Understanding the LGBTQ experience at Duke and beyond
This exhibit highlights the major points of struggle and triumph in Duke’s LGBTQ history over the past
50 years. This exhibition begins with the earliest records of LGBTQ activity on campus, the dark days
of arrest and expulsions, and culminates with the thriving and active queer community seen at Duke
today. This transition was neither quick nor linear. LGBTQ individuals on Duke’s campus faced major
setbacks in every one of the last five decades.
This showcase also functions as a timeline, marching the observer decade by decade in order to view
every artifact within the greater context of Duke’s queer struggle. This exhibit includes arrest
records for “homosexuality” in the 1960s, early ‘70s-era queer publications, the dechartering of the
gay and lesbian alliance in the ‘80s, the establishment of the LGB center during the 1990s, same-sex
unions permitted in Duke Chapel at the start of the new millennium, and finally a reflection of the
current vibrancy of Duke’s LGBTQ community.