Cornell LGBT Coalition Records

Investigator: Stephen Vider, History

Collaborator: Brenda Marston, Rare and Manuscript Collections

Arts & Sciences, 2021

We plan to digitize materials from the Cornell LGBT Coalition Records, dating from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. The Cornell LGBT Coalition was the second LGBT student group in the United States, originally founded in 1968 as the Student Homophile League, inspired by the founding of the Columbia Student Homophile League two years earlier. Over five decades, the Coalition in its various forms (first as the Student Homophile League, then as the Cornell Gay Liberation Front, then as GAYPAC, and later as the LGB then LGBT Coalition) played a critical role in reshaping LGBT identity, community, politics, and experiences on campus and in the Ithaca-area: organizing LGBT festivals, dances, and speaking events; staging protests against LGBT exclusion from local bars and businesses; identifying and pushing back against homophobia on campus; and more largely providing social support to LGBT students. Digitizing materials from the vast records of the Cornell LGBT Coalition, including flyers, photographs, correspondence, and other ephemera, will provide Cornell students and faculty, as well as a wider community of scholars, a critical lens on the development of LGBT college activism and U.S. LGBT activism more broadly. These materials will be a major source for a student-curated exhibition on LGBTQ student life and activism at Cornell, and will be integrated into other future classes at Cornell, including Vider’s lecture course “LGBTQ+ History in the U.S.”