Gay Liberation Course at Pitt

A 3-credit course (Women Studies 100) will be offered at the University of Pittsburgh this fall entitled: “Gay Liberation, Marcusean Analysis and the Conspiracy Against Bi Sexuality/Human-Sexuality: A Study In Social Movements.’’

The Women Studies Program at Pitt (one of the first of its kind in the nation) was flexible and open minded enough to offer a course on gay liberation within its curriculum. This also speaks to the relationship between Gay Liberation and Women’s Liberation and their common efforts in questioning sexroles and stereotypes.

In the past few years an “obnoxious segment’’ of the homosexual community has been making “absurd statements” such as “gay is good” and “lesbians are mighty fine”. Gay Liberationists are becoming increasingly visible, militany and vocal in asserting their “civil rights”. They are picketing, organizing, pontificating and demanding. Gay Power signs are evident in all major cities, and Gay Liberation organizations are sprouting in cities and colleges across the country.

Are we, therefore, in the midst of some homosexual explosion?A decline of American civilization? A decaying of moral values? Are there viable alternative lifestyles besides the conventional heterosexual one? Is there such a thing as a “healthy homosexual”? As “bi-sexuality”? As “pan-sexuality”? As “ambi-sexuality”? And what does Herbert Marcuse’s notion of “surplus repression” have to contribute? The course will attempt to discuss these questions intelligently.

The taboo against homosexuality is being re-examined and re-assessed by an ever increasing number of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, sociologists, lawyers, public officials, ministers, theologians, anthropologists, etc. This course is designed to aid in that re-examination and reassessment and to explore and analyze objectively and fairly the social-political, cultural, psychological, and historical aspects of homosexuality.

From varying perspectives the problems of America’s “Invisible Gay Minority” will be analyzed and alternative frameworks within which to understand society’s role in the reaction to the Homosexual Phenomena will be considered. The relationship between Marcusean Analysis (ala Herbert Marcuse’ EROS AND CIVILIZATION) and the Gay Liberation and Women’s Liberation movements will be explored.

We (the instructors) feel that there should be concern over a phenomena which seems to have been a persistent-permanent fixture in all societies throughout history, and which admittedly been regarded differently in different periods and cultures. We feel that there should be more than one inane reference in a 600-700 page Sociology textbook, for example, on the “social problem of homosexuality”. We feel that sociologists and psychologists should stop neglecting this unfashionable topic. We will discuss whether homosexuals are really an oppressed “minority” and discuss the fear that some “professionals” have that homosexuals are being “ennobled” as a “persecuted minority”.

At present no course deals with homosexuality in more than a superficial and incidental manner. This course, however, will allow undergraduates and graduates to look at homosexuality from the points of view of a variety of disciplines.

The course will also seriously consider whether “homophobia” is a social disease similar to “sexism”. And if so, how do we deal with it?

Lectures and discussions will be the method of instruction, and the following films will also be shown: 1) THE INVISIBLE MINORITYHOMOSEXUALS IN SOCIETY, a sound filmstrip in color, 3 part program by the Unitarian Universalist Assn., 2) SOME OF YOUR BEST FRIENDS, a 40-minute documentary motion picture in color by the USC’A Division of Cinema, 3) HOLDING, a lesbian relationship, 4) SLIDE SET II, National Sex and Drug Forum assumptions, 160 color slides, 5) THE HOMOSEXUALS, a 1967 CBS TV documentary, 6) LESBIAN MOTHERS, 30 minute documentary, and 7) VIR AMAT, a gay male relationship.