Biography and History

In May 1972 a student, looking for other gay Princetonians, placed a classified advertisement in the Daily Princetonian reading “Closet Queens Unite!;” the following fall a group of students–mainly men–founded the Gay Alliance of Princeton and sought recognition as a student organization. The alliance sponsored discussion groups and social events; in May, 1973, it held the largest (up to that date) gay dance in New Jersey. GAP officially welcomed men and women, but men dominated both the membership and the leadership. While the organization initially attracted townspeople, they soon split off to create Gay People of Princeton.

Most gay Princetonians found the campus a comfortable, if not overly welcoming, environment; as a result, the Alliance was largely apolitical. The late 1970s, however, were marked by several incidents of harassment that sparked the Alliance to activism. Student leaders pushed for a non-discrimination policy, which–despite much campus debate–was not adopted until 1985.

In the 1980s GAP became more visible, sponsoring speakers and conferences as well as dances and discussion groups. While officially co-ed, GAP meetings remained sixty to eighty percent male; seeking some independence, a group of lesbians founded Gay Women of Princeton in 1982. GAP and GWOP shared an office and a budget, and cosponsored some events. After a few years, GWOP faded, eventually replaced by the Lesbian and Bisexual Task Force. In 1987 GAP and the LBTF joined under the umbrella name of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Princeton (GALAP), meeting independently while joining together for dances and speakers. In 1991, the name changed to GLOBAL–briefly–and then to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Alliance. Under the LGBA umbrella are the men's group (formerly the Men's Auxiliary, then He's Interested in Men [HIM]), the women's group (formerly Princeton's Eagerly Awaited Radical Lesbians [PEARL] and then Women Oriented Women [WOW]), and a bisexual group (Bisexual Interest Group, or BIG). Affiliate organizations include the Coalition Against Homophobia and the AIDS Activist Coalition for Education (AACE). The LGBA sponsors dances, meetings, and a film festival. The biggest events of the year are Awareness Week, held in the fall and including Gay Jeans Day, and Pride Week, held in the spring.

In 1989 the offices of the Dean of the Chapel and the Dean of Student Life began hiring graduate students to help organize the GALAP office and activities. In 1994 the position became a full-time position within the Dean of Student Life office.

Over the years, many students and staff recognized the need for a dedicated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) center at Princeton. In the spring of 2002, students began writing a proposal for the creation of a LGBT center. In the summer of 2005, the LGBT Student Services office evolved into The LGBT Center. Construction for the new LGBT Center in Frist began in October 2005, and the new Center opened its doors in March 2006.

Source: From the finding aid for AC037

  • Lesbian Gay Bisexual Alliance Records. 1972-2007 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC037

    The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Alliance (LGBA), is the social and political organization for lesbian, gay, and bisexual students at Princeton University. The LGBA is the successor to the Gay Alliance of Princeton (GAP), Gay Women of Princeton (GWOP), the Lesbian and Bisexual Task Force (LBTF), and Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Princeton (GALAP). The records contain material regarding the LGBA's programs and its publications, as well as subject files assembled by the LGBA's officers and staff.