
        It did send me web crawling to find the meaning.

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