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An Oral History of Gay and Lesbian Activism at Wake Forest University 1985 to 2000

Von Maur, Justice

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An Oral History of Gay and Lesbian Activism at Wake Forest University 1985 to 2000
Von Maur, Justice
The 1990s were a foundational decade for the GSSA. The formation of a gay student group at Wake Forest was delayed relative to other universities across the nation, where these groups had begun to develop in the 1970s on the heels of the gay liberation movement. Due to a variety of factors, including the school’s size, religion affiliation and conservatism, the election of Ronald Reagan, and the AIDS epidemic, Wake Forest did not establish a gay student group until the 1990s. The gay student organization at WFU experienced some growing pains, with tensions mounting in debates on the importance of visibility versus confidentiality. Many gay student groups around the country were formed and unified through activism during the gay liberation movement, or the AIDS epidemic. Because there was no gay student group at WFU in the 1970s and 1980s, the fledging group needed a rallying point. For the GSSA, the activism that was brought about by the union in Wait Chapel was unifying and foundational for gay students. Through protesting the decision of the Board of Trustees in the late 1990s, students in GSSA were able to use activism to gain a sense of empowerment and agency for the gay community as a whole, and individually.
A thesis paper written as part of the course History 392: Research Seminar. Using primary sources and research, Justice von Maur examines gay, lesbian, and LGBTQ activism on Wake Forest University's campus in the 1980s and 1990s within the context or similar activism on other North Carolina campuses. Events mentioned include Senator Sam Nunn's selection as 1996 commencement speaker and the controversy regarding a same-sex wedding in Wait Chapel that spanned 1999-2000.
Lesbian activists
Gay activists
Student movements
Gay-straight alliances in schools
Same-sex marriage
2019-01-28T16:11:30Z (accessioned)
2019-01-28T16:11:30Z (available)
2019-01-28 (issued)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/93202 (uri)
en (iso)

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