LGBT History at NIU

NIU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center officially opened its doors on March 17, 2003. 

One might think that is where our history begins.  Or, one might wonder how our “Little Gay Resource Center on the Prairie” came to be …

Given NIU’s location in a predominantly rural town where the landscape is still dominated by cornfields, many people might wonder, "DeKalb? Can you possibly be gay in DeKalb?"

History proves that the answer is definitely yes, you can be gay – or lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer – in DeKalb.  We have had an out and thriving LGBT community here since the Gay Liberation Front first became a recognized student organization in April 1970.

For those who know their LGBTQ history, they might recognize that date comes less than a year after the famous 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, an event counted by many as the catalyst for the modern LGBT rights movement in the United States.

For those who look closely, NIU’s perhaps surprising history of LGBT visibility is like looking at a microcosm of the national LGBT rights movement. 

Along the way, between 1970 and today, there have been many milestones that marked our progress.  We are proud to say that at NIU you will find wide-ranging activity and progress on creating a welcoming and supportive community for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.