Archival Collections
Columbia University Archives

Columbia LGBT records, 1961-1990 bulk 1967-1989 

Columbia University. Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender Alliance
Phys. Desc: 
8.83 linear feet (8.83 linear feet 8 record cartons 2 document boxes)
Call Number: 
Columbia University Archives
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Online information

Biographical Note

Led by Stephen Donaldson, an openly bisexual student, Columbia students banded together to start the Columbia Student Homophile League (SHL, 1967-1970) in 1967. Columbia University was the first university in the country to officially recognize a gay student group. The name of this group has evolved over the years in response to changing views and needs of the LGBT community on campus. In 1970 the group was renamed Gay People at Columbia (GPC, 1970-1985) and was also referred to as Gay People at Columbia-Barnard (GPC-B) between1972-1976. In 1984-85, around the time of co-education at Columbia College, the group merged with Lesbians at Barnard to form Columbia Gay and Lesbian Alliance (CGLA, 1985-1989). In November 1989 CGLA renamed itself Columbia Lesbian Bi-Sexual Gay Coalition (LBGC, 1989-1998) in order to be more inclusive of those who identify as bisexual. In the late 1990s the group adopted the name "Columbia Queer Alliance" (1998-present) as "queer" is considered more inclusive of the whole community.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of newspaper clippings, publications, correspondence, memos, meeting minutes, and promotional material related to the activities and interests of Columbia's LGBT student groups. It also contains some syllabi, reading material on homosexuality, financial statements, surveys, and a few photographs. This collection extensively documents the activities of Columbia's nationally and internationally recognized LGBT student groups from the establishment of the Student Homophile League in 1967 through 1990. The collection offers insight into gay life at Columbia University and includes extensive correspondence containing frequent requests for information about making social contacts in the gay community and from researchers of all ages looking for assistance with their projects on topics related to homosexuality. Through collected subject files, the collection also documents gay life on other university campuses in the 1970s. Lastly, the contents of this collection also bear witness to the rise of queer studies in university curricula via syllabi and readings from the "gay study group" in the 1980s.