Professor shines a light on history of sexuality

Brenna Enos, Staff Writer

An addition to the Los Medanos College curriculum, History of Sexuality in North America, is broadening the horizon of the history department with a new lens on LGBT history.

With an emphasis on the ways in which sex has contributed to issues of class, race and gender, History of Sexuality is a transferable course that provides students with an enriching experience.

“It expands the curriculum in ways that are both important and interesting to many students, directly addressing aspects of diversity that enrich our lives and understanding of everyone in our community,” explained Nancy Ybarra, LMC’s Dean of Liberal Arts.

The class was added to the curriculum in the fall of 2016 and it is now fully transferable. Currently, this course fulfills the LMC Associate Degree requirement for Social and Behavioral Sciences or Ethnic/Multicultural Studies. It also fulfills the California State University General Education Area D requirement and Humanities requirements for the University of California system.

Developed and taught by Professor Joshua Bearden, History of Sexuality takes students on a historical journey from the colonial period to the present and helps them look at American history through a new lens, covering not only LGBTQ+ history, but all forms of sexuality still prevalent today.

“In the modern world that we live in with gender relations and sexual identities, people often don’t think that there is a history to that,” said Bearden. “I think it’s important for them to know that there really is a history.”

This course covers different types of sexual relations through readings, lectures and videos that provide students with a holistic perspective.

While History of Sexuality in North America is an ethnic and historic studies course, at the end of the semester Bearden hopes it will also provide students with the ability to self-reflect.

“Personally, I hope that students will get a better understanding of their own identity and where it comes from whether that’s a racial identity, gender identity or sexual identity,” said Bearden.

For some, Bearden’s hope came to fruition.

“For me, the class highlighted the importance of studying sexuality and it really changed the way I thought about our history,” said Jimmy Darling, an LMC student who took the course last semester.

Bearden is also developing another course on the history of American women that he hopes will be added to the curriculum soon, possibly within the next two years. The course in the works will focus on the experiences of women and gender relations in American society — a topic Bearden and others are passionate to learn about.

History of Sexuality will not be offered in the fall 2017 semester due to understaffing in the department, but the course will re-surface again in the spring of 2018.