USC LGBT Historical Timeline

LGBT Resource Center: At a Glance

In 1970, a coalition of USC students, staff and faculty initiated an organization called the Gay Liberation Forum and it served as the first LGBT social movement for the University. After years of adversity and at one point threatening legal action against the University, the Gay Liberation Forum received recognition from the USC Board of Trustees in 1975. This allowed the organization to conduct meetings on campus and request for funding. However, it was not until 1985 the Gay and Lesbian Student Union – now known as the Queer and Ally Student Assembly (QuASA) – was approved as a cultural assembly within Program Board.
Today, the QuASA remains a cultural organization within Program Board.

In 2004, QuASA worked with Vincent Vigil, a graduate advisor from the Center from Women and Men, to draft a proposal to create a LGBT department within the Division of Student Affairs. This proposal highlighted retention rates, safety concerns, leadership development and mentorship opportunities for LGBT students. As a result, the Division of Student Affairs approved the proposal and established the LGBT Resource Center (LGBTRC) in 2005 as a department and hired its founding Director – Vincent Vigil. Since that time, the LGBTRC has received many accolades to make USC a national leader in LGBT student services and a desired university of choice for LGBT+ prospective students and their families. The current director is Kelby Harrison, who joined the USC community in 2014.

Timeline

1970

  • The Gay Liberation Forum (GLF), the first LGBT student group, is founded by the Director of the Foreign Language Lab Del Whan (she/her/hers). For years, the group consisted of just male students and Del (the only openly gay USC staff member at the time).

1971

  • The USC Board of Trustees vote to deny GLF recognition as a student organization.
  • The USC Academic Senate votes to request a reconsideration of the GLF decision by the Board of Trustees.
  • The Board of Trustees again denies the request for GLF to be recognized as a student organization.

1972

  • GLF announces legal action against the University to compel recognition.

1975

  • After moving forward with legal action, the Gay Student Union (formerly GLF) requests to be recognized as a student organization by the Board of Trustees.
  • The Board of Trustees approved the Gay Student Union (GSU) proposal for recognition as a student organization.

1976

  • GSU is granted funding from the Campus Activities Allocation Board and an office space from the Student Union Board. GSU is provided an office in Student Union (STU) 313B.
  • GSU begins to book collection to create a gay library in their office space.

1977

  • GSU is given a new space in STU 312D.
  • GSU coordinates their first campus meetings.
  • GSU opens a library of LGBT literature.
  • GSU sponsors its first Gay Celebration Week from May 9-13, 1977. Events included: a lesbian feminist author Rita Mae Brown, gay author Christopher Isherwood, a film festival featuring “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” a gay military discussion, women self-help clinic, panel discussion about coming out and a gay disco dance.

1982

  • Gay and Lesbian Student Union (formerly GSU) sponsors its first Gay Awareness Week in April. The week was endorsed by Governor Jerry Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, actress Jane Fonda and comedian Lily Tomlin.

1985

  • The Gay and Lesbian Student Union (GLSU) receives an unsolicited alumni donation from Taormina, Inc.
  • GLSU sponsors its first fundraiser called University Night at Rage in West Hollywood.
  • GLSU received $5,000 aid to start new programs from Program Board and Student Senate.
  • GLSU becomes a member within the Program Board structure.

1986

  • The first Lambda Alumni Homecoming Festivities is held at Mudd Hall.
  • GLSU changes its name to the Gay and Lesbian Student Assembly (GLSA).
  • GLSA held a discussion called “Homosexuality and Politics” with Mayor of West Hollywood, John Heilman, City Councilmember, Valerie Terrigno and Mayor Pro-Tempora, Stephen Schutle.

1987

  • “Principles of Community” from the Vice President of Student Affairs is the first published announcement in the Daily Trojan.

1988

  • GLSA changes its name to the Gay and Lesbian Assembly for Student Services (GLASS).

1989

  • The Vice President of Student Affairs appoints Advisory Committee on Gay and Lesbian Issues, which later becomes the Student Affairs GLBT Advisory Group.
  • USC creates a policy for faculty, students and staff who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS to be provided with the same access to services, programs, and activities, while also acknowledging that HIV cannot be transmitted by casual contact and poses no health threat to others.

1990

  • The Lambda Alumni Association officially joins the Trojan Family in celebrating Homecoming.
  • GLASS presents a first annual scholarship to a continuing student who has helped to build a more gay-affirmative society, by a grant from Christopher Street West/ Los Angeles.
  • GLASS publishes “A University United to End Homophobia” in the Daily Trojan, now known as the OUTlist.

1991

  • USC celebrates its first National Coming Out Day Festival on October 11.
  • USC Student Health and Counseling Services provides free HIV testing for students funded by a joint $6,000 grant from the American College Health Association and Burroughs-Wellcome. The University also offered a $4,500 grant.
  • University Rap (uRap) begins.

1992

  • With the help of former Vice President of Student Affairs Jim Dennis and former Associate Vice Presidents Kristine Dillion and Cynthia Cherry, the official Lambda Alumni Association charter is granted and signed by USC President Steven Sample.
  • Lambda becomes a part of the Division of Student Affairs.

1993

  • The Gay and Lesbian Assembly for Student Support (GLASS) unanimously votes to change the organization’s name to the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Assembly (GLBA).
  • GLBA enters its first Songfest competition.
  • The Student Counseling Services begins a GLBT mentoring program.
  • USC LGBT graduate students create GradNet as a student organization for LGBT graduate students.

1994

  • A fifty-foot rainbow flag is hoisted in front of Bovard Auditorium for National Coming Out Week sponsored by GLBA.
  • The USC Lambda Alumni Association announces that it will offer a $2,500 scholarship to be awarded to an openly gay, lesbian or bisexual graduate or undergraduate student enrolled during the fall semester.

1995

  • The Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Student Support (GLBTSS) is founded and located at the Center for Women and Men. This creates a new presence for LGBT education and advocacy. GLBTSS is mentioned in SCampus at Orientation and education in residential programming, as well as offers visible support for GLBT students. GLBTSS is under the supervision of Elizabeth Davenport, the Director for the Center for Women and Men.
  • College of Letters, Arts and Sciences (now known as the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences) creates a Task Force for GLBT Studies (which meets for eighteen months, with inconclusive results).
  • GLBA begins a new group, Shades of Troy, for GLBT members of differing ethnic identities.
  • Questions regarding gender and sexual orientation are added to USC’s New Graduate Employment Survey in an attempt to raise consciousness and to indicate the university’s concern about how discrimination in the workplace may affect its graduates.
  • Two-thirds of the annual prizes awarded by the Gender Studies program go to faculty and students presenting papers in gay and lesbian studies.
  • An openly gay student, Tim Brodt, is selected as Mr. USC.
  • GLBA coordinated Graduation and Honors Evening with student leaders Muriel Lynn Jones and Jayzen E.I. Patria that served as the Mistress and Master of Ceremony. At this ceremony, 17 graduates were honored. This tradition continues today and is called Lavender Celebration.
  • USC gave a former fraternity house located at 909 W. Adams Blvd. to the ONE Institute International Gay and Lesbian Archives (now known as ONE Archives), the largest library of its kinds in the nation. Today, the ONE Archives is a part of the USC Libraries.

1996

  • Annenberg Center awards $100,000 for the development of a Queer Cyber Center for youth at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center.
  • The “Queer Frontiers” national graduate student conference for gay and lesbian studies is held at USC.
  • USC Alumni Association recognizes Don Gabard, founder of Lambda Alumni, with the first President’s Award at its annual banquet.
  • Lambda Alumni offers its first scholarships to gay and lesbian students and to students engaged in research in gay and lesbian issues.
  • USC offers domestic partner benefits to faculty and staff (officially known as ‘mutual financial dependent’ benefits).

1997

  • GLBTSS holds its first Generation Queer leadership retreat for GLBT students and their allies. This tradition continues today and is called Generation Queer Emerging Leadership Retreat for first year LGBT & Ally students.
  • GLBTSS takes over the coordination for Lavender Commencement Ceremony for GLBT graduates.
  • GLBA large Rainbow flag in front of Bovard was stolen from the Bovard tower. After this incident the Rainbow flag and others were no longer allowed to hang in front of Bovard.
  • The Greek Diversity Council addresses relations between the Row and gay and lesbian students after it is widely rumored that the theft of the flag from Bovard is the work of a fraternity.
  • USC becomes a founding member of the National Consortium of GLBT Resource Centers in Higher Education.
  • LGBT graduate students establish Lambda Grads, a student organization for LGBT graduate students.

1998

  • GLBA coordinates faculty, staff and students to carry the large rainbow flag down Trousdale Parkway.
  • GLBA sponsors “Tammy Trojan” -Tommy Trojan in drag- to ride in a float at the West Hollywood Pride Parade along with the Bruin Bear and UCLA’s GALA group.
  • Orientation includes a gay character in SCits (months after Ellen came out on national television). Representation of LGBT characters are still represented in the Orientation SCits.
  • Lamppost rainbow flags make their debut along Trousdale Parkway for National Coming Out Week in October. Today these rainbow flags are still being used.
  • The death of gay student Matthew Shepard at the University of Wyoming is marked with a memorial vigil attended by 300 people at Tommy Trojan.
  • Mark DeAngelis is elected as the first openly gay president of the student body at the Marshall School of Business.

1999

  • Student Health and Counseling Services devotes a month of clinical training programs to the health issues of GLBT students.
  • Orientation includes a gay couple in their SCits. Representation of LGBT characters are still represented in the Orientation SCits.
  • The Department of Public Safety creates an official liaison to the GLBT student community.
  • The Career Planning and Placement Center begins an initiative to identify gay-friendly employers to recruit on campus.
  • Student health insurance is expanded to include domestic partner benefits.
  • GLBA sponsors the first Pridefest in April.

2000

  • “Speak Out Against Bigotry and Hatred” is a letter from USC President Steven Sample that is published by the Daily Trojan. It addresses acceptance for LGBT students.
  • GLBA changes their name to the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Student Assembly (GLBTA).

2001

  • The Rainbow Floor is established in Webb Tower – a partnership between GLBTSS and the Office of Residential Education. Today this floor still exists.

2002

  • GLBTSS and Center for Women and Men hire a graduate assistant, Vincent Vigil, to coordinate LGBT programs and educational outreach for the campus community. Vigil later becomes the first director for the LGBT Resource Center in 2005.

2003

  • Lambda Alumni Association becomes an official Alumni Association with the Alumni Association and leaves the Division of Student Affairs.
  • In October, GLBTA stages a mock gay marriage at Tommy Trojan with about 200 people in attendance.
  • Graduate and Professional Student Senates adds a GLBT Concerns Committee to their Constitution, making it a standing committee.
  • Elizabeth Davenport leaves her position as Director of the Center for Women and Men. Davenport initiated the creation of the GLBTSS.
  • GLBTSS changes its name to the LGBT Resource Center (LGBTRC).
  • Lambda Alumni Association, GLBTA and the LGBT Resource Center works together to coordinate Lavender Celebration and a Lambda Scholarship Award Ceremony.
  • Lead by LGBTRC graduate assistant Vincent Vigil, GLBTA student leaders and Vigil develop a proposal to establish the LGBTRC as a department within the Division of Student Affairs with an allocated budget and full-time director.

2004

  • LGBTRC graduate assistant Vincent Vigil is hired by the Division of Student Affairs as a part-time coordinator for the LGBTRC.
  • LGBTRC begins Faculty and Staff Ally training sessions, which is a “safe zone” initiative on campus.
  • LGBTRC begins Ally trainings with Resident Advisors.
  • GLBTA accepts the Ally Alliance as a member organization.
  • GLBTA alter the OUTlist and encourage members to instead sign a Petition Against the Federal Marriage Amendment.

2005

  • LGBTRC becomes an official department within the Division of Student Affairs. LGBTRC Coordinator Vincent Vigil becomes the first full-time director for this department.
  • David Bishop, an out graduate student, is elected Marshall AGBS President.
  • The USC Annenberg School for Communication establishes the Leroy F. Aarons Summer Institute on Sexual Orientation Issues in the News.

2006

  • LGBT Resource Center hosts the California Transgender Leadership Summit at the Topping Student Center.
  • Program Board Speaker’s Committee and the GLBTA sponsor speaker Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard – the 21-year-old college student killed for being a homosexual for USC’s Speak Out Week.
  • The Advocate College Guide acknowledges USC among the Top 20 Best of the Best LGBT Friendly College and Universities in the nation.
  • The Office of Campus Activities sponsors Dave Pallone, a major league Baseball umpire, to speak for USC’s LEADership Week about being gay in sports.

2007

  • The Campus Climate Index awards USC a top five-star rating for its support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

2008

  • The City of Los Angeles issues four proclamations to the USC LGBTResource Center, Lambda Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association, GLBTA and the collective Trojan family for commitment to the LGBT community.
  • Ryan Tischler, a Marshall School of Business staff member, brings the AIDS Memorial Quilt to USC.
  • LGBT Resource Center hosts Campaign Boot Camp with Christine Pelosi, daughter of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It is a collection of seminars and workshops that educated students on civil rights activism and political campaigning.

2010

  • LGBT Resource Center hosts the West Coast Campus Pride LGBT College Prep Day & Fair for California high schools students and university students.
  • The ONE: National Gay and Lesbian Archives becomes a part of the University’s Libraries – it is the world’s largest library collection concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender research.
  • Lambda LGBT Alumni Association hosts a LGBT leaders in science and engineering groundbreaking career summit at USC
    The GLBTA changes their name to the Queer and Ally Student Assembly (QuASA).

2011

  • QuASA and LGBT Resource Center hosts the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s LifeWorks Mentoring Program’s 19th Annual Models of Pride Conference for about 970 high school and college students.
  • QUASA hosts the Pride Project at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, educating USC students, local high school students and community members about bullying, depression and other challenges for LGBT youth through art.
  • LGBT Resource Center Director, Vincent Vigil, makes a presentation called, “Strengthening Admissions Protocols to Support LGBT Students & Their Families” at the Inaugural U.S. Department of Education’s Improving Campus Climate for LGBT Students
    USC Spectrum sponsors John Waters, the infamous moviemaker.
  • Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Government pass resolutions in support of establishing a gender-neutral bathroom in the student union and in support of gender neutral housing.
  • The Office of the Provost and the Vice President of Student Affairs approves a gender-inclusive pilot program for the Rainbow Floor – a proposal brought forth by the Rainbow Floor Resident Advisor, QuASA and LGBT Resource Center.

2014

  • Kelby Harrison is hired as the new director of the LGBT Resource Center.