Cornell University has been home to organized LGBTQ student groups for over 40 years. During that time these groups have been working to make our university a safe, accepting, and enriching campus for the thousands of Cornellians who attend under the university’s “any student, any study” philosophy. Forging the way for the dynamic LGBTQ community that now calls our campus home was the Student Homophile League (later known as the Gay Liberation Front), a group founded in 1968 after news of Columbia’s progressive Student Homophile League reached Ithaca. Cornell’s was the second gay rights group formed on a college campus and one of the organizations that laid the foundation for queer awareness in higher education. The Student Homophile League fostered an environment that encouraged queer pride at a time when the gay rights movement was just blossoming in major cities across the US. Over the years the Student Homophile League grew and transformed, changing names and mission statements a number of times to reflect current events as well as the evolving interests and concerns of its members.
Today, the LGBT community on Cornell’s campus is experiencing a spirited reawakening. HAVEN: The LGBTQ Student Union is making tremendous strides in increasing awareness about our community through educational and social programs. HAVEN is the hub for a plethora of different organizations that work to broaden our community and foster a sense of belonging and acceptance. These groups include the Gay Straight Alliance, OUTREACH: A support group for Gay, Bisexual, and Questioning Men, LBQ: A support group for Lesbian, Bisexual, and Questioning Women, DASH: Direct Action to Stop Heterosexism, and many others. We have even recently established Q Magazine: Cornell’s first magazine dedicated to news about the LGBT and Ally community.
The LGBT Resource Center is an excellent place where students can meet to socialize, study, learn, and plan events, and this year, we have many exciting programs and events in store for the Cornell Community. This year, we will be hosting such speakers as Kit Yan, Kate Bornstein, and Dr. Marjorie Hill. We recently held a night of Drag Bingo, hosted by Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestant
Pandora Boxx, and preparations have already begun for HAVEN’S largest annual event—the gigantic LGBT and Ally dance entitled Filthy Gorgeous. Filthy Gorgeous is one of Cornell’s most anticipated and exciting events of the year. It is designed to bring the entire campus community together to dance and have fun, but most importantly, it is a fundraiser for New York City’s shelter for
transgender youth, Sylvia’s Place.
Though the appearance and members of Cornell’s LGBTQ groups have surely changed since 1968, the overall goal has remained the same: make Cornell a place where our peers can learn and grow as individuals while feeling welcomed and supported by the community.
Written by: Stephan Maldonado, class of ’12 and Alex Taylor, class of ’13.
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