LGBTQ History at MU The lgbtq center hosted a self-guided tour to showcase lgbtq history at Mu from 1948 to present day

MU’s LGBTQ Resource Center held a self-guided tour of LGBTQ history at MU on Oct. 28 in Memorial Union.

The annual event featured archives from the LGBTQ Resource Center detailing various aspects of LGBTQ history at MU from 1948 to the present. Artifacts ranged from The Maneater articles, letters and event posters as well as the annual Pride photo which has been taken in front of the MU Columns every October since 1997.

Starting in 1948, archives showed the history of MU’s LGBTQ community as well as MU’s reaction to national events and debates throughout recent LGBTQ history in the U.S., such as the murder of Matthew Shepard and debates over gender-neutral housing.

The tour began with the case of E.K. Johnston, an MU professor who was arrested on charges of sodomy in May 1948. According to the archives, Johnston’s arrest and subsequent dismissal from the university sparked a gay witch hunt at the university.

Documents detailed the struggle to include sexuality and gender identity in MU’s nondiscrimination clause, which was added in June 1990. However, the Board of Curators removed the phrase five years later and it was not added again until 2003.

The tour included MU’s role in many prominent points of recent LGBTQ history in the U.S., such as Ellen DeGeneres’ coming out and the murder of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. Both Shepard’s mother and DeGeneres spoke at MU.

In 2011 the Residence Hall Association passed a resolution calling for a gender-neutral housing option at the university. However, a gender-neutral housing option was not introduced to the university until 2015 when College Avenue added an option for transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

The tour also featured events close to the MU community such as MU football player Michael Sam coming out as gay in 2014. Sam came out publicly in February 2014 after graduating from MU and became the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL.

“My hope is that people will learn that LGBTQ people have always been an important part of Mizzou’s history,” said Eli Kean, Coordinator at the LGBTQ Center. “I also hope people come away from the exhibit understanding the continuous struggle for recognition and acceptance that LGBTQ people have fought for at Mizzou.”

_Edited by Ben Scott | @themaneater.com_