PSYCHOLOGY OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION
Psychology 370
Fall 2002


Instructors: Dr. Laura Madson and C. Lausanne Renfro-Fernandez
Office: SH 342 (Madson) and SH 321 (Renfro-Fernandez)
Office hours: 10:30-11:20 M, T, W or by appointment (Madson)
2:30-3:30 T, W, Th or by appointment (Renfro-Fernandez) Email: lmadson@nmsu.edu, crenfro@nmsu.edu
Phone: 646-6207 (Madson), 621-3290 (Renfro-Fernandez)


Course description: This is a special topics course examining topics and research related to gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals. Topics will include the development of an LGB identity, historical and cross-cultural views of homosexuality, progression and change in sexual orientation throughout the lifespan, social/legal policies regarding sexual orientation, stereotypes and discrimination of LGB individuals, and the relationships of LGB individuals.


WARNING: Some of the material in this class may be considered offensive by some individuals. Periodically, material will be covered that is of a graphic, explicit nature. Given the controversial nature of the topics covered in this course, you should also be aware that your participation in this course may place you and/or your property at risk outside of lecture. Your continued enrollment in this course indicates that you are aware of these issues and that you consent to the presentation of the material and accept the risks that may be associated with this course.


Prerequisite: Psy 201G (Introduction to Psychology)


Required Texts:
Bohan, J. S. (1996). Psychology and sexual orientation: Coming to terms. New York: Routledge.
Berzon, B. (Ed.). (2001). Positively gay: New approaches to gay and lesbian life (3rd Ed.). Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts.
Helminiak, D. A. (2000). What the Bible really says about homosexuality (Millennium Ed.). New Mexico: Alamo Square Press.
These texts are also on reserve at Zuhl Library and will be supplemented by a number of additional reserve readings.


Course Requirements:


1. Class attendance and participation

Regular attendance is crucial to successful performance in this course. Class time will be used to introduce concepts not included in the text and to discuss text concepts in greater detail. You are expected to read and think about the assigned materials prior to class. We reserve the right to give unannounced quizzes on assigned readings. If you must miss class, you must document your absence in order to be eligible to make-up the quiz. Family emergencies, illness, and sanctioned university activities constitute acceptable reasons to miss class; travel plans do not.

During class discussions, students are expected to participate and to treat other participants with respect. We will be discussing controversial issues in class. Please remember that other students may have different opinions and experiences. Give others and their ideas the attention and respect you expect to receive.

Given the nature of this class and the topics we will be discussing, it is also crucial that we maintain confidentiality regarding class discussions. It is OK to talk about class material outside of lecture but please DO NOT reveal the identity of your classmates with other people. In addition, although personal experiences and opinions will arise in class discussions, class time will not function as a support group or therapy. We reserve the right to constrain discussions if they begin to become too personal or stray off-topic.

2. Reading response papers

These papers are designed to help students stay current on the reading assignments, to think critically about the reading material, and to practice their writing skills. Reading response papers (RRP) should be at least two, typed, double-spaced pages. RRPs are due at the beginning of class on the days indicated on the tentative schedule below. Each RRP should discuss the readings assigned for that day and any days since the previous RRP, unless otherwise noted on the schedule. Although the RRPs do not have a formal topic or format, they should clearly demonstrate what you have learned from the readings. They are also an opportunity for you to reflect on your feelings about the reading material, to integrate material from this course with other courses, etc. Each RRP will be evaluated on the 5 point scale below based on how well it demonstrates learning and the quality of thought contained therein.

12345
UnsatisfactoryBelow AverageAverageGoodOutstanding

Three exceptions to this assignment are the RRPs that are due 9/19, 10/3, and 10/31. In addition to the usual demonstration of what you've learned from the readings, the paper should include at least 8 questions to spur discussion with the guests who will be in class on those days.


3. Experts day

Your team will select one of the four major ethnic groups discussed in PG (to be approved by the instructors). Your team will read the chapter in PG that corresponds to the group of your choice and find at least 3 outside sources on that group. In class, your group will summarize these readings and lead the class in a discussion of the important issues faced by LGB people in that ethnic group. Outside resources may also be used to enrich the class discussion (e.g., a survey or activity). Your group will be responsible for one half of class time (approximately 30 minutes) on one of the two days listed on the tentative schedule below (i.e., 9/12 or 9/17). Your summary should take no more than 10 mins. allowing 20 mins for discussion. Everyone in your team MUST be in class and is expected to contribute to the presentation and discussion. At the end of class, your team will turn in the following: a reference list of your outside sources, the notes you used to guide you during the summary presentation, and at least 8 questions for spurring discussion. Everyone in your team will receive the same holistic score for your performance using the scale below based on the quality of your team's:

12345
UnsatisfactoryBelow AverageAverageGoodOutstanding

In-class presentation:
_____ in-class summaries of the readings
_____ leadership of the class discussion (e.g., spurring discussion, keeping discussion on-topic, focusing discussion on important issues for your ethnic group)
_____ in-class presentation of ALL team members (i.e., everyone in your team must talk)
_____ style (e.g., making eye contact with the entire class, speaking not reading from your notes)

Paperwork turned in at the end of class:
_____ summary guide notes
_____ outside sources
_____ discussion questions
_____ peer evaluations


4. Poster presentations

Each learning team will prepare two poster presentations: A poster on a specific culture (10/15) and a specific religion (11/7). Teams will have an opportunity to select the topics for each poster (topics must be approved by Madson).

Posters should contain the information listed below. Teams should consult at least 3-4 outside sources in preparing the poster. These sources can be other books (preferably not other textbooks), journal articles, web sites, brochures, human resources, etc. Your poster should display a reference list, including all relevant information (e.g., for a book, list the authors, title, publisher, year of publication, city of publication; for web sites, provide the complete address).

Your poster should be at least 36" X 24" and use at least 16 point font throughout (except the references). Your team number should be clearly displayed on your poster. Two members of each team should remain by the poster at all times. You may determine which team members are on poster duty at the beginning of the class period; after approximately 25 mins. team members will switch (in other words, everyone in your team needs to be prepared to present the poster and answer any questions).

Posters should be one, free-standing unit (e.g., a big piece of cardboard you can prop on the chalkboard). The posters can consist of separate sheets of paper but posters should be assembled PRIOR to class.

All members of a team will receive the same holistic score on their poster on the 11-point scale below.

012345678910
absentabysmalbadunsatisfactorysatisfactory (-)satisfactorysatisfactory (+)averagegoodexcellenttruly outstanding

a) We will evaluate each poster on:
completeness
accuracy
aesthetics
creativity
number and quality of references
peer evaluations

b) During the poster presentation, teams will review all the posters. Teams can earn extra points by asking good questions. Each poster will be represented by two team members. One of these students will record all the questions asked and the corresponding team number. Students can discuss the question with their teammates at their discretion (i.e., one student won't be "on the spot" to answer all the questions alone). The list of questions from each poster will be collected at the end of the poster session. We will review the questions and award extra points depending on the number and quality of the questions.

Sexual Orientation and Culture:

Posters should include the following information (additional info is encouraged)
1. Geographically, where is this culture located?
2. Approximately how many people are members of this culture?
3. What is the religious breakdown of this culture (e.g., What percentage are Catholic? Muslim, etc?)
4. Describe traditional and current attitudes toward gender roles.
5. Describe traditional and current views of sexuality in general (e.g., Is sexuality good or evil? Is pleasure a legitimate outcome of sexuality or is sexuality purely for reproduction?)
6. Describe traditional and current views of homosexuality. What are the sources/justification for those views (e.g., religious influences)?
7. Describe any variation in the views people hold toward homosexuality depending upon their gender, age, religion, educational level, SES, etc.
8. Describe any variation in views toward lesbians, gay men, or bisexuals.
9. Describe traditional and current views on causation of homosexuality (e.g., born that way, sinner in past life, a choice, etc.).
10. Describe any laws, policies, or forms of social discrimination prevalent in this culture (e.g., can gays marry? adopt children? equal housing/employment rights? hate crimes? pressure to be "cured?").

Major religions:

Posters should include the following information (additional info is encouraged)
1. Geographically, where are the people who practice this religion located?
2. Approximately how many people practice this religion?
3. What are the holy texts of this religion?
4. Describe views of sexuality in general (e.g., Is sexuality good or evil? Is pleasure a legitimate outcome of sexuality or is sexuality purely for reproduction?)
5. Describe views of homosexuality (e.g., Can gays marry?). What are the sources/justification for those views (e.g., holy texts, religious leaders or followers)?
6. Describe any variations in views toward gays, lesbians, or bisexuals.
7. Describe policies toward involvement of homosexuals in religious practice (e.g., Can they become leaders? Can they practice the religion?).
8. Describe views on causation of homosexuality (e.g., born that way, sinner in past life, a choice, etc.).
9. Describe any changes in this religion's views of homosexuality across history.
10. Describe any differences in views of homosexuality in different subgroups or sects of this religion.

5. Peer evaluation

After each in-class team task, you will evaluate the performance and preparation of each of your team members. This will give you the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions (or lack thereof) of your teammates.

6. Experiential activity

In lieu of a final exam, each student is required to engage in one experiential activity of their choice (selected from a list provided by the instructors). This activity may include going to a gay bar, interviewing an LGB person, watching a movie that deals with homosexuality, etc. To facilitate discussion of your experience during the final exam period, each student will write a 5-8 page paper describing the experience and relating their observations to the material we have discussed in class (no more than 2-3 pages should be dedicated to describing the experience).

Grading policy:

Course requirements will be weighted as follows in assigning grades:

Reading response papers25%
Poster presentations (each)15%
Expert day15%
Peer evaluations10%
Experiential activity paper10%
Class Participation*10%

*incuding final discussion of experiential activity.

Disenrolling policy: The instructors reserve the right to disenroll students who disrupt class, fail to respect others' confidentiality and privacy, or create an unsafe learning and working environment for others.

Withdrawals: To withdraw from this class, you must complete and turn in a signed withdrawal form prior to 10/11. Students will not be automatically dropped from the class. In other words, if you haven't done the paperwork, you are still enrolled in the class.

Academic honesty: Acknowledging that the vast majority of NMSU students do not engage in dishonest behavior, the university's policy regarding academic dishonesty and plagiarism will be upheld in this class. In brief, any form of substantiated dishonesty will result in failure of the course. Please refer to the NMSU Handbook for additional guidelines.

Incompletes: University policy dictates that a student may be given an incomplete ONLY if he or she has passed the first half of the course, and is precluded from successful completion of the course by a documented illness or family crisis. Keep in mind, the instructor decides what constitutes "precluded from successful completion." If something arises in your life that interferes with your ability to do your best in this class, talk to us about it ASAP. Many students wait until the end of the semester (or after finals week) to tell us about these kinds of difficulties and there is little or nothing we can do at that point. The sooner you talk to us, the more options we have to help you.

ADA: If you have or believe you have a disability, you may wish to self-identify. You can do so by providing documentation to the Services for Students with Disabilities office located at Garcia Annex 102 (phone: 646-6840). Appropriate accommodations may then be provided for you. If you have a condition which may affect your ability to exit safely from the premises in an emergency or which may cause an emergency during class, you are encouraged to discuss this in confidence with the instructor and/or the director of the Disabled Student Programs. If you have general questions about the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), call the ADA coordinator at 646-6840.

Tentative Schedule
WeekTopicReading
8/20Team Assignments, Orienation activity
8/22Terms & Meanings- homophobia, heterosexism, current models of sexual orientation, constructionism, essentialismBohan Introduction, pp. 24-30,
Grosse & Woods pp. 270-273, 278-285
8/27Identity Formation
RRP due
Bohan pp. 101-112,
PG pp. 18-31
8/29TBA
9/3Stereotypes & DiscriminationBohan Ch. 2
9/5Stigma management
RRP due
Bohan pp. 92-100
9/10NO CLASS - prepare for experts day
9/12LGB people of color - experts dayBohan Ch. 5,
PG pp317-358
9/17LGB people of color - experts day
9/19Coming Out - LGBF panel
RRP due (9/19 reading only), including questions for the panel
Bohan pp. 112-121,
PG pp. 32-38, 110-124
9/24Relationships
RRP due
Bohan pp. 177-196,
either (as assigned) PG pp. 51-76 or 93-108
9/26LGB youth & developmental issuesBohan pp. 140-155,
PG pp.359-378
10/1Midlife & growing olderBohan pp. 156-174,
PG pp. 157-196
10/3PFLAG Panel
RRP due (including questions for the pane) on either readings for 10/1 OR readings for 10/3
PG pp. 125-137
10/8Sexual orientation in historyBohan pp. 13-24
G&W pp. 31-36, 42-55
10/10NO CLASS - prepare for poster presentation
RRP due (on video OR readings for 10/8
10
10/15Sexual orientation in other cultures - poster presentation
10/17Causation researchBohan pp. 63-89
B&B 62-70, 85-94
10/22Fall Break - no class
10/24The politics of causation
RRP due
Bohan pp. 89-91,
G&W pp. 185-189, 207-217,
B&B pp. 80-84
10/29NO CLASS - read Helminiak
10/31The Bible
RRP due (including questions for the guest speaker)
Helminiak (the whole book)
11/5NO CLASS - prepare for poster presentation
11/7Major religions and sexual orientation - poster presentation
11/12Gay marriageG&W pp. 631-640
11/14Parenting
RRP due
Bohan pp. 197-204
PG pp. 138-156
11/19Health issues
11/21Career, Job Security, and Financial PlanningPG pp. 254-300
11/26Gays in the military
RRP due on either 11/21 OR 11/26 readings
B&B pp. 151-199
11/28Thanksgiving Break
12/3Bisexuality and fluidity of orientationWalsh pp. 188-203
G&W pp. 105-108
12/5Transgender, Gender Bending
Film: Southern Comfort
RRP due
G&W pp. 112-115
Nanda Ch. 6
12/10Final Exam Time - report and discussion on final experiential activity


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