Two Gay Student Groups File Suit Against GU

April 30, 1980

Two Gay Student Groups File Suit Against GU

“Declaring they will no longer tolerate treatment as second-class citizens,” they accuse the University of “unlawful discrimination.” The two student groups involved jointly file the case with the D.C. Superior Court.

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D.C. Superior Court Issues Preliminary Ruling In GPGU’s Favor

March 13, 1981

D.C. Superior Court Issues Preliminary Ruling In GPGU’s Favor

D.C. Superior Court Judge Leonard Braman rules in a preliminary “summary judgement” that Georgetown University has violated the D.C. Human Rights’ Act by refusing to grant the Gay People of Georgetown University (GPGU) and the Gay Rights Coalition (GRC) student group benefits. The trial, however, must still occur at the request of Georgetown University.

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Original D.C. Superior Court Justice Retires; New Justice Rules Against Gay Groups

October 17, 1983

Original D.C. Superior Court Justice Retires; New Justice Rules Against Gay Groups

After the retirement of Justice Leonard Braman and delays in starting the trial proceedings, Justice Sylvia Bacon enters the decision in favor of Georgetown University, dismissing the complaints of the gay groups on the grounds of the need to preserve religious freedom.

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Politicians enter the fray: Mayor Marion Barry threatens to withhold $127 million in D.C. bonds from GU over lawsuit

October 19, 1984

Politicians enter the fray: Mayor Marion Barry threatens to withhold $127 million in D.C. bonds from GU over lawsuit

The student plaintiffs swiftly appealed Justice Bacon’s decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals after their loss in 1983. While the legal process worked its way through the courts, gay activists got involved as well. The “politically influential” Gay Activist Alliance and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club meet with Mayor Barry and convince him that GU violates D.C. Human Rights law and thus is not eligible for millions of dollars in city bonds. Georgetown continues to apply for municipal bonds over the next few years, and Mayor Barry continues to withhold them.

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D.C. Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of GPGU: GU Must Comply

November 27, 1987

D.C. Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of GPGU: GU Must Comply

The D.C. Court of Appeals overturns the D.C. Superior Court ruling and states that the Human Rights Act prohibits any educational institution from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. The court distinguishes between “endorsement” and simple provision of benefits, and it rules that equal treatment requires, at the very least, equal access to benefits.

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Georgetown Officially Concedes: Pays Gay Rights Coalition Legal Fees

March 30, 1988

Georgetown Officially Concedes: Pays Gay Rights Coalition Legal Fees

Georgetown University’s request for a stay on the D.C. Appeals Court decision is denied by the Supreme Court, and the administration decides to not take the next step and formally argue the case in front of the Supreme Court. The University agrees to provide gay student groups full benefits but, as dictated by the court’s ruling, does not need to confer official endorsement.

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Bill McCoy Joins Georgetown Staff

August 2, 2004

Bill McCoy served part-time as an LGBTQ Affairs Coordinator, signaling the very beginnings of institutional support for LGBTQ students on campus. It became apparent very soon, however, that one part-time coordinator was not enough to address all the issues faced by LGBTQ students in a relatively hostile environment on Georgetown’s campus.

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LGBTQ Hate Crime Sparks Outrage on Campus

September 9, 2007

LGBTQ Hate Crime Sparks Outrage on Campus

In the early morning of September 9, 2007, a student was harassed, assaulted, and ultimately hospitalized. He was targeted because of his sexual orientation. Georgetown University students do not find out about the hate crime until well after it happens, sparking outrage among students who feel that the University is ignoring violence against their community.

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“Once is Enough” Rally in Red Square

October 1, 2007

“Once is Enough” Rally in Red Square

On October 1, 2007, in response to the September 9th hate crime and the university’s response, members of the OUT for Change campaign held a “Once is Enough” rally where they asked students to sign a petition they would deliver to President DeGioia. The petition contained 4 major demands – extended resources to the LGBTQ community, mandatory events focused on educating students about the LGBTQ community, a revised LGBTQ Working Group, and a better system for notifying the community of hate crimes. Just in those few hours of protest, the students garnered about 750 signatures (over 10% of the student body). Professors Mark Lance, Ricardo Ortiz, and Dana Luciano spoke at the rally. Approximately 70 students then walked to the President’s office to present him with the petition. Members of GU Pride met with Todd Olson, the Director of the CMEA Dennis Williams, and the Vice President for University Safety Rocoo DelMonaco following the rally.

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President DeGioia rejects first request to participate in an open forum

October 5, 2007

15 members of the LGBT community send an email to President DeGioia requesting his presence at an open forum planned for October 10. He declines, choosing to plan a private meeting with 4 GU Pride members on October 9 instead.

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GU Pride members meet with administrators, President DeGioia and Todd Olson, and faculty members in three separate meetings

October 9, 2007

DeGioia sends campus-wide email rejecting discrimination on campus

October 9, 2007

Professors support the OUT for Change campaign

October 16, 2007

Professors support the OUT for Change campaign

Professors Tomasso Astarita, Dana Luciano, Patrick O’Malley, and Ricardo Ortiz send an email to faculty and administrators in support of GU Pride and condemning the university’s response to the October 11th rally

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GU Pride meets with DeGioia

October 22, 2007

President DeGioia and Professor Astarita meet with 4 students from GU Pride to discuss what would be covered in the Town Hall on October 24th.

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LGBTQ Town Hall

October 24, 2007

LGBTQ Town Hall

After weeks of student organizing, President DeGioia organizes a townhall in which he allows space for the community to express their fears and frustrations publicly. DeGioia announces that Georgetown will establish the first full-fledged LGBTQ Center at a Catholic university.¬† View President DeGioia’s Remarks Here

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Three LGBTQ Working Groups Established

November 6, 2007

Three LGBTQ Working Groups Established

The Working Groups on Reporting, Resources and Education are each tasked with a unique aspect of campus life to improve with regards to LGBTQ affairs. They are composed of students, many of which are from the Out for Change Campaign, faculty, and staff.   View the three working groups’ final reports here

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Georgetown University LGBTQ Resource Center Opens; Shiva Subbaraman Hired as First Director

August 1, 2008

In a relatively quick and intentional process, the President’s Office, the Office of Campus Ministry, and members of the three working groups create physical space on campus for the LGBTQ Center and hire Shiva Subbaraman to bring it to life.

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