Introduction to Sexual and Gender Diversity | Arts and Science ONLINE

Introduction to Sexual & Gender Diversity

GNDS 215/3.0

This course is an introduction to studies in sexuality and gender diversity. It will survey the field and include topics such as classical inquiries into sexuality, contemporary theories on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer indentities, sexual movements, human rights, sexual morality, pornography, global sex trade, and queer cultural production. This course is open to all students but required for students enrolled in the Certificate in Sexual and Gender Diversity. It is designed to introduce SXGS students to the field and prepare them for selecting future courses.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the fall term

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Critically analyze some of the ways that sex, gender, and sexual diversity have been theorized;
  • Explain diverse gender and sexual identities, practices, and experiences; and the role of power and context in shaping our understandings of sex, gender, and sexual diversity
  • Apply an intersectional approach to analyze the ways that race, class, (dis)ability, and nationality interact with experiences of gender and sexuality;
  • Identify and discuss strategies for social justice and social change.


  • Theorizing Diversity: Sex, Gender and Sexual diversity
  • Power, knowledge, discourses, intersectionality
  • Topics in Sex/Gender Diversity Studies: Diverse bodies; diverse practices; feminist debates in the field
  • Towards social change: social justice; social change


This course is an introduction to studies in sexual and gender diversity and is designed to familiarize students with a myriad of theories and topics in the field. Students will learn about classical and contemporary theories of sex, gender, and sexuality; explore the spectrum of sex, gender, and sexual identities including lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, asexual, and intersex; examine the intersection of these identities with other social identities such as race, class, age, (dis)ability, and nationhood; and consider strategies for social change. Students will furthermore delve into issues about rape culture, kink and BDSM practices, sex work and the global sex trade, and pornography.


To be determined
Course Dates: 
Exam Dates: 


20% - Writing Exercises
20% - Quizzes
10% - Critical Response
15% - Film Response
35% - Final Paper

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Live Sessions

This course has optional live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities).


Professor Melissa Houghtaling (

Instructor message

My name is Dr. Melissa Houghtaling, and I am your instructor for this course. Here is a little bit about myself: I was born and raised in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, a small suburb of Philadelphia. I earned my B.A. in Sociology and Psychology (double major) at Millersville University; my M.A. in Society and Politics at Lancaster University, which I completed at the Centre for Social Studies in Warsaw, Poland; and my PhD in Sociology here at Queen’s University, with a concentration in sexuality studies and feminist theory. My teaching experience spans the areas of Gender Studies and Sociology and includes topics such as sexual and gender diversity, identity and difference, feminist thought, popular culture, social psychology, research methodology, and the sociology of deviance. I also have experience designing online and blended learning courses. In 2012-2013, I received the Gender Studies Teaching Award.

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 10-12 hours a week (120-144 hours per term equivalent) in study/reading and online activity for GNDS 215.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.