An Attempted Chronology of 1970s
Gay Liberation at Iowa State University
Gay Lib Attempted Chronology
Before the school year went to a semester ,system Iowa State was on the quarter system, which was essentially trimesters—with summer school as the fourth quarter. Below "fall," "winter," and "spring" refer to the quarter.
Additions and corrections to this list are warmly welcomed. Some people have written me in the past wondering why there is no information from the 1980s and later groups. There are two reasons: 1) I was not there, and 2) I don't have the information available.
- Spring Quarter 1971
Frank Kameny spoke on campus regarding discrimination against gay people in the US Government.
- 1st week of December 1971
A letter from the Gay Liberation Front appeared in the ISU Daily protesting the play "The Boys in the Band." A letter to the editor controversy between people who felt the GLF was being unfair and the GLF continued for the first several weeks of December.
- December 14, 1971
The ISU Daily published a letter about the GLF signed by Joe Franko; it was the first time that a gay person used her/his own name in the Daily.
- December 14, 1971
The ISU Daily reported on the Gay Liberation Front forming after the first public GLF meeting was held in the YWCA (December 12-13?, 1971).
Gay people began speaking engagements to classes on campus.
- Winter or Spring 1972(?)
Dugan's Deli opened (Rippey's Orchard was still open[?]).
- April 27, 1972
The second ISU Daily article about the Gay Liberation Front was published.
- February 1973
Phyllis Lyon spoke on campus, sponsored by Lesbian Alliance (Memorial Union?); a reception followed at Frisbie House.
- May 12, 1973
The first Gay Dance was given at the Unitarian Church on North Hyland; two weeks previous, police raided a Gay Liberation Front dance at the University of Iowa because donations were being requested to pay for the beer at the dance the dance had "no liquor license" to sell beer.
- Summer 1973
"The Boys in the Band" was presented in the Union (reprise).
- September 15, 1973
The second Gay Dance was held at the Unitarian Church.
- September 17, 1973
The ISU Daily's special edition Monday paper, "New Dimensions," devoted an issue to "The Gay Movement On Campus," with an assortment of articles about Lesbian Alliance and Gay People's Liberation Alliance.
- November 7, 1973
An ISU Daily article reported that the Union Drive Association (UDA) had recognized Gay Liberation.
- Fall Quarter 1973
Despite some misgivings about organized structure, Gay People's Liberation Alliance developed a constitution, budget, etc., and submitted a funding request to the Government of the Student Body (GSB) in an effort to become a recognized student organization at Iowa State University.
- December 8, 1973
A Gay Christmas Dance was held at the Unitarian Church.
- January 25, 1974 (+/-)
A letter from Lesbian Alliance was published in ISU Daily protesting the play, "The Killing of Sister George."
- January 1974
Lesbian Alliance and Gay People's Liberation Alliance passed out flyers at the play protesting the "The Killing of Sister George."
- February 1974
The first Issue of "Gayly Forward" (newsletter of Gay People's Liberation Alliance) was published. (The 1974 issues were not funded by GSB.)
- February 12, 1974
The ISU Daily reported on a meeting between Gay People's Liberation Alliance and Ames State Republicans John Murray and Reid Crawford in Frisbie House.
- 1st week of February 1974
A group of protestors including members of Gay People's Liberation Alliance, the Women's Coalition, the Phoenix Party, and Lesbian Alliance (?-unsure) staged a protest in the Memorial Union and commons against the ISU Christian Fellowship booth; the Christians were attempting to distribute the offensive J.T. Chick pamphlet "The Gay Blade." The protest ended with a march of disciples behind an ersatz Jesus into the Commons.
- 1st weeks of February 1974
GSB allocated nearly $800 to Gay People's Liberation Alliance and GPLA became a recognized campus organization. Controversy ensued. Letters to the editor of the ISU Daily debating the allocation of funding continued for several weeks. GPLA responded with an editorial.
- March 1974
The second Issue of "Gayly Forward" (newsletter) was published.
- March 16, 1974
A Gay Dance was held at the Unitarian Church. It was reviewed in an ISU Daily article published March 18, 1974.
- April 1974
The third Issue of "Gayly Forward" (newsletter) was published.
- April 1974
The first Midwest Gay Pride Conference in Iowa City was sponsored by GPLA of Ames and the Gay Liberation Front in Iowa City (U of I).
- May 1974
The Des Moines Register published an article entitled "The Gay Movement in Iowa."
- End of Spring or else Summer 1974
A Gay conference at Normal, Illinois was attended by GPLA members.
- Fall Quarter 1974
"Coleus & Dogbreath Too," the first Gay newsletter published using funds allocated by the GSB, was published and widely distributed on campus. Primary editor this issue: Dennis Brumm.
- October 1974
The first ISU Denim Day (campus wide consciousness raising) was held. All gay people were encouraged to wear denim to show they were gay. Blue jeans, denim shirts, etc. were encouraged to tell the world you were a homosexual; ISU straight students, not having much else to wear themselves, went into fashion statement panic. All over campus worrying students were made to feel uncomfortable about their wardrobe, and they looked and wondered about their neighbors in class. What about those who were in denim, and what if the ones not wearing blue jeans were "trying to hide it?" An expected controversy erupted within the letters to the editor pages of the ISU Daily.
- October 8, 1974
Dimension Five on WOI-TV, hosted by Betty Lou Varnum, discussed being gay and gay issues with four members of Gay People's Alliance and four members of Lesbian Alliance. The station received many more phone calls than it ever had before during the show.
- Winter Quarter 1974-1975
"Burned Out," the GPA Newsletter for winter quarter, funded by the GSB, was published. Primary editor: Greg Menard.
- Spring Quarter 1975
Sarah Bernhardt's Farewell American Tour, the GPA Newsletter for spring quarter, funded by the GSB, was published. Primary editor: David Windom.
- May 16, 1975
A Gay Dance was held at the Collegiate Presbyterian Church near campus.
- Spring 1975
The second Midwest Gay Pride Conference in Iowa City was sponsored by Gay People's Alliance of Ames and the Gay Liberation Front in Iowa City.
- Spring 1975(?)
Troy Perry and Freda Smith spoke on the ISU Campus (Memorial Union) about gays and religion.
- Spring 1976(?)
Christine Jorgensen was the guest speaker for Greek Week (C.Y. Stephens).
- Summer 1976(?)
"The Boys in the Band," for the THIRD time, was presented in the Union.
- Fall or Winter 1977
David Kopay spoke on Campus (The Little Theater) about being gay in professional sports.