Appalachian State University LGBT Life, 1999-2009


Appalachian State University's LGBT Center

From 1999 to 2009, additional growth to Appalachian State University LGBT community occured, especially within the teaching faculty. New professors, such as Jill Ehnenn and Kim Hall, began regularly teaching LGBTQ-themed courses. Beginning in 2000, Hall, later joined by Ehnenn and David Orvis, also coordinated the Queer Film Series, which provided a variety of LGBT-themed feature films and documentaries during October, Gay History Month. Others integrated LGBT and feminist activism into their extracurricular activities. In 2005, ASU faculty and alumni created Boone Pride, a now annual pride event held each June.

In 2002, BGLAAD officers renewed an earlier request for an LGBT Center. In response, Vice Chancellor Greg Blimling charged a task force to study the campus needs with regards to LGBT students, faculty, and staff. After making the recommendations and a brief hiatus, the GLBT Task Force reconvened to pursue the recommendations' proposals. Members of various student organizations, such as Student Government Association, BGLAAD/SAGA, and later transACTION, participate as do teaching faculty and Student Development personnel. The Voices Project, Appalachian Allies (safe zone) program, a study on domestic partner benefits, and the LGBT Center resulted from the task force's efforts.[1][2]


SAGA at NC Pride (2008)

Although a campus employee transitioned in the early 1990s, campus organizations, programs, and policies did not reflect the presence of transgender students, faculty, and staff until the mid-2000s. The formation of transACTION, a transgender-centered student organization, spread campus awareness. This new organization participates in educational programming and community functions such as ASU's Diversity Celebration and Boone Pride.[3] In an effort to reflect its inclusivity of gender variance, BGLAAD changed its name to Sexuality and Gender Alliance, thereby reverting to its original acronym.[4] The two groups co-exist and members participate in each others' functions. In 2008, the campus adapted to the growing awareness of transgender campus members by creating gender neutral private bathrooms, a gender identity and expression-inclusive EEO, and a trans-sensitive housing policy.[5][6]


  1. Brittany Penland, “Faculty Expands Equal Opportunity Policy,” The Appalachian, 6 March 6 2008, pp. 1-2
  2. Emily Melton, “New Policy Promotes Equality,” The Appalachian, 9 September 2008, pp. 1, 3.
  3. Merchant, Julia. "New Club Addresses Transgender Issues." The Appalachian, 31 October 2006, p. 3.
  4. Casey, Allison. "B-GLAAD Votes to Undergo Name Change." The Appalachian, 22 February 2007, p. 5.
  5. Penland, Brittany. "Faculty Expands Equal Opportunity Policy." The Appalachian, 6 March 2008, p. 1.
  6. Harr, Julia. "Unisex Restrooms Approved." The Appalachian, 30 November 2006, p. 1.