Queer on Campus: 1970's to the Present

Kiss-In photograph

Undated photo from the 1990's of a Kiss-In sponsored by the Queer Unity Project

Kiss-In photograph

An undated photo from the 1990's; students at a Kiss-In sponsered by the Queer Unity Project.

Kiss-In photograph [Untitled]

The Lesbian Gay Male Programs Office (LGMPO), created in 1971, is the oldest office of its type in the country.From the start, members of its administration and students seeking its resources felt threatened by individuals and the general social climate on campus. There were several complaints that there was no sign that indicated that the LGMPO was located on the third floor of the Union, and that the space above the LGBT bookshelf in the student Barnes and Noble was left intentionally blank. There are also records of complaints that some employees at the Union called the third floor corridor “Fag Alley."2 

LGMBPO flyers posted around campus were defaced with grafitti and slurs throughout the 80's and 90's. 

Even some of the LGBTQ community felt excluded from queer groups or functions; several records indicate that bisexual women especially not only faced prejudice and harassment on campus, but didn’t feel welcome in many LGBTQ spaces. U-M’s AIDS Task Force didn’t include a gay man when it was formed, causing concern about the perspectives reflected by the force.Even as resources and events for LGBTQ students abounded on campus during the 1990's and the social and political climate began to improve slowly throughout the early 21st century, queer students still felt the presence of stereotypes and behaviors that border edon harassment on campus, as well as a lack of solidarity among queer students that hold other identities, such as queer women of color. For example, records from director Ronni Sanlo’s files in 1996 indicated that anti-gay graffiti was written up as racist, because it didn’t have its own category of discrimination yet.

Picture of the Diag after Orlando

Students chalked messages of remembrance in honor of the victims of a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, on June 12, 2016. 

 

1. "Organizational Analysis of the LGBPO," Ronni Sanlo Files, 1996, Box 1, University of Michigan: Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Affairs, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. 

2. “Task Force on Sexual Orientation, 1987," University of Michigan: Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Affairs, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. 

3. Box 2, University of Michigan: Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Affairs, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. 

Queer on Campus: 1970's to the Present