Duke University Libraries
Queering Duke History

Introduction

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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.