Special Collections & University Archives
Search Special Collections
Monday - Friday:
The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.
Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
ODU Gay and Lesbian Student Union
The ODU Gay and Lesbian Student Union (GLSU) was founded in 1988 and held its first meeting in January 1989. Before that time, in the mid and late 1980s, gay and lesbian students met at a weekly support group held at the University's Campus Catholic Ministry. Even before that, a Gay Student Alliance existed on campus in the mid and late 1970s.
In the early days the organization was met with some degree of intolerance, if not outright hostility. Flyers and posters were torn down or defaced with anti-gay slurs. The group sought to change stereotypes and misconceptions through a "Shattering the Myths" poster and flyer campaign. They held an annual National Coming Out Day Social, every October 11, and a Lesbigay Awareness Week every spring. Lesbigay Awareness week was usually held in conjunction with the Annual Breaking the Ice Winter Gay Pride Festival in Webb Center co-hosted by the GLSU and the Hampton Roads Gay and Lesbian Pride Coalition.
The GLSU also co-hosted homophobia awareness workshops on campus with a faculty / staff organization called the Sexual Orientation Support committee. This group was made up largely of straight, female staff members who had previously worked on the campus AIDS committee. Staff from the Student Health Center, Counseling Services, the Women's Center, Student Activities, and other departments were represented.
The GLSU also went to gay and lesbian conferences hosted by other Virginia colleges, and networked with other Virginia colleges through two grassroots organizations known as the Triangle Network and the Virginia Area Rainbow Student Alliance (VARSA). Many GLSU members were also a part of a Hampton Roads gay and lesbian youth groups known as Youth Out United (Y.O.U.). In fact, both groups shared common founders.
The GLSU was originally slated as a "political" student organization, and many of the groups members did participate in political protests, including a March on the Norfolk Military base protesting anti-gay discrimination; a shooting at the Anvil Bar; anti-gay hiring practices at Cracker Barrel Restaurant; and Mel White's protest of CBN. Members also attended the 1993 March on Washington for gay and lesbian rights; and supported Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential campaign.
In 1991, a rash of anti-gay graffiti broke out on campus. Slogans such as "Kill a Fag;" "Rape a Lesbian," and other derogatory statements were painted in halls and stairwells across campus and even in surrounding areas including Waterside and a Gay and Lesbian bookstore on 21st Street in Norfolk. The group doing the graffiti called itself "Skull and Bones", and was allegedly made up of members of the College Republicans, but no convictions were ever made. At least one officer of the GLSU, came to his car one night after a meeting to find a group of men standing near his car with what appeared to be baseball bats or tire irons. He was not hurt, probably because a staff member drove him to his car that night, but later he found key scratches where his car had been vandalized.
At first the GLSU, did not feel that President Koch or the University Administration were doing enough to counter a hostile and unsafe environment for lesbians and gays on campus. They took their concerns to the Virginian-Pilot and local television news. Finally, in January of 1992, the GLSU met with President Koch and other University officials to discuss their concerns.
Besides asking the University to take a proactive role in cleaning up the graffiti and providing homophobia training for ODU faculty / staff, they called for the abolishment of other inequities on campus toward gay and lesbian students, faculty, and staff, as well as advancements that would help make the campus more equal for gays and lesbians. Other wish list items included an office for Gay and Lesbian concerns, partner benefits for faculty / staff, expanding ODU curricula to include Gay and Lesbian Studies courses, and removing ROTC from campus until it complies with ODU's non-discrimination policy. .
Beyond the initial meetings, a campus committee called the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Action Committee (GLBAC) was formed to further research and act on these needs. While many of these things did not come to pass, a Graduate Assistant for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Concerns position was created within Multicultural Student Services to act as a liaison between gay, lesbian, and bisexual students and the University Administration and to continue to advance the needs of these students on campus. A facilitator on gay and lesbian issues named Kathy O'bear was also brought in to provide homophobia training to faculty and staff in June 1992.
In 1993, the Gay and Lesbian Student Union changed its name to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Students and Allies in order to be more inclusive. The group has changed its name again in 2001 to become ODU Out.
Scope and Contents
Material dates from the 1970s through the present, with most of the materials dating from the 1990s. Included are organizational materials such as the group’s constitution, meeting agendas, and correspondence; flyers and information on various events and protests; agendas and minutes from other campus gay and lesbian groups such as the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Action Committee (GLBAC), Sexual Orientation Support Committee (SOS), and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance (the faculty / staff group); Safes Space committee; information related to other Hampton Roads and Virginia organizations such as the Hampton Roads Lesbian and Gay Pride Coalition, Queer Nation, the Tidewater Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Triangle Network and Virginia Area Rainbow Student Alliance (VARSA), Virginians for Justice, and Youth Out United (Y.O.U.); National organizations such as the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign Fund, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and United States Student Association; included are information on various issues and protests both on campus and off; resources for gay and lesbian people including articles on various gay and lesbian issues, coming out resources, resources on homophobia and heterosexism, gay and lesbian identity development, and creating a campus environment that discourages gay bashing; 1994 messages from a gay listserv called Gaynet; news clippings, articles, and letters to the editor from the Mace and Crown, Courier, Our Own Community Press, USA Today, and the Virginian Pilot related to gay and lesbian issues in general and the student group specifically; VHS tapes of the 1991 graffiti and news clips about it; a VHS tape titled “Out for the Count: Why Gay’s Should Vote for Clinton in 1992”; and various other materials related to the group.
Series I: Organization. This series contains organizational materials such as the GLSU’s constitution, meeting agendas, correspondence, committees, and materials related to the 1993 name change. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
Series II: Events. This series contains information on GLSU and GLSU related events including social events, homophobia and other awareness workshops and campaigns, Gay pride festivals, speakers, and protests. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
Series III: Other Campus Groups and Committees. This series includes information on the other gay and lesbian campus groups and committees, including minutes and agendas from the GLBAC meetings that met in 1991 and 1992 to address the graffiti and inequities toward gays and lesbians. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
Series IV: Local Hampton Roads and Virginia Organizations. This series includes materials related to the GLSU’s interaction with other gay and lesbian groups in Hampton Roads and Virginia. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
Series V: National Organizations. This series includes materials related to national organizations advocating for gay and lesbian rights. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
Series VI: Issues and Protests. This series includes materials on various issues and protests that members of the GLSU were involved with both on campus and off. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
Series VII: Resources. This series includes resources including bibliographies, articles, resources, and guides. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
Series VIII: Gaynet messages. This series contains messages from a gay and lesbian student listserv / message board called Gaynet. Materials are arranged chronologically.
Series IX: News Clippings and Articles. This series contains news clippings, articles, and letters to the editor that appeared in the Courier, Mace and Crown, Our Own, USA Today, and Virginian Pilot. Most of these relate specifically to the GLSU, but a few are on gay and lesbian issues in general. Also included is an index of Mace and Crown and Courier Articles related to the ODU gay, lesbian, and bisexual student groups. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
Series X: Miscellaneous. This series contains miscellaneous items such as ads, newsletters, and other items not specifically related to the GLSU.
Series XI: Other Media. This series contains two VHS tapes. One tape shows the anti-gay graffiti on campus in 1991 and includes some television news clips related to these incidents. The other tape is a political advertisement for Bill Clinton and his views on gay issues in 1992.
Open to researchers without restrictions. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian.
6 Hollinger Document Cases
Series I: Organization
Gay and Lesbian Student Union
Gay Lesbian Bisexual Students and Allies
Series II: Events
Series III: Other Campus Groups and Committees
Gay Lesbian Bisexual Action Committee (GLBAC)
Gay Lesbian Bisexual Discussion Group
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance (Faculty Staff Group)
Sexual Orientation Support Committee (SOS)
Safe Space Committee
Series IV: Local Hampton Roads and Virginia Organizations
Hampton Roads Lesbian and Gay Pride Coalition (HRLGPC)
National Organization for Women (NOW)
Virginia Area Rainbow Student Alliance (VARSA)
Virginians for Justice
Youth Out United
Series V: National Organizations
Human Rights Campaign Fund
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
United States Student Association
Series VI: Issues and Protests
Series VII: Resources
Series VIII: Gaynet Messages
Series: IX: News Clippings and Articles
Series X: Miscellaneous
Series XI: Other Media