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Columbia University's Student Homophile League (SHL), the first college or university student group for gay issues, was founded in October 1966. On March 5, 1968, Jearld F. Moldenhauer, a student at Cornell University, wrote to the business manager of Columbia's SHL, who was using the pseudonym Stephen Donaldson, and stated that he was "seriously considering an attempt to organize a Cornell chapter of the Student Homophile League." Cornell's Scheduling Coordination and Review Board (SCARB) recognized the group in May 1968, and Cornell's Student Homophile League became the country's second gay student organization.

To protect privacy, Moldenhauer arranged for Cornell's SCARB to recognize the group without submitting names of its members. Father Daniel Berrigan of Cornell United Religious Work agreed to sign on as the Cornell group's first faculty advisor. The first widely advertised meeting took place Nov. 21, 1968. Moldenhauer, Janis Kelly, Robert Roth, Janet Hadda, and Pauline Layton were active members and officers during the first few years. Victoria (Vicky) Mead was an officer in the 1978/1979 and 1979/1980 academic years with Alan Evan Cherry, whose 1986 memorial service program is included in the files she donated.

Cornell's SHL brought its first outside speaker to campus, Dr. Franklin Kameny, on Sept. 23, 1969. His lecture, "The Homosexual Dilemma: What Every Heterosexual Should Know," drew an audience of 150. This was followed by an October 23 lecture by Barbara Gittings, "The Lesbian Speaks for Herself," that drew 350 people. In February 1970, through the efforts of then president Robert Roth, Ithaca's leftist print shop, Glad Day Books, printed the first issue of Cornell SHL News. A basement bar named Morrie's started having gay nights and became a social space for SHL members. The Gay People's Center was an affiliated project.

In 1971, a tradition of celebrating May Gay started and has continued since. Sometime after 1984, the celebration was moved to April because of the early ending of the school year and became known as Gaypril.

Name changes:

In September 1970, the SHL changed its name to the Gay Liberation Front. Around 1973, the name changed to Cornell Gay Liberation. Sometime between 1973 and 1979, a group called United Sisters co-sponsored dances with Cornell Gay Liberation. In September 1979, Cornell Gay Liberation became GAYPAC (Gay People at Cornell) and a group named Cornellesbians had formed.

In 1984, the following groups existed at Cornell: GAYPAC, LAGPAD (Lesbian and Gay Political Action Discussion Group); Cornell Women's Center; GBLOC (Gays, Bisexuals, and Lesbians of Color); Gay Peer Counselors; Lambda Law Students; and Cornellesbians.

By 1989, GAYPAC had become the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Coalition, an umbrella group including GBLOC and LBQ (Cornell Lesbian, Bisexual, and Questioning Women, formerly Cornellesbians). In 1997, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Coalition included: BRIDGES (Bisexuals Reinventing Definitions of Gender and Sexuality); Dialogue (religious discussion group); Safe Space (a coming out support group); ZAP!; LBQ; MSM (Men Supporting Men); and Mosaic (formerly GBLOC).

GUAH (Greeks United Against Homophobia) and Out in the World (the graduate and professional students' LBGT social group) are independent of the Coalition.

The use of pseudonyms:

It will be helpful for researchers to know the pseudonyms used by a few of the early Student Homophile League leaders.

Jearld (Jerry) F. Moldenhauer '68 sometimes used the name Robert Hermann or Robert Herrman, and later, Joel Morrison.

Robert Roth '71 sometimes used the name Robert Russell.

SHL's national chairman was Columbia student Bob Martin, sometimes known as Stephen Donaldson.


May 4 (5), 1966 or 1967 The founding and subsequent first meeting of the Student Homophile League at Columbia University (Source: The Cornell Daily Sun)
November 10, 1967 Two colleges have joined Columbia & University in establishing budding chapters of the SHL, and additional chapters may be formed by at least some of the other Ivy League universities, according to the groups's national chairman. Stephen Donaldson (a pseudonym used to maintain the group members' anonymity) said in a telephone interview that prospects are "bright" for the formation of similar homophile groups at other campuses. A Student Homophile League chapter at Cornell could not be established until a Cornell student contacted Donaldson, the national chair said. No such contact from Cornell has yet been received, he noted.(Source: The Cornell Daily Sun)