DePaul Takes Pride in Its LGBTQ Collections

This month our student assistant, Jade Ryerson (sophomore history major), has taken over the controls for our blog post.

In recognition of Pride Month and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, this June seemed like an opportune time to highlight and trace DePaul’s own history with queer and trans activism through relevant materials in DePaul University’s Special Collections and Archives (SPCA).

The University Archives includes the Office of LGBTQA Student Services records. This collection contains University documents describing administrative efforts to address the recognition and promotion of LGBTQ student groups, such as the Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Student Union, Spectrum, and PRIDE, during the 1980s and 1990s. Internal memos and correspondence with other universities shed light on the university’s discussion about how to best support students and respond to their requests.

While university administrators were grappling with policy and procedure, student leaders guided the conversation on campus, inviting speakers that would help increase openness and inclusion.  In November 1998, the student group PRIDE hosted the forum “Homosexuality and the Catholic Church,” featuring Rev. Thomas Gumbleton—now a retired Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit.  At the forum, Bishop Gumbleton explained how his view of homosexuality drastically changed after his brother came out. To learn more, you can read an article published in The DePaulia describing the event. Other materials related to this event can also be found in the Office of LGBTQA Student Services records.

Additional materials in this collection speak to the efforts of faculty, including the publication of “Out at DePaul: Emergence of an Open Faculty Community,” describing experiences of LGBTQ faculty during the 1980s. Another report, “Putting It All Together: The Creation of an LGBTQ Minor” details how DePaul became the first Catholic university to establish an LGBTQ Studies minor in 2005.

St. Vincent de Paul "Fierce" t-shirt, box 6.
St. Vincent de Paul “Fierce” t-shirt, box 6.

The Office of LGBTQA Student Services records also include materials produced by students, such as a ‘fierce’ depiction of St. Vincent created by Spectrum in 2011. Compelling titles from the 2016 student-organized event, Act Out DePaul “50 Shades of Gay” Zine Exchange, can also be found in this collection, including You Are Not Broken: A Zine about Asexuality, Every Body is a Modified Body, Sista’s Speak Up: Selected interviews, reflections, and writings from the women of the Black Panther Party, and Women are in Prison.

Special Collections also has its fair share of books about the broader LGBTQ community of Chicago. If you’re not burnt out from finals yet, consider adding Proyecto Latina: Descubriéndonos- A Study on the Lives of Latina LGBTQ Women in Chicago or Evaluating the Role of Chicago’s Liaison to the Gay Community to your reading list. For something with a broader geographic scope, you might be interested in Long Before Stonewall: Histories of Same-Sex Sexuality in Early America or Gays Under the Cuban Revolution.

Or if you’re interested in a quick read, take a look at the Inge Stockburger, Anthony Rayson, and Michelle Luellen zine collections in Community Archives. These self-published volumes provide a look into queer literature produced independently of academia and the publishing industry. Titles of note include: Bash Back! Press – Queer and Transgendered Prison Solidarity, What’s So Queer about Bykes?, HIV/AIDS Mobile Clinics, Out of the Closets and into the Libraries: A Collection of Radical Queer Moments, Gender Anarky, and Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time has Come.

Transgender Liberation, Michelle Luellen zine collection, box 4, folder 23.
Transgender Liberation, Michelle Luellen zine collection, Box 4, Folder 23.

So, the next time you find yourself a seeking a reprieve from the blazing summer sun, consider a visit to DePaul’s Special Collections and Archives in JTR 314. There’s plenty of time to do some good reading before the Pride parades kickoff.

To view these materials or any of our other collections, please visit SPCA during our regular hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. On June 17th we will begin our summer hours of Monday through Thursday 1:00pm to 5:00pm. To learn more about DePaul Special Collections and Archives, visit our webpage or contact us at

One Reply to “DePaul Takes Pride in Its LGBTQ Collections”

  1. Great way to highlight both University Archives, book collections, and the zines! Thanks so much for the wonderful write up!

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