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Statement: “We really are the first CSU, the first college in California, the first one on the West Coast and the second in the nation to offer this major,” Esther Rothblum, a professor of women’s studies at San Diego State University, said in a story the university published Oct. 3 about its new major in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies.

Determination: True

Analysis: The news from San Diego State University two weeks ago thrilled Ardel Thomas. Next spring, the college will start offering a bachelor’s degree in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies.

“WOOOHOOOO!!!!!” Thomas wrote in an email.

Thomas isn’t a prospective Aztec, but she may know some in the future. She oversees LGBT studies at City College of San Francisco and is pushing state officials to sign off on a major at her school like the one recently approved for SDSU.

City College of San Francisco would offer an associate’s degree in LGBT studies while San Diego State would offer a bachelor’s degree. Then, Thomas hopes her students could transfer to San Diego State and complete a bachelor’s there.

San Diego State would be one of her students’ two options for the bachelor’s degree nationwide. The new major is an expansion of the college’s LGBT minor, which covers topics like the history of sexuality, confronting AIDS, and gay and lesbian identities in modern times.

When San Diego State officials announced the new major, they heralded it as another mark of the school’s nationally renowned LGBT-friendliness. Esther Rothblum, the university’s LGBT studies academic adviser, said SDSU was the first college in California to offer the major and the second nationwide.

We checked that claim with more than a dozen LGBT advocates, researchers and educators like Thomas from across the country. Uniformly, they found no reason to question it. None knew of more than one school offering the major: Hobart and William Smith Colleges, a school in upstate New York.

An organization of college professionals focused on LGBT issues concurred. The group’s most recent list of schools with LGBT programs includes six offering certificates and 41 offering minors. Only Hobart and William Smith Colleges offered the major before San Diego State’s announcement.

Though San Diego State is the first school in California to be approved for the LGBT major, it may not be alone for long. The proposed major for City College of San Francisco is under a final review by state officials. If approved soon, both colleges could offer the major for the first time next spring.

But it hasn’t been approved yet. At the time Rothblum made her statement, San Diego State was only the second school in the nation to offer a degree in LGBT studies.

Because more than a dozen people familiar with LGBT issues supported Rothblum’s statement, we’ve labeled it True. If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He writes about public safety and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.

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