Supporting LGBT Studies at GW
In October 1971, a small group of students founded the GW Gay Liberation Alliance (GLA), which eventually became GW Pride. With an open membership for all DC-area colleges and universities and a higher level of official acceptance than at other area schools, GW Pride provided community and security for gay and lesbian students in the region.
Today, the records of GW Pride, as well as newspaper articles, photos, and memoranda about GW’s nondiscrimination policy are preserved in the Special Collections Research Center at Gelman Library. These records allow scholars to study LGBT student activism in its early stages. Gelman Library also houses the papers of Washington Blade reporter Lou Chibbaro, Jr. and the records of the Gay’s Men Chorus of Washington, D.C.
Gelman librarian Tolonda Henderson assists current students by bringing the best practices of library science to the fledgling library of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center. Working with Timothy Kane, director of the LGBT Resource Center, Henderson guided their decision to focus on collecting popular contemporary books and movies that would complement the more academic LGBT resources available through the GW Libraries. Henderson also provided advice on ways to organize and circulate the collection, specifically identifying and utilizing a classification system designed for LGBT collections. This system categorizes various perspectives on—and works created by—lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people and communities in a way that supports browsing and discovery.
“Working with the LGBT Resource Center library has allowed me to make connections with students and staff while extending my professional knowledge into communities at the university that need it,” said Henderson.