Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity

Timeline of Duke's LGBTQ History

By: Jess McDonald, Lumen Scholar from Elon University

The Early Years: Promise and Struggle (1972-1978)

1972            Women’s and men’s colleges merge at Duke

1972            Duke Gay Alliance (DGA) forms

1973            The Gay Morning Star: Newsletter of the Duke Gay Alliance first released

1973            Student Affairs Workshop on Homosexuality occurs

1974            DGA requests that “sexual orientation” be added to Duke’s nondiscrimination policy; President Sanford denies request

1974            Triangle Area Lesbian Feminists form as an expansion of the DGA’s Lesbian Rap Group (a discussion group)
The Conservative Era & AIDS Backlash (1979-1987)
1983            Student Government President revokes DGLA charter         

1983            In a campus-wide referendum, 56.2% of student voters opposed NC anti-homosexual statutes

                    DGLA reorganizes within a few years; few records found
Rekindling Momentum on Campus (1988-1995)
1988            NC Federation of Campus Gay & Lesbian Organizations forms

1988            DGLA grows from six to 20 members and becomes more active

1988            Duke’s Board of Trustees includes “sexual orientation” in nondiscrimination policy and Equal Opportunity policy

1989            Aurora: The Duke Gay and Lesbian Newsletter published by the DGLA

1990            Divinity Students for Gay and Lesbian Concerns group forms

1990            Committee on Gay and Lesbian Legal Issues forms within law school

1990            Duke University AIDS Task Force recommends the creation of a task force on gay and lesbian concerns

1990            Harmony, a group for friends and allies of LGB people, forms

1991            DGLA’s welcome message to new students on the bridge between East and West campus is painted over with anti-gay hate speech, igniting a variety of controversial reactions across campus

1991            Task Force on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Matters (later amended to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Task Force) is established by President Brodie

1991            Administrator suspended after anti-gay discrimination in hiring practice

1992            Women’s Center creates a Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Programming Coordinator position
1993            Duke LGB Alumnae/ni Network first gathers at homecoming
The Creation of an Institution (1994-2000)
1994            DGLA changes name to the Duke Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Association

1994            Gay and Lesbian Alumni – Duke (GALA – Duke) group forms

1994            LGB Center created for resources and space for students (unstaffed)

1994            Position hired for LGB Services and Sexuality Programming within Counseling and Psychology Services

1994            Trinity College offers a “Perspectives in LGB Studies” course

1994            Duke Guild for LGB Concerns forms as a group for employees and staff

1994            Duke extends “same-sex spousal equivalent” benefits to employees

1994            Another anti-gay hate speech incident occurs at the bridge between East and West campus

1995            Spectrum (multicultural group) denies DGBLA admission

1995            Outlines: The Newsletter of the Duke Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Association first published

1995            Student Government increases DGBLA’s funds for the first time in over a decade

1996            LGB Center gets a half-time director (Dr. John Howard) and moves to larger space

1996            Program in the Study of Sexualities approved

1997            DGBLA changes its name to Gothic Queers

1997            Duke’s Department of Facilities Management paints over LGBTQ pride slogans on East Campus bridge, igniting controversy

1999            Duke hosts Southeastern Conference for LGBT College Groups

1999            LGB Center gets a full-time director (Dr. Karen Krahulik)

1999            Committee on Gay and Lesbian Legal Issues changed its name to OUTLaw

1999            The Princeton Review ranks Duke as the top school at which “Acceptance of the gay community is low”

1999            Anti-gay hate speech is painted over LGBTQ pride messages on the bridge between East and West campus
A Continuing Evolution (2000-2010)
2000            Same-sex union ceremonies allowed in Duke Chapel

2000            Duke Allies created as an organization for allies of LGBTQ people

2001            SAFE program developed in order to increase allies across campus and endorsed by President Keohane

2002            DukeOUT forms as a group for graduate and professional LGBTQ students and their allies

2002            Gothic Queers changes its name to the Alliance of Queer Undergraduates at Duke (AQUADuke)

2003            “Gay? Fine By Me” t-shirt project begins

2004            Center for LGBT Life doubles its space

2006            The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students ranks Duke as one of the top twenty US schools for LGBT students

2006            Dr. Janie Long is named new Center Director

2007            Board of Trustees adds “gender identity” to the nondiscrimination policy

2007            First campus-wide Coming Out Day is held on Duke Plaza

2007            “Love = Love” t-shirt project begins

2008            Duke Allies and AQUADuke combine to become Blue Devils United

2008            Blue Devils United creates its blog, “Our Lives”

2008            Women Loving Women is created to support Duke women (undergraduate and graduate students) who have an attraction to other women

2008            Openly gay bishop Gene Robinson speaks at Duke

2009            Several hate speech incidents occur, including swastikas, anti-gay vandalism on a bench, and the defacement of LGBTQ pride paintings on the bridge between East and West campus

2010            WOMYN, a publication for queer women at Duke, is created

2010            Duke’s Student Government votes to support gender-neutral housing

2010            Policy change enables students to use their preferred name rather than their birth name on class rosters