Persons who complete the USD Foundations Web Course will be able to:

1. Articulate the importance of inclusion as an institutional value at the University of South Dakota enforced by our institutional Nondiscriminatory Policy.

2. Deconstruct concepts of sex and gender and differentiate between them.

3. Identify multiple potential forms of sexual and romantic orientations.

4. Describe the sex and gender binaries and critique their impacts.

5. Explain the spectrum model of gender, sex, and sexuality and discuss critiques of the model.

6. Define and differentiate between concepts and terminology regarding gender diversity.

7. Recognize that gender, sex, and sexual identities are fluid, and can change over time.

8. Outline the social impact of intersectionality, and relate examples of intersectional identities.

Why are we using the word “Queer”?

You’ll probably notice that throughout this training, we use the word “Queer” more often than we use the term “LGBT.” Queer is a word with history and various uses. For many people, especially younger people, the term may be used as an umbrella term for the numerous identities of people who are not heterosexual (e.g. lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, etc.) or who are not cisgender/gender conforming (e.g. transgender, gender queer, gender non-conforming).

Historically, queer was used as an insult or slur--a word meant to demean people of a particular marginalized group. Some people still use it with that same intention. Some people may find the word queer to be offensive in any context; others have claimed queer as an affirming identity rather than as an insult.

But we recognize that the popular LGBT acronym does not represent the infinite variety of orientations and identities. For this reason, in this course, we usually use the broader, more-inclusive term “queer." We will discuss identities far beyond what is represented in the LGBT acronym. In this course, queer is a term that encompasses the multiple sexualities and genders that are not heterosexual or cisgender (a person that identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth).

Does USD have an LGBT Resource Center?

No, USD does not have a designated space specifically for LGBT and queer resources. However, USD’s Gender & Sexuality Alliance on-campus is called “Spectrum,” and it is part of the Center for Diversity and Community.

The Center for Diversity and Community (CDC) at USD is here to serve the diversity and inclusiveness needs of the USD student body and in particular, support communities that have historically been marginalized. The CDC office utilizes a broad and inclusive definition of diversity that includes disability, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, race/ethnicity (including White), nationality, veteran status and other social identities that are part of the campus community.

The Center for Diversity and Community welcomes you to be part of the beautifully diverse mosaic that is USD. The Center exists to celebrate our diverse identities, educate around those identities and the dynamics that impact our relationships, as well as support our diverse USD populations.

Something to think about…is Pluto a Planet?

Until recently, the Solar System consisted of nine planets, including Earth. Advances in technology, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, have changed our base of knowledge about our neighboring planets and beyond. Pluto, for instance, is not a regular planet; it is called a dwarf planet.

But 20 years ago, we did not have language or categorizations or even knowledge of "dwarf planets." So even though Pluto has not changed--our understanding of Pluto has changed.

What does this have to do with sex and gender?

Just like our understanding of the universe, what we know about gender and sexuality continues to evolve. This course is going to present models of human sexuality and gender that are potentially different from what you already know.

Of course, human sexuality and gender are more than science, just as humans are more than our bodies. We are also minds and souls and we exist in cultures and communities that shape us and which we shape in turn.

Didn’t people learn about this stuff in High School?


You may be thinking of sex education, which is about the act of having sex. Many people do not get access to actual knowledge (i.e., medically accurate and comprehensive information) about the categories of human sex, gender, and sexuality in K-12 education. What most people learn focuses on disease and pregnancy prevention and includes very little information about sexual diversity and gender identity.

The average person has not had access to accurate, current, and comprehensive information related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Twelve states require discussion of sexual orientation in their sex education programs. Fewer than half of US states require sex education at all (24 states plus the District of Columbia). Of these states, only thirteen require the information presented is factually or medically accurate.

What does this have to do with my education and career?

Employers need employees who are capable of working with people who are different from themselves. Individual and community vitality depends on knowledge, skills, and attitudes that support diverse and inclusive work groups.

What happens if I do not complete this web course or the workshops?

Nothing. The web course is not mandatory unless it has been assigned to you.

It is important to note that the information included in this course will help you make the MOST out of your USD experience. Education for students, faculty and staff about sexuality and gender enhances campus climate for everyone. It provides knowledge and supports the behavioral expectations related to our institutional values of "quality," "inclusive excellence" and "diversity."

The University of South Dakota is committed to becoming a regional leader in diversity and inclusiveness initiatives and the practice of Inclusive Excellence….USD is committed to a systematic, intentional, comprehensive, and holistic approach to diversity and inclusiveness.

Approved by Executive Committee on March 14, 2013.

For more information, visit the USD Diversity and Inclusiveness website, where you can click on the available links to see USD’s full Diversity Statement and Strategic Plans.

Public opinion and public policy regarding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are changing rapidly. While same sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states, other policies regarding housing, employment and adoption rights are much more inconsistent between states and municipalities. Individual employers and organizations often have their own policies about sexual orientation and gender identity or gender expression. Some of these policies protect and defend queer and transgender people, and other policies administer inequity and exclusion.

It is important to gain an understanding about sexuality and gender in order to assure inclusion and equity, and to understand how policies impact people across gender identities, gender expressions and sexualities.