Abstract

Abstract:

This article uses document-based historical methods to provide a history of the founding, legal victories, and legacy of the Committee on Gay Education (CGE) at the University of Georgia. Organized in November 1971, CGE twice successfully sued university administrators to attain the rights that other campus student groups were routinely granted. These lawsuits enabled the group to hold some of the first public gay dances in the U.S. South and to become an established presence on campus. As such, it improved the climate for LGBTQ students and was part of a broader effort to advance equality at UGA. More significant nationally, CGE’s second legal action resulted in the first in a series of published judicial opinions from the 1970s through the 1990s that affirmed the rights of LGBTQ college students. These lawsuits form an important but understudied element of the LGBTQ Rights Movement and connect two prevailing strands of historiography related to LGBTQ college students: institutional purges of LGBTQ students until the mid-20th century and the contributions of LGBTQ student organizations in the late 20th century.

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