Famous Queer Visitors at IU and in Bloomington

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Visitors of the 1970's

Christine Jorgensen

Christine Jorgensen was one of the first American transsexual women to receive sexual reassignment surgery, in Denmark in 1952 (? source this). After the media blitz following her return to the United States, Jorgensen frequently did speaking engagements.

On March 26th, 1973, Jorgensen visited the Bloomington campus of Indiana University. She spoke to a crowd of more than one thousand students that crowded Alumni Hall, as part of the Emphasis Lecture Series. Jorgensen spoke to the students about her surgery and her life experiences, declaring, “I am as complete a person, both emotionally and psychologically as I had ever dreamed of being."

Olenyik, Barb. “Sex Surgery Brought Jorgensen Publicity,” Indiana Daily Student, March 27, 1973, page 14.

Ross, John, “Christine Jorgensen Tells Her Story at IU,” The Courier Tribune, March 27, 1973, A4.

Frank Kameny

Dr. Franklin Kameny, founding member and one-time-President of the Mattachine Society and early gay rights activist, visited Bloomington, Indiana twice in the 70's.

On May 21st, 1971, Kameny gave a presentation at the Imperial House Inn, on the "violation of civil rights of homosexuals" and "his work for the persecuted and oppressed homosexual." Kameny was invited to Bloomington and his presentation was sponsored by the Adult Education Forum on Social Problems.

Kameny was also a keynote speaker at Indiana's first Gay Awareness Conference, where he spoke on March 29th, 1974, on issues of gay activist visibility and the significance of the 1973 removal of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Stafford, Harold. “Gay President to speak Friday.” Indiana Daily Student. May 20, 1971. p7.

Wilson, Bill. March 30th, 1974: One out of ten a homosexual, gay tells crowd. Indiana Daily Student.

Phyllis Lyon

A founding member the Daughters of Bilitis, one of the first lesbian organizations to gain a nationwide membership, Phyllis Lyon served on several panels during the March 29th-31st, 1974 Gay Awareness Conference in Bloomington, Indiana.

March 28th, 1974: Gay conference to educate. Indiana Daily Student.

Troy Perry

Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church in San Francisco, one of the first religious congregations to engage in affirming outreach to the queer community, also attended the March 29th-31st Gay Awareness Conference as a presenter and panelist.

March 28th, 1974: Gay conference to educate. Indiana Daily Student.

Visitors of the 1980's

Kate Clinton

A self-described "feminst lesbian humorist", Kate Clinton performed in the Indiana University Fine Arts Auditorium on September 30th, 1983. Her performance drew a large student audience and was received well.

Bohn, Jenni. “Sexual jokes, abusive views about men are standard fare for Kate Clinton, ‘fumerist.’” Indiana Daily Student, September 30, 1983, Arts Section.

Visitors of the 1990's

Brian McNaught

Brian McNaught, a speaker on homophobia and gay men's issues who frequently addresses college students and corporate entities, spoke to an Indiana University audience of about 200 students in Alumni Hall on March 7th, 1991.

Milenky, Elissa . 1991. Author dispels myths of homophobia. Indiana daily Student, March, 7, Campus section.

Sandra Bernhard

A comedian and out bisexual woman, Sandra Bernhard performed at the Indiana University Auditorium on March 7th, 1991. Her "very personal" and occasionally explicit performance, which touched on her own sexuality and "sexual ambiguity", was received well.

Shapiro, Daniel M. 1991. Bernhard one-of-a-kind. Indiana daily Student, March 7, Arts/Lifestyles section.

Evan Wolfson

Evan Wolfson, one of the attorneys involved in the landmark Hawai'ian Baehr v. Lewin gay marriage case was invited by the Indiana University administration to speak. Wolfson addressed students on the subject of "GLB civil rights" on October 16th, 1996.

Cutsinger, Angela. “GLB civil rights expert to speak at IU.” Indiana Student Daily, October 16, 1996.

Joanne Meyerowitz

Joanne Meyerowitz, authoress of How Sex Changed, a history of transsexuality in the United States, gave a lecture on Christine Jorgensen at the Kinsey Institute on October 24th, 1996.

Hayes, Sarah & Havelen, Naomi. “Professor discusses sex change and their impact on society.” Indiana Student Daily, October 24, 1996.

Greg Louganis

HIV-positive and openly gay Olympic Gold medalist diver Greg Louganis gave a talk about AIDS awareness and his own experience of seropositivity on October 16th, 1997, in an event co-sponsored by the queer student group OUT, the Multicultural and Social Awareness division of Indiana Memorial Union Board of Directors, the IU Health Center, and the HIV And Volunteer Ourtreach Coalition.

Kearney, Heather, “Louganis to Speak About AIDS Awareness,” Indiana Daily Student, October 16, 1997, front page.

Sabrina Sojourner

The "Shadow Representative" for Washington, D.C., Sabrina Sojourner, gave a talk in the Wittenberger Auditorium on November 8th, 1997. Sojourner was the first openly lesbian woman of color elected to the Congress of the United States.

Tay, Alfred, Image caption on front page, Indiana Daily Student, November 8th, 1997, front page.

Visitors of the 2000's