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Gay Studies 101?

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Massachusetts should institute gay studies programs across its 29 state and community colleges, declared an op-ed in Monday's edition of TheBoston Globe.

David LaFontaine -- an English professor at Massachusetts's Massasoit Community College and former chairman of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth -- said that his state has always led in the area of gay rights, and should continue to do so by offering gay history courses at its universities. Citing Harvard University's June announcement that it is establishing and funding an endowed chair in LGBT studies, LaFontaine said the Ivy League school should be used as a model for Massachusetts's state-run colleges and universities.

"The creation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender studies programs in Massachusetts's state colleges would validate the contributions of a minority group still struggling for full recognition and equality," LaFontaine wrote. "Academic excellence would be served by diversification of the curriculum, and the milestones Massachusetts has achieved in gay civil rights would be translated directly to the new generation of college students."

LaFontaine suggested literature courses be taught that delve into gay themes in works by Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf, and making additions to history books to include contributions by gay people as well as the struggle for gay rights.

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