History of the LGBTQA Advising Office

During the 2011-2012 academic year, ALLies Club led the initiative to create a position for an LGBTQA Advisor. The momentum behind this movement was fueled by the desire to make our campus more inclusive and welcoming to members of the queer community. Members of the Gettysburg College queer community felt they would deeply benefit by having someone who could aid them in finding better ways in which to make the campus better suited to queer students. The framework for this position was greatly influenced by that of the model used by the Intercultural Resource Center. After numerous meetings between the advisors and executive board of ALLies with faculty from the Office of College Life, the motion to hire an individual specifically focused on promoting the interests of queer students. At the conclusion of the 2012 Spring Semester, this position became officially established at Gettysburg College.

About our LGBTQA Advisor

Erin Duran, our LGBTQA Advisor, is a proud native Texan. He received a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Gender & Women's Studies from Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA. While there, Erin was very involved in the LGBTQA community on campus, helping found Queer People of color, a student group designed to provide a space for discussion of the intersection between race and homophobia, assisting with the creation of Gender Neutral housing and bathroom options on campus, and managing the Stonewall Resource Center, Grinnell's student-run LGBTQA resource center. Finding a love for working with college students amidst all of these activities, Erin went on to get his M.Ed. in College Student Affairs at The Pennsylvania State University, where he worked closely with the LGBTQA Student Resource Center, co-teaching BBH 251: Straight Talks 1: Advanced Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Peer Education.

Erin is very excited to be a part of the Gettysburg College community and is enjoying the opportunity to work with ALLies Club and building one-on-one relationships with students across campus. In addition to serving as Gettysburg's LGBTQA Advisor, Erin also works in Residence Life as the Residential Life Coordinator for the West Quad (Rice, Paul, and Stine).

LGBTQA Life on Campus: A History

  • 1988
    • The Lambda Alliance was formed.
      • This organization's primary purpose was to support its members (LGBTQA-identified students, staff, and faculty) as individuals striving to lead meaningful, challenging, and rewarding lives in a college environment where acceptance of lesbian and gay lifestyles is just beginning. It also sought to dispel myths and stereotypes through both educational and social activities.
      • The location and time of meetings were strictly confidential as the campus climate was not yet accepting.
  • 1989
    • The student organization FLAG (Friends of Lesbians and Gays) was created.
      • These meetings were not confidential and membership was not limited to students who identified as gay.
    • Lambda Alliance brought Lynn Lavner, a gay comedienne/singer, to perform during Homecoming weekend.
  • 1990
    • The faculty and the Board of Trustees approved Dr. Neil Beach's proposal to change the College's Article IX Anti-Discrimination Policy and Equal Opportunity Employment Statement.
      • This amendment changed the word 'sex' to 'gender' in both policies.
      • It also added the phrase 'sexual orientation' to the policies.

    • Faculty voted not to accept ROTC credits as college credits as the program was deemed incompatible with the College's anti-discrimination policy.
      • This action was taken in opposition to the military's no tolerance policy of gays and lesbians in the military.
      • Of all the campus's departments, the ROTC program was the only one that could refuse admittance to a student based on sexual orientation.
  • 1991
    • Lambda Alliance petitioned for recognition as a club by the student senate so it could receive some funding.
      • The senate was hesitant to provide recognition because Lambda Alliance was an exclusive club for students who identified as gay.
      • Senate members worried allowing one club to have exclusionary rules would set an unwanted precedent of which other clubs could take advantage.
  • 1994
    • ALLieswas formed.
      • This organization was ultimately a combining of forces of the Lambda Alliance and FLAG. On paper, ALLies replaced FLAG and recognized Lambda Alliance in its constitution as a subgroup.
      • ALLies was an open group for anyone regardless of their sexual orientation while Lambda remained an exclusive group that served as more of a support group than a club.
    • ALLies chalked the walk with phrases that supported the gay community.
      • Students' reactions were both positive and negative while the faculty overwhelmingly supported the idea.
  • 1995
    • The first Safe Zone sticker was developed on September 25.
      • ALLies student and faculty members developed the idea of a sticker that could represent a safe space for members of the gay community.
      • There was no training required.
      • All department chairs and other administrators were given the sticker. These individuals then decided whether or not to use the sticker and describe themselves as allies.
    • An angry email is sent from one faculty member to a faculty member involved with ALLies.
    • An article is published in the Gettysburgian on October 19 entitled "Allies Works to Encourage Campus Acceptance of Gay Issues."
      • One faculty member says, "It is a challenge in Gettysburg, but it's a small enough institution that people listen to distinctive voices. [...] We're not there yet, we've got a long way to go, but I would say 'keep the faith.'"
      • Another faculty member describes the climate as "small, and closeted. People are afraid to be out on this campus."
      • A senior member of ALLies bluntly recommends that gay students go elsewhere to college. "I would not recommend coming here - go to Swarthmore, Georgetown, or American - or if you come, you need to be a very strong individual. [...] Unless they change the College, there's no use coming here."
    • The March 23 Gettysburgian includes a letter to the editor from a student entitled "Homophobes: The New Targets of Hate."
    • A Common Hour examines what it is like to be gay at Gettysburg.
      • There is a panel of current students, alumni, and faculty.
  • 1996
    • On March 25, ALLies hosted an open forum entitled "Does Sexuality Affect Friendships?"
    • The first gala for gay students and alumni was held during Homecoming weekend.
    • The theme that ALLies suggested for Springfest was chosen.
      • A Common Bond: Community, Diversity, and the Environment
    • On September 27, an anonymous student or group of students viciously tore down the ALLies bulletin board in the College Union Building.
    • ALLies hosted Urvashi Vaid, the author of Virtual Equality and former director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, on October 10.
  • 1997
    • ALLies cosponsored AIDS Awareness Week.
      • Carolyn Jones, the author of Living Proof: Courage in the Face of AIDS, spoke on December 4.
  • 1999
    • ALLies week included a petition at a CUB table that people could sign to reaffirm their commitment "to a supportive and nurturing environment at Gettysburg for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation."
    • ALLies was one of two student organizations to be recognized as outstanding for the past year by the student senate.
    • Kate Bornstein, an author, playwright, and gender theorist, spoke at the March 25 Common Hour.
  • 2000
    • Kevin Thomas gave a speech entitled "Out in the Workplace: A Personal History" for the February 22 Common Hour.
  • 2001
    • The ALLies bulletin board in the CUB was vandalized.
  • 2002
    • On February 21, ALLies hosted a 'Bring Your Sweetheart' Valentine's Day Dance and Drag Show in the Attic.
      • Nearly 300 people attended.
      • The event was a fundraiser for AIDS Action, an organization based in D.C. that advocates for people affected by HIV/AIDs.
  • 2004
    • Robyn Ochs, a contributing editor of the Bisexual Resource Guide and a cofounder of the East Coast Bisexual Network, gave a speech entitled "Bisexuality 101: Myths and Realities" on February 5.
  • 2008
    • ALLies House is created as a one year theme house for the 2008-2009 school year.
      • 14 students, some were members of ALLies club and some were not, lived in the house the first year.
      • The house provided a safe haven for members of the LGBT community that the club was not yet able to provide.
      • It also created an environment in which members of the LGBT community and their allies could work together to reach out and inform other members of the Gettysburg College community.
  • 2009
    • ALLies house becomes a permanent house.
  • 2010
    • The Provost asked Dr. Talbot, a professor and coordinator of music education, to create a Planning Task Force on Issues of Diversity Regarding Sexuality.
      • The Task Force met in December to discuss what the campus does successfully to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues and combat homophobia and suggestions for what to do better.
  • 2011
    • With the repeal of DADT, the College decided to review its policy denying college credit to students receiving ROTC credit.
  • 2012
    • On September 27, Erin Duran, the Residential Life Coordinator/LGBTQA Advisor, gave a lunch lecture series entitled "Expanding the ALL in Allies" at the Women's Center.
    • LGBTQA Advising, the Office of Student Activities, and the Office of Religion and Spiritual Life held "A Dinner and Discussion on Gender, Sexuality, and Spirituality" on November 12. Speakers included:
      • Rev. Mother Meredith Moise - an Old Catholic priest, writer, teacher, and activist from Baltimore, MD
      • Pastor Joseph Donella - the Chaplain of Gettysburg College
      • Brian Patchcoski - the Director of LGBTQ Services at Dickinson College
  • 2013
    • On March 20, the Eisenhower Institute along with ALLies, LGBTQA Advising, Gettysburg ROTC cadets, and the Provost's Office presented a discussion panel entitled "Transgender Inclusion in the Military." Speakers included:
      • CDR. David Wilcok, M.D. - Health Service Attache, Canadian Embassy; Canadian Armed Forces
      • Mara Keisling - Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality
      • Monica Helms - Founder and President of the Transgender American Veterans Association
      • Dr. Chris Shoemaker, Ph.D. - Colonel, U.S. Army 'Retired'
    • On March 22, ALLies presented "Fagbug" with Erin Davies as a part of ALLies and Trans-Awareness Week.
    • S. Bear Bergman, author and theater artist, presented a talk entitled "Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Gender" on April 2.

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