In 2023, the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center will be celebrating its 30 Year Anniversary. Please check back frequently for updates!

UIUC Campus LGBTQ Historical Timeline


  • January 5, 1972
    Gay Liberation asks for Urbana to amend Sec. 21.38. to not make dressing in non-gender conforming clothing an illegal act.
  • August 1972
    Gay Liberation Front formed at U of I. Activities included consciousness raising.


  • January 1976
    • Gay Illini resource center opens in YMCA (Student Advocate 1/14/76 heading “Resource Center to Begin Operation)
    • The resource center provides a circulating collection of books and publications
    • Starts a few times a week from 12-1 or 12-2, goes down to Wednesdays from 12-2 due to time constraints with shared space in the YWCA.
    • Transfers to the Union in Fall of 1976. (DI April 29, 1978 “Union Space”)
    • GAYLY Illini in front of folder 4 talks about the center opening and taking on a more community education and information service role in addition to a lending library of sorts.
  • January 12, 1976
    Gay Switchboard opens. Phone line for information can be called from 7pm to 1am as well as for support and crisis hotline.


  • Between September 1975-July 1976
    • Gay Illini Coffee House Wednesday night meetings of the Gay Illini took place at the Red Herring at 7:30 and are open to the public.
    • Gay Illini worked rigorously on the Champaign Human Rights Ordinance
    • Open to the public, many members from surrounding community including Danville.  Some sources seemed to point to it as mostly being a male organization.  
    • An Affiliate of the National Coalition of Gay Activists


  • January 7, 1977
    Article from The Courier “Conference to Focus on Homosexual Rights” held in Champaign at the Union for gay liberation organizations across the state of Illinois
  • Friday April 1, 1977
    Article from Gay Life “Gay Appointed Urbana Commission” mentions that Urbana is one of the 35 municipalities in the nation with a gay rights ordinance, but is the only one in Illinois.
  • April 11-17, 1977
    “Gay Illini to Host Pride Week Program (Gay Life 4 March 1977) held at U of I
  • Wednesday, July 20, 1977
    Article from the Daily Illini “Champaign Approves Rights Ordinance” Many articles on this day about it in various papers (Gay Life, News Gazette, Courier)
  • Tuesday, July 26, 1977
    Article from the Daily Illini “City Sets Fine Example for others on Gay Rights”


  • April 17-24, 1983
    The seventh annual Gay Illini awareness week


  • 1987
    First report given to the Chancellor on why the campus needs a LGBT Resource center with an office – it was ignored.
  • April 16, 1987
    “Chancellor’s Campuswide Task Force on Sexual Orientation” Final Report submitted by Mary Ellen O’Shaughnessey, Chair.
    • (Appointed by Chancellor Thomas E. Everhart in Feb. 1986) submitted a final report on campus climate in 1987.
    • Board of Trustees adopted a resolution on Sept. 29, 1987 to prohibit discrimination due to sexuality
  • June 11, 1987
    Illini Week “Ikenberry, board affirm UI policy protects gays"
  • October 11, 1987
    Gay and Lesbian Illini assemble a group of individuals to go to the national march on Washington


  • December 22, 1988
    Article from Chicago Sun-Times “Chicago gay rights bill ok’d after 15 year battle”
    • Approximately 13 years after Urbana, 11 after Champaign


  • June 23, 1989
    Article from Daily Illini “C-U mayors jointly declare special day for gay pride”

Exact Years Unknown

  • From video with Curt McKay “Out on Campus”
    Formed by faculty and staff initially as a social group, but quickly transitioned into more activism work.
    Worked to:
    • get Residence halls to allow same-sex couples to live together
    • get gender identity and sexual orientation to be included in the university’s non-discrimination policy


  • 1993 – LGBTRC received funding!
    Small, shared space in the Illini Union.
  • 1993 – The Ally Network began
    The need for LGBT people and straight people who were supportive, to get some training on how to be supportive but also to form a network to help them know who to talk to on campus if a student had a problem or for other needs. That was developed through the Counseling Center which had a sexual orientation, diversity, allies committee (SODA). Soon, there were ally trainings for many of the cultural houses and even Greek ally trainings implemented.
  • Year?
    $10,000 funding came in to remodel and have a bigger space, so the center could become a place to hang out and socialize as well.


History of PRIDE (RSO)

  • Gay Liberation Front
  • Gay Illini
  • Gay and Lesbian Illini
  • Lesbian and Gay Illini
  • Changes into People for Lesbian gay and bisexual concerns (PLGBC) Feb 24 1991)
  • Spectrum
  • Pride (Maybe other iterations existed at other times that could not be located)

Watch Curt McKay’s Interview