How Non-heterosexual Student Groups Utilized Liberation to Achieve Campus Assimilation

  • Patrick Dilley


By the mid-1990s, Midwestern campus non-heterosexual student organizations had achieved remarkable inclusion into collegiate culture, including athletics, student housing, and student government. They were recognized as a minority population, and they strived for increasingly assimilationist goals: marriage, military service, and recognition of being “just like everyone else.” Such goals and identities are at odds with those of the students who formed the early campus organizations, who stressed liberty from, if not outright deconstruction of, such goals. To make sense of these changes, I present a framework for understanding the history of non-heterosexual college student organizing in the Midwest. I then posit two sets of themes, examining the organizations’ efforts at building minority identities and the effects of the organizations’ actions and services on campus. I use that analysis to respond to current questions of whether Gay Liberation “worked.”


Gay and lesbian identity Gay Liberation Gay assimilation Campus involvement 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Dilley
    • 1
  1. 1.Educational Administration and Higher EducationSouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA

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