Of the 19,000 students presently enrolled at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), UNCG’s Fall 2016 ACHA-National College Health Assessment (NCHA) estimated that 23 percent of these students self-identify as LGBTQ+. In spite of UNCG’s present status as a welcoming campus, there are significant gaps in the UNCG LGBTQ+ history, such as the first “out” student in the historical record of the school not appearing until 1979.
The panel will consist of six participants, including three current LGBTQ+ students and three LGBTQ+ faculty, two of which attended UNCG as students, as well. The historical perspective of the LGBTQ+ history of UNCG based upon these panelists spans from the 1970s until present, elaborating upon the gap-filled evidence represented in the historical record. Since homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder until 1973, and transgender identity was diagnosed as gender dysphoria until 2012, the LGBTQ+ communities remained hidden populations in the historical record for their own safety. An interview with a named, non-anonymous LGBTQ+ student does not exist in UNCG history until 1992, one hundred years after the opening of the university. Four of these panelists participated in the oral history project, making strides to fill in the gaps in UNCG’s historical record.
The event is inspired by the oral history project underway as part of the 125th anniversary of the opening of the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG). With Chancellor Gilliam’s sponsorship, the University Archives of UNCG Libraries is conducting a two year project (2016-2018) of oral history interviews. This ambitious project hopes to capture oral histories from a wide variety of interviewees with connections to UNCG, such as faculty, administrators, alumni, staff and current students.