The origins of Pride Month date to 1969, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a queer bar in New York, fought back against police who were again raiding their bar. Two transgender women of color resisted arrest, sparking what became an uprising over multiple nights.
It was common in those days for police to raid and shut down gay bars; “homosexual acts” were illegal in every state except Illinois. Many consider the Stonewall uprising a decisive moment for the fight for gay rights, in the context of a civil rights movement. In 2016, President Barack Obama designated the site of the Stonewall uprising a national monument.
In the same year as the uprising, University of Oregon students founded the Gay People’s Alliance. It was the first organization of its kind at a West Coast university and one of few such organizations recognized as a formal student group eligible for university funding. In the late 1980s, a Standing Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Concerns was formed at the UO to enhance the quality of life for the LGBT community and the university as a whole. In 1993, the first position in support of LGBTQIA+ students was created. Visit the UO Libraries digital exhibit, Creating Change: Forty Years of LGBTQ Activism at the University of Oregon, for more on LGBTQ history at the UO.
Pride Month is different this year, as we navigate how to connect while being physically distant. Throughout the year, there have been social groups, movies, lectures, discussions, and more. As many on campus are gone for much of June, university Pride events take place in May. Events have included a keynote Pride speaker Alok addressing Beyond the Gender Binary, a Pride Craft and Tea Time, and Oregon Hillel Pride week events.
Pride will swell in June when Lavender Graduation occurs and LGBTQ seniors receive their hard-earned diplomas. Explore a few of their experiences below. You can also listen to LGBTQ students discuss Pride; hear about a recent queer alumna; peruse a nationally recognized project on the history of lesbians in Oregon; and review a digital project from the UO Libraries on the Oregon newspaper, Just Out: Oregon’s lesbian and gay newsmagazine, published from 1983 to 2013.
Major: MS (conflict and dispute resolution), JD (public interest law), 2021
Hometown: Dallas, TX
What was a favorite LGBTQIA place or activity at the UO?
"One of my proudest moments is working with LGBTESS to organize the UO OUTLaws’ National Coming Out Day banquet in 2019.” LGBTESS is the UO LGBT Education and Support Services that works to enhance the experience of UO's LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and staff. “We raised $4,000 for the Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship, providing funding for law students who work to advance equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. The ability to give forward to future students and bring LGBT-identifying legal professionals together to reflect on their experiences coming out will be a memory I cherish long after I graduate."
Being a part of the LGBTQIA+ Community
Major: Advertising, 2022
Hometown: Sandy, OR
Major: Journalism, 2021
Hometown: Monmouth, OR
As a University of Oregon student in the School of Journalism and Communication, Jasmine Jackson was a featured artist at the 2019 and 2020 UO Queer Film Festivals and was involved with projects such as the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Don’t Touch My Hair exhibit. She worked as a student photographer and videographer for the Division of Equity and Inclusion and university communications. You can read about her time at the UO in “A Duck reflects on Pride Month and her journey to graduation.”
Jackson has been busy since graduation. She has been an assistant producer at Blue Chalk Media, had an internship at Oregon Public Broadcasting as a production assistant, and received a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation for artists’ work in support of Black Lives Matter for The Scary Truth, her video series exploring the question, “What are your thoughts on the current climate?” She’s currently a junior editor at Wieden + Kennedy, a global marketing and advertising firm based in Portland.
UO Pride Dance Break
Lesbian Oral History Project
Oral histories with 83 narrators, a digital exhibit, providing scholars and educators with curated paths of exploration for their own research and teaching projects, and a short documentary film make up the Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project. This community-based, digital humanities project preserves and shares the unique history of the lesbian community in Eugene, Oregon. It is coordinated by Judith Raiskin, associate professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Linda Long, curator of manuscripts in Special Collections and University Archives, UO Libraries.
In April 2021, Raiskin and Long were awarded an Oregon Heritage Excellence Award for outstanding heritage efforts. Raiskin was also awarded an Oregon Cultural Trust award to make a documentary; she is working with Boxcar Assembly production company in Portland. Filming will continue as pandemic restrictions are lifted.
Visit the Eugene Lesbian History Project to watch video interviews during Pride month (or anytime!) and check out other aspects of this digital collection. Stay tuned for new developments.
Famous for three decades as “Oregon’s lesbian and gay news magazine,” Just Out premiered on October 28, 1983. Printed bimonthly and distributed free around Portland, it provided a news platform and editorial voice for the region’s LGBTQIA+ community at a time when traditional newsrooms were mostly unwelcoming to these stories.
Now, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Just Out is the latest publication to be digitized by the UO Libraries’ award-winning Oregon Digital Newspaper Program. In partnership with the Oregon Historical Society Library and the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest, the library has made all issues from 1983 to 2011 freely available and keyword-searchable on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website.
Encompassing an era of change spanning from HIV/AIDS awareness to early victories in the struggle for marriage equality, Just Out offered extensive coverage of LGBTQIA+ community and culture in the Pacific Northwest across three eventful decades. Alongside its excellent journalism, the paper featured a provocative letters page and bold, iconic cover images.
A source of pride for Oregon, this historic trove of news and opinion from Queer perspectives is now available to access free online.
Fall 2021 Queer Studies Classes:
WGS 322 | Queer Theory - CRN 17205