LGBT+ Student Life at Iowa State University: 1970-1999
This section discusses the backlash that LGBT+ students have faced throughout the decades at Iowa State University.
Petition to Defund GLSO 1986
On February 19, 1986, a group of students came together and started a petition to defund the Gay/Lesbian Student Outreach (GLSO) group. Their claim was based on an idea that sexual orientation is a personal conviction similar to a political affiliation and that they should not receive funding for that. The petitioners said that if they have an ideology that they want to promote, then they should finance it themselves and not ask for student government money. The petition did not affect student funding in the end because it was recognized that LGBT+ students paid student fees as well and had a right to ask for the money.
Bomb Threat [Images Flag: 42] 1987
In February of 1987, a bomb threat was made against the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center. The only meeting that was scheduled during that day, was a meeting hosted by the GLSO. The Center’s coordinator Peg Lonnquist, and the Vice President for Student Affairs Thomas Thielen said that they thought that the bomb threat and the GLSO meeting could be connected. The threat was speculated to be initiated due to the recent GLSO funding that was approved. President Eaton, ISU’s president at the time, said that “there are far more positive ways to express oneself than with a bomb threat”.
Claire Hueholt [Images Flag: 2, 5, 6, 10] 1988
Claire Hueholt was a reporter for the Iowa State Daily in 1988. In April of 1988, Campus Review decided to post fliers around the University saying, “To our special friends at Iowa State: The gay and lesbian student outreach - Stop Aids!”. This enraged the LGBT+ community on campus,and Claire Hueholt decided to write about her personal reaction to this display of blatant homophobia. Her partner even states, “Do you ever hate being gay?”. The conversation continues on how being “white, male, and Republican” was what was predominant at the time, and how minorities (racial, ethnic, sexual, gender) were often being excluded from all conversations.
To this article, a flier was posted belittling Claire Hueholt and her opinion expressed in the ISU Daily. The anonymous author refuted every opinion that Hueholt had expressed in the ISU Daily. Additionally, he insulted and belittled her by insulting her personally and her LGBT+ identity. This flyer caused so much turmoil in the LGBT+ community on campus that the community started to fear the level of homophobia at ISU.
President Eaton Rejects the Community[Images Flag: 24, 34] 1990
As part of National Coming Out Day, the LGBT+ community rallied together near the campanile, where they started to spread a message of acceptance and authenticity. About 50 persons showed up at the rally, dressed in tie dye and gay rights pins; and started to dole out hugs to everyone. Iowa State University president at the time, Gordon Eaton, refused to release a statement of support which he accustomed to do to other student led rallies. Members of the community said he was homophobic and that is seemed odd that he wanted for the next president to not show support for rallies starting with them. Meanwhile in the rally, there were many counter protesters who encouraged LGBT+ people to go back in the closet and called them derogatory slurs.
Heterosexual Society [Images Flag: 27,28,29,30,31,61,62,63] 1991
The Heterosexual Society was a group of student who were anti-LGBT and wanted for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Alliance (LGBA or LGB Alliance) to be eradicated from the University. In February of 1991, the first informational meeting of the Heterosexual Society occurred at the Memorial Union. DeAnn Backes was the president of the organization and lead the meeting. The meeting discussed how homosexuality is not a biologically correct life-style and how they considered homosexuality a disease. Some advocates of the LGBT community spoke out and argued how the Heterosexual Society was built out of hatred for homosexuals and it shouldn’t be affiliated with the University. Nonetheless, ISU Daily writers refuted this and said that they should remain an active University organization because everybody should be able to have a group that best suits their interests. The correspondence between supporters and non-supporters went on for a few weeks and eventually ended with the disbarment of the Heterosexual Society.
Assault [Images Flag: 26] 1991 ** Trigger Warning **
On April 19 of 1991, a member of the LGBT+ community at Iowa State University was assaulted in Welch Avenue, in Campustown. A member of Phi Alpha Gamma was a witness to this event and reported how they were walking at the corner of Welch Ave and Chamberlain Street and a “blond, clean-shaven, six feet tall, and 165 pound” man punched his partner in the face. The suspect later got in a vehicle and drove off.
Hate Mail [Images Flag: 49, 50] 1996
On Easter Sunday in 1996, the LGB Alliance received two anonymous letters from individuals located in Des Moines, which talked about how they thought that funding the LGB Alliance and promoting this lifestyle would break the American family structure. The letters talked about how homosexuality is an immoral lifestyle and how it goes against the Christian scriptures. They also mentioned their belief homosexuality does not produce healthy relationships and that they should instead promote relationships between men and women.
Vandalized Posters [Images Flag: 51,52,53,54,55,56] 1996
In 1996, a campaign by LGBT+ students was initiated in order to normalize and create awareness about how being LGBT+ is normal. The campaign consisted of posting different flyers about LGBT+ couples showing affection to each other in order to expose how normal it is. Nonetheless, most of the flyers that were posted around the campus were vandalized and/or destroyed by people who didn't agree with LGBT+ people. The flyers had been drawn over, burned with cigarettes, and ripped apart.