Comprehensive Timeline for Watauga County, North Carolina LGBT Life, 1970-2009

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  • March, 1970: Bisexual Appalachian professor commits suicide
  • January, 1971: The Appalachian publishes “Mastering the Draft – Homosexuality and the Draft,” first public mention of non-pedophile related homosexuality in a Watauga County newspaper
  • 1976: ASU Women’s Studies Program is founded
  • 1976:ASU Counseling Center begins homosexual support group
  • March, 1979: Appalachian Gay Awareness Association (AGAA) requested official recognition from Student Government Association (SGA)
  • April, 1979: ASU SGA passes AGAA Constitution
  • April, 1979: Stony Fork Baptist Association sends ASU petition to not recognize AGAA
Appalachian State University
  • May, 1979: 8% of ASU student population vote 3-to-1 in a Special Student Referendum against the recognition of AGAA
  • June, 1979: AGAA faculty adviser Bill Dunlap moves to Memphis, Tennessee
  • June, 1979: Chancellor Herbert Wey announces that ASU administration decided to approve AGAA
  • Fall, 1979: AGAA president Jeff Isenhour does not return to ASU


  • February, 1980: AGAA has recognition, Maggie McFadden as faculty adviser
  • 1981: Association for Appalachian Women organized
  • 1981: First publication about Gay-Related Immune Deficency (GRID) cases in Los Angeles and New York City
  • 1984: Cris Williamson performs at ASU’s Women’s Week
  • October, 1984: NOW meeting at Jones House
  • 1985: AGAA attempts to reorganize, Cheryl Claassen as faculty adviser
  • April, 1986: ASU AIDS Task Force established by the UNC General Administration; Dean of Students Barbara Daye and Dr. Evan Ashby co-chair
  • May, 1987: Watauga County’s first reported AIDS case
  • November, 1987: Student Affairs sponsors a series of lectures on Gay and Lesbian Awareness for a variety of audiences such as students and Resident Directors
  • December, 1987: ASU AIDS Task Force sponsors AIDS seminar
  • 1987/1988: AIDS Support group founded and continues for 6 years
  • 1989: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) of Boone founded
  • December, 1988: SGA approves condom dispensers in ASU public restrooms
  • January, 1989: Condom dispensers are placed in ASU public restrooms


  • Spring 1990: Sexual Awareness Group of Appalachian (SAGA) founded
  • 1990: Feminist Collective organized
  • August, 1991: Professor dies of complications due to AIDS during paid medical leave
  • Fall, 1991: ASU’s first LGBT course, IDS 3533 Gay Experience/Media Interpretations, offered by Kim Duckett
  • March, 1991: Gays and Lesbians of Watauga received a threatening phone call with bomb scare and stops meeting
  • May, 1991: Earliest known same sex commitment ceremony in Watauga County of Appalachian alumni at the home of local LGBT-allies having been refused by Daniel Boone Gardens
Appalachian State University
  • December, 1992: ASU Student Government Association (SGA) requests that ASU include sexual orientation in the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement
  • December, 1992: AIDS Task Force founded in Boone; the community-based support group dissolves
  • January, 1993: ASU student Paul Dodson reports a gay-related assault
  • January, 1993: ASU faculty approves SGA resolution that ASU include sexual orientation in the university discrimination policy
  • February, 1993: AIDS Task Force set up office in First Baptist Church
  • February, 1993: John Thomas announces the addition of “sexual orientation” to the EEO
  • 1993: Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of the High Country opens
  • October, 1993: SAGA renamed Bisexuals, Gays, and Lesbians Associated for Diversity (B-GLAD)
  • 1994: Gay fraternity Delta Lambda Phi organizes an Appalachian chapter with J.R. Bradshaw as president
  • c. 1995: Delta Love Delta sponsors first Miss Gay Boone World pageant
  • September, 1995: B-GLAD adviser is Mary Ballard
  • October, 1995: Appalachian faculty and community members present a “Speak Out” against hate crimes and intolerance
  • November, 1995: Full page ad in the Appalachian newspaper “your silence equals compliance. Speak out for respect” due to particularly violent messages in tunnel
  • December, 1995: World AIDS Day March and candlelight vigil
  • February, 1996: MASC Troupe organized to speak to local organizations and schools and continues 2 years
  • February, 1996: Multicultural Center opens
  • 1996: MCC pastor Cindy Long becomes ASU chaplain
  • November, 1996: Names Quilt displayed in Boone Unitarian Universialist Fellowship
  • April, 1997: “Six Degrees of Separation” presented Dept. Of Theater and Dance in collaboration with the Charlotte Repertory Theater (which was defunded in Charlotte)
  • 1997: Boone Gay Pride march
  • October, 1997: B-GLAD sponsors a drag show at Legends, continues on annual or biannual basis
  • October, 1997: Full-page article about gay life on campus in Appalachian; interviewees were identified despite being asked not to and were subsequently harassed on campus
  • February, 1998: B-GLAD renamed Bisexuals, Gays, Lesbians, and Allies Advocating for Diversity
  • February, 1998: B-GLAD adviser Mary Ballard reported threatening phone calls on answering machine
  • February, 1998: MASC sponsors Names Quilt at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
  • February, 1998: “Love Makes a Family” shown in ASU’s Multicultural Center
  • February, 1999: Appalachian NOW sponsors National Right to Marry Day mock wedding at the court house
  • February, 1999: First ‘Tunnel of Oppression’; continues to present
  • April, 1999: Appalachian NOW sponsors Day of Silence
  • October, 1999: B-GLAAD paints the tunnel for National Coming Out Day
  • October, 1999: Appalachian tunnel defaced with anti-gay messages; last time tunnel painted for National Coming Out Day


  • April, 2000: B-GLAAD sponsors “Rave 4 AIDS II’ at Rafters to benefit Mountain AIDS Support Council
  • 1999-2000: Appalachian Club Council names B-GLAAD’s Drag Show “Most Creative Fundraiser”
  • October, 2000: Women’s Studies Program and B-GLAAD co-sponsors first annual “Queer Film Series”
  • November, 2000: Eggplant Faerie Players performed “Next Year in Sodom” at Appalachian
  • 2000: Mountain AIDS Support Endowment organized as MASC dissolves
  • April, 2001: Appalachian play, “As Is” about AIDS
  • May, 2001: A Christian group sponsored an activity where individual Christians carried a rock to symbolize their sin. At the end of the week, they placed the rocks at the foot of a wooden cross that they'd put in the Sanford Mall. Local gay Christians decided to join and painted their rocks with pink and rainbow colors to show that queers can be Christian too. An Appalachian columnist angrily wrote about it -- without fully understanding what was going on or talking to the gay participants.
  • October, 2001: Faculty Senate and SGA vote to severe ties to Liberty University after Jerry Falwell’s comments that homosexuals and feminists are the cause of the September 11th terrorist attacks
  • November, 2001: Chancellor Borkowski decides to retain relationship with Liberty University
  • November, 2001: Jimmy Creech of Soulforce speaks on Appalachian campus
  • 2002: BGLAAD requests a funded GLBT Center
  • 2002: Vice Chancellor Greg Blimling organizes an Appalachian GLBT Taskforce to study the campus climate
  • 2002: MCC of the High Country leaves the denomination, reorganizes, and joins Christ’s Church United
  • January, 2003: Student Development Diversity Committee conducts a confidential Campus

Climate Survey to assess Appalachian’s experiences related to race, creed, and sexuality

  • April, 2003: B-GLAAD sponsors a “Second Chance Prom”
  • April, 2003: B-GLAAD annually participates in National Day of Silence
  • April, 2003: ASU Dept. Of Theatre and Dance produces “The Laramie Project” to benefit the Actors’ Fund
  • September, 2003: ASU AppCard long distance callers directed to gay men’s porn telephone line
  • 2003-2004: Watauga High School students attempt to organize a gay-straight alliance; Watauga County School Board says no
  • February, 2004: ASU GLBT climate survey results announced
  • March, 2004: ASU Student Government Association Senator Amanda Zeddy introduced Resolution 037-012 requesting equal access to university soft benefits for domestic partners of faculty and staff
  • April, 2004: Watauga High School Day of Silence protested by three students who are suspended for offensive clothing and anti-Day of Silence adults picket school
  • April, 2004: Watuaga County School Board reinstates suspended students
  • Fall, 2004: Watauga High School’s Diversity Club organized
  • August, 2004: ASU LGBT Staff/Faculty Group, an unofficial organization, founded
  • October, 2004: NC Outings founded
  • April, 2005: Watauga High School Day of Silence participants not allowed to advertize their activity on campus
  • April, 2005: First Watauga High School Day of Truth
  • July, 2005: First Boone Pride Dance, annual event
  • September 18, 2005: First “Gathering of the Queers”
  • September, 2005: B-GLAAD attends its first NC Pride March
  • October, 2005: reorganizes to act a hub of local information
  • October 11, 2005: Lesbian Janet Pepin wins Boone town council seat
  • March 2006: Dept. Of Theatre and Dance produces “Closets are for Clothes”
  • Spring 2006: Watauga High School’s Day of Silence is inclusive of all -isms and no problems reported
  • Spring 2007: ASU’s SGA addresses single stall bathrooms issue
  • Fall 2007: Single stall bathrooms approved
  • Fall 2007: ASU’s transACTION approved
  • January 2008: BGLAAD renamed Sexuality and Gender Alliance
  • Spring 2008: ASU’s Faculty Senate votes to add ‘gender identity and expression’ to EEO
  • Spring 2008: Trans housing policy committee addresses trans students needs
  • April 2008: Watauga County School superintendent Bobbie Short allows students absent on the Day of Silence and the Day of Truth to receive excused absences; silent students penalized as per the law
  • May 2008: ASU’s first Lavender Graduation with 12 graduates
  • August 2008: Gender identity and gender expression added to ASU’s EEO policy
  • October 2008: Grand Opening of ASU’s LGBT Center
  • October 2008: Watauga High School principal approves Gay-Straight Alliance
  • April 2009: Watauga High School’s GSA participates in the Day of Silence without incident wearing “Gay? Fine by Me” shirts. One teacher also wore the shirt.
  • March 2009: Town of Boone votes unanimously to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its Equal Employment Opportunity Statement and to resolve not to favor a General Assembly bill to hold a vote to create a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman | | || | | | | | | | | | | | | | |