Q&A History

Queers & Allies has served Lawrence and the University of Kansas for over 30 years. Despite sporadic struggles with the administration and some students, the organization has survived and thrived. As it enters its fourth decade, Queers & Allies continues to offer support for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgendered people and their friends, and to advocate positive change in the Lawrence community.

By Clay McCuistion

The first version of Queers and Allies was founded by social work student David Stout in 1970-a year after the Stonewall riots in New York sparked the modern LBGT rights movement.

In 1971 the group-then called the Lawrence Gay Liberation Front-took KU to court. The students wanted the GLF to be officially recognized by the University. After two years of legal battles, and appeals up to the U.S. Supreme Court, the group lost. KU gave the gay liberation front an office in the union however, and the GLF stayed active.

Throughout the '70s, the group-which changed its name to Gay and Lesbian Services of Kansas-supported itself with fundraising dances. The dances were huge events, drawing hundreds from Kansas and surrounding states. The Village People played at a dance here before they broke through with "Y.M.C.A."

In 1980, student senate regulations changed. Any student group following official organizational policy would be recognized by KU and eligible to receive student money. Queers and Allies was finally official.

Some students weren't pleased, however. A group called the "Fag Busters" appeared on campus. Widespread queer-bashing incidents were reported. KU administrators did little to stop the violence. A University Daily Kansan reporter finally uncovered the head of the secretive group, and the Fag Busters faded away.

The group sailed throughout the rest of the '80s. In the mid-'90s, Q & A went through the resignation of a director with a shady past and the emergence of Fred Phelps as a national media figure. At the same time, campus speakers such as Greg Louganis and Lawrence groups such as Simply Equal brought more positive attention. In 1995, Simply Equal-a collection of local activists-backed a successful queer rights ordinance. Lawrence is now the only place in Kansas where LBGT civil rights are protected.

Today, Queers and Allies is older than most of its members. But it continues to help and work for the KU Queer community and its friends.

Please click HERE for a more detailed history.

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