October 24, 2023
Have you ever wondered when the first LGBTQ student group formed at Georgetown? Or when Lavender Graduation was first held? Or what events led to the creation of the LGBTQ Resource Center? All of these questions, and more, can be answered by scheduling a trip to the University Archives to conduct research in the records of the LGBTQ Resource Center. These records document not just the history and development of the Center, but also that of the University community it serves going back to the 1970s.
The Center’s history is unique. It is believed to be the first fully-funded center established at a Catholic university to support the needs of LGBTQ students in the United States. Its creation is a direct result of student activism. Following incidents of violence and harassment targeting LGBTQ students in 2007, a coalition of students organized the “Out for Change” campaign demanding University-wide changes to better support LGBTQ students on campus, while rallying support for the changes among faculty, staff and students. The University administration agreed to make the proposed changes asked for, including the creation of a fully-funded resource center with full-time personnel.
The records of the Center date back to its founding in 2008. They focus on events hosted or sponsored by the Resource Center, such as Lavender Graduation, Pride Week and OUTober. Other materials in the collection document the “Out for Change” campaign, the LGBTQ Working Group, on-campus resources for LGBTQ students, and copies of the annual Attaché report on LGBTQ life at Georgetown. A number of digital items from the records of the LGBTQ Resource Center were recently published in DigitalGeorgetown and are available to current Georgetown students, faculty, and staff through login with a NetID.
The collection also includes materials donated to the Center related to the formation of early student groups in the 1970s; the lawsuit filed by the Gay People of Georgetown University (GPGU) and the Gay Rights Coalition (GRC) against the University for official recognition and funding; and materials related to GU Pride and the Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae Association of Georgetown University (GALA).
Supplementing this material is an oral history collection created by the founding director of the LGBTQ Resource Center Sivagami “Shiva” Subbaraman. This collection features recorded interviews between Subbaraman and various members of the Georgetown community as they recount the formation and growth of the LGBTQ Resource Center at Georgetown University. The recordings are available in DigitalGeorgetown and can be accessed through this link (NetID login required). For those without NetID access looking to access the collection's digital materials and oral history recordings, please contact the University Archives for assistance.
To learn more about the records, or to schedule an appointment to view the collection, please contact the University Archives.
Ann Galloway, Assistant University Archivist