On June 21, Ball State Graduate School had its first pride picnic at West Quad. This picnic served as the department’s way to honor and celebrate our LGBTQ students as well as commemorate Pride Month.
How Pride Came to Be
The first pride march was held on June 28, 1970, the one-year anniversary of the first day of the Stonewall riots. According to the Library of Congress, the Pride and pride march was from the planning of the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee, a group formed by activists. The committee “defined its aim of holding a massive march at the culmination of Gay Pride Week (June 22-28).” 1999 President Bill Clinton declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. It continues to be celebrated and honored to this day.
Campus LGBT History
According to its description on Benny Link, Spectrum “has served as Ball State University’s organization for gender, sexual and romantic minorities, and their allies” since 1974. The organization’s history has been digitized and sits in a collection titled Spectrum Records in Ball State’s Digital Media Repository.
Before Spectrum, there was the Gay Alliance/ Gay Activists Union. A document received on October 18, 1974, shows The Gay Alliance/Gay Activists Union’s “Intent to Organize. The file states that the organization’s intent was to “educate the mis or uninformed with facts pertaining to homosexuality.” The organization continued to exist until there was a five-year pause. In 1983, the Gay Alliance/ Gay Activists reemerged to serve Ball State’s gay and lesbian population.
The organization has gone through several name changes. In 1986, the organization changed its name to the Ball State University Gay and Lesbian Alliance. In 1990, the group changed its name to the Lesbian and Gay Student Association (LGSA), which was then changed to the Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Student Association (LBGSA).
During this time, the organization provided events, information, and resources to support its members better. One service provided was the LGSA Housing Assistance Committee, which was a committee created to help match members with compatible roommates.
In 2000 LBGSA changed its name to Spectrum to better show the “diversity of sexual and gender identities that make up the organization’s membership.” The organization continues to meet its founding member’s goals through various events such as Spectrum’s National Coming Out Day Celebration and Lavender Graduation.
Today, Spectrum falls under the Multicultural Center where both organizations continue to support LGBTQ+ students.
Currently, Spectrum works regularly with the community and helps organize an annual drag show.
According to the Director of the Multicultural Center, Gabrielle Lloyd, Spectrum organizes drag shows each year to give back to Muncie Outreach, a local Queer organization.
In the Multicultural Center, LGBT students are supported through a wide array of initiatives such as Campus Pride Month and The Lavender Door, a confidential service that helps students get gender-affirming clothing.
“If a student wants to change up their wardrobe to affirm their gender identity, they can use the Lavender door,” Lloyd said. “It’s completely confidential. So, they can sign up and use that service with us.”
The Multicultural Center also has a Graduate Assistant who focuses on LGBT initiatives. According to Lloyd, it is a donation-based graduate assistantship created by Tim Andrews, a Ball State benefactor.
“[Andrews] put up the donations to have a grad in the Multicultural Center that specifically does LGBTQ work, but more specifically, cross-cultural work between communities of color intersectionality work with students of color and LGBT, whether it’s intersectionality or cross-cultural understanding, that was the goal for Tim Andrews in this position,” Lloyd said.
For Pride Month, Graduate Assistant Daniel Todd has created educational Instagram posts.
“Specifically for Pride month, I’ve been doing past education posts on our Instagram about drag culture, the history of drag culture, and sort of what it looks like in the political sense right now for drag performers and various audiences that want to attend drag events and really trying to focus on the story of transgender and drag performers of colors while talking about those things,” Todd said.