As part of the TCU Diverse History Project, WGST students researched histories of gender and sexuality on campus. These timelines are designed to provide viewers with an overview of their research topics as they relate to our university and the themes and values of our department. To view these timelines, simply click one of the tabs below to display the content.
The following timelines were created by TCU faculty and students. WGST would especially like to thank Noelle Flores, Fred Trevino, Paige Pohl, Layne Craig, and Priscilla Tate for their work on creating and editing these timelines for our department.
- Women and Gender Studies at TCU
- LGBTQ History at TCU
- TCU Triangle
- Childcare at TCU
- History of Drag at TCU
Before the Beginning
In March 1971, Gloria Steinem visited TCU and gave a lecture that made a series of recommendations to help TCU participate in the feminist revolution of the 1970s. The first two recommendations: Institute a women’s studies program and offer a women’s studies section in the library. Steinem also suggested that students demand change to their curriculum: “[Students] can review existing courses for examples of racism and sexism in the professors’ heads and in the textbooks alike […] Students on some campuses are then free to boycott those classes, demonstrate outside the professors’ houses, or otherwise make life difficult…”
Click here to see the October-November 1974 issue of Image.1971
An Early Class on Women, Gender, and Sexuality
In spring 1975, Dr. Sandra Carey in the Department of Sociology offered a course called “The Sociology of Sex Roles,” which was controversial enough to warrant coverage in The Daily Skiff, and covered topics like the social construction of gender and “homosexuality.” Read the article here.
From Nov. 1, 1974 issue of The Skiff (p. 3)
Priscilla Tate, one of the founders of Women’s Studies at TCU
Beginning in 1979, Jean Giles-Sims (Sociology) and Priscilla Tate (English), pushed to start a Women´s Studies program at TCU to recover women´s presence in history, art, and literature, to be a space to explore women´s issues on and off campus, and to give a platform for research in the area of Women´s Studies. It would be 15 years until the program launched in 1994.1979
What's in a Name?
In 1992, a committee of faculty developing the proposal for the new interdisciplinary minor in women’s studies debated the merits of “women’s studies” versus “gender studies,” ultimately deciding on the former.
A watermark from the original Women’s Studies Program1992
The Founding of Women's Studies at TCU
The Women’s Studies Program officially begins, and Jean Giles Sims is named first director.1994
The First Women's Studies Course
In 1995, Introduction to Women´s Studies is offered for the first time, co-taught by Dr. Jean Giles-Sims and Dr. Priscilla Tate. By 2006, the course was offered in both fall and spring semesters.1995
Claudia Camp (Religion) becomes director, 3-year term set for directors.2000
In 2002, the WGST Senior Capstone shifted from a focus on feminist theories to “real world” knowledge and applications. In 2006, graduating seniors begin to showcase their work in the course. The class is now the WGST Advanced Seminar, where students develop, implement, and present community action projects that are meant to address real-life gender justice issues on campus and in the community.
Joanne Green (Political Science) becomes director2003
In 2004, Women’s Studies launched the graduate certificate program, admitting 12 students in its first year and developing a class in Feminist Theories and Methodologies. The certificate program now enrolls around 50 students from AddRan, Brite Divinity School, Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the College of Education. In 2018, the certificate program launched a new class: Feminist Inquiry: Theory & Praxis. Graduate students serve on WGST committees and each year, one is honored with a graduate research award.
2019 WGST Graduate Certificate Students at the ENGL/HIST Hooding Ceremony
2005 saw the addition of 15 new WOST-approved classes; the first TCU production of The Vagina Monologues; and a lecture by Alexandra Robbins, author of Pledged, which allowed Women’s Studies to expand awareness of the program and partner with Panhellenic
Karen Steele (English) becomes director
An Emphasis in WOST
Women’s Studies launches the emphasis, which requires one fewer course than the minor and broadens the program’s reach on campus.2007
Queer Ideas at TCU
In 2008, Dr. Bonnie Blackwell offered one of the first LGBTQ-themed undergraduate courses at TCU, LGBTQ Authors and Themes in the English Department, and in 2014 it was approved for WGST credit. Dr. Kylo-Patrick Hart first offered the FTDM class Queer Theory/LGBT Film in 2011. In 2018, Women & Gender Studies launched the course Queer Theories, taught by Dr. Nino Testa, as part of a new curriculum for the recently approved major in WGST.
Wise Woman Award Launches
In 2008, WGST launched The Jean Giles-Sims Wise Woman Award, which is presented to the faculty member who best exemplifies the principles of Women and Gender Studies and helps to further gender justice on campus. The award recognizes faculty contributions both inside and outside of the classroom and has been given to faculty from across the university.2008
A Feminist Archive
Theresa Gaul (English) begins the first of two terms as director
Faculty Research Award Launches
WGST launches the Claudia V. Camp Faculty Research and Creativity Award. Named for one of the founders of Women’s Studies, this award is a one-year honorary appointment that recognizes excellence in scholarship and creative activity on women and gender by an affiliated faculty member in Women and Gender Studies at TCU.2013
What's in a Name?
In 2014 the faculty vote to change the name to “Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies,” but ultimately adopt “Women & Gender Studies” at the suggestion of the Office of the Provost.
Laying the Groundwork for Change
WGST undergoes an external review which recommends the hire of full-time faculty and staff, the development of a major, and a refocus of curriculum. In August, WGST hires its first full-time staff person, an Associate Director, Dr. Nino Testa. In September, Katherine Spillar (’75) visits TCU as a WGST Green Chair, speaking to hundreds of people across campus about her work with the Feminist Majority Foundation, Ms. Magazine, reproductive rights, and feminist activism.
A Year of Growth
TCU approves both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in Women & Gender Studies. WGST moves to the new School of Interdisciplinary Studies and becomes the Department of Women & Gender Studies.2018
Jeannine Gailey (Sociology) is named director of Women and Gender Studies. After the program moves to the new School of Interdisciplinary Studies and becomes a department, Gailey becomes the inaugural chair of the Department of Women & Gender Studies.
25 Years of Women & Gender Studies
The fall 2019 theme semester, “Looking Back, Moving Forward” celebrates 25 years of Women & Gender Studies/Women’s Studies at TCU.
Gay Rights Icon Morris Kight Graduates from TCU
Morris Kight, TCU class of 1942, is responsible for organizing the first city-permitted, street-closing gay pride parade in the world. In1970, he, along with the Committee for Homosexual Freedom, successfully applied for a permit in Los Angeles to hold the parade. This was significant at a time when LAPD were notoriously anti-gay and did not want this event to happen; it was the first time a major U.S. city was forced to use its resources for a gay community event. The parade was held on June 28, 1970 (the same weekend as the NYC pride march commemorating the first anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. The NTC march was not city-permitted). In the following years, Kight, who was also a labor organizer and anti-war activist, led important boycotts of anti-gay companies, including the famous Coors boycott. Kight also founded or worked with nearly every gay organization in Los Angeles. The corner of Hollywood Blvd and McCadden Place in Hollywood is named Morris Kight Square.
First Course Addressing Homosexuality is Offered at TCU
In the spring of 1975, Dr. Sandra Carey in the Department of Sociology offered a course called “The Sociology of Sex Roles.” Dr. Carey told The Skiff that homosexuality would be addressed in the course, but it’s main focus would be “the influence of biology and socialization on men and women.”
The Skiff from 11/1/1974 – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/15722
Chancellor Moudy’s Anti-Gay Comments
In an article covering the religious debate over homosexuality, Chancellor James Moudy is quoted making multiple overtly anti-gay comments. His comments reflect the university’s policies and attitudes toward gay employees and students on campus. Moudy stated, “TCU does not knowingly admit, employ, or retain overt homosexuals.” Dean of Students, Elizabeth Proffer, clarified what would happen to known homosexuals on campus: “if someone participated in homosexual activity in the public’s eye or has homosexual relations in on campus housing and is caught, the person may be prohibited from reenrolling.”
Skiff article from April 26, 1978 – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/16092
AIDS Awareness on Campus
In October of 1988, Planned Parenthood of North Texas sponsored an exhibition entitled “Understanding AIDS” in the Student Center Lounge. The following spring, Jim Werth, a junior psychology major, organized a panel discussion to bring further AIDS awareness to campus. The panel was made up of four people who had AIDS, a nurse who treated patients with AIDS and the coordinator of volunteer services for AIDS patients. After the panel discussion, Werth went on to establish the AIDS Awareness, Information and Discussion Society (AAIDS). It became an official student organization the following semester, and they continued to support AIDS awareness efforts on campus.
1989 Yearbook – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/11110
April 7, 1989 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/17095 -Article about the panel
September 22, 1989 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/17127 – mentions AAIDS student group forming
Students Are Hesitant to Form a Gay Student Organization
In an article from The Skiff discussing gay student organizations at other Texas universities, several gay and lesbian students at TCU deny the need and desire for such an organization at TCU. Many cited fears that they’d be harassed on campus if they formed an official student organization and said the group would do more harm than good.
April 27, 1989 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/171081989
First LGBT Student Group Forms on Campus
In March of 1993, a small group of LGBT students started informally meeting off campus at the Wesley Foundation house. About a year later, they decided to apply to become an official student organization. Their group was approved and on April 28, 1994, and they became the first official LGBT student group on campus. However, they were still cautious of meeting openly on campus, so they continued to meet at the Wesley Foundation house. An ad was placed in The Skiff each week saying to contact Priscilla Tate, the faculty advisor, for the location of the meeting and more information on the group.
Ad in September 29, 1994 Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/176261994
First Pride Prom
On April 28, 2001, eQ Alliance, a student organization for LGBTQ+ students and allies, held their first Pride Prom. The event was held so that all students could attend a social function where they could be themselves without fear of discrimination. After the success of the first prom, with nearly 80 students attending, this became an annual event for the eQ Alliance.
Proposal to Offer Same-Sex Benefits to TCU Faculty
In response to SMU being the latest university to extend benefits to same-sex partners of its employees, a proposal was put forward to the TCU Cabinet to approve a policy that would offer similar benefits at TCU. The proposal, which was modeled heavily after SMU’s policies, included tuition benefits and health, life and accident insurance for same-sex partners of TCU employees. TCU implemented this policy on January 1, 2005.
October 11, 2001 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/187122001
First LGBT-Themed Undergraduate Class is Offered
In fall of 2008, Dr. Bonnie Blackwell offered the first course dedicated to LGBT material. It was called “LGBT Authors and Themes” and it covered “themes of sexual identity in literature by authors from antiquity to the present.” It served as an upper-level English elective and in 2014 it was approved for WGST credit.
2008 catalog – http://catalog.tcu.edu/2008-2009/undergraduate/2008
Chancellor Boschini Cancels Plans for LGBTQ+ Student Housing
Following a national uproar online, Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. cancels TCU’s plans to reserve a block of rooms in a campus apartment complex for gay and straight students wanting to learn about issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Boschini claimed the national attention did drive his decision, instead citing feedback from TCU students, faculty, alumni, and others as the primary reason for the change of plans. “Their theory was,” according to Boschini, “it’s splitting students up instead of uniting them.”
Read the full article about this decision here.October 12, 2009
Spectrum Rebrands the Drag Show
Spectrum, QUOTA (TCU’s graduate LGBTQUIA+ group), and Triota (TCU’s Women and Gender Studies Honor Society) host the first annual Spectrum Drag Show. The event featured local drag queen Kiana Lee as MC and included performances by Sapphire Davenport, Chanel St. John, Andre Versace, Addison L. Foster, and Mulan Alexander. In addition to the drag performances, the event also included an hour of feminist karaoke.
Read more here!February 2017
TCU Marches: 2019 Fort Worth Pride
TCU students, faculty, and staff came together to march in the 2019 Fort Worth Pride Parade.September 2019
TCU Celebrates National Coming Out Day
TCU students and staff celebrated National Coming Out Day on Friday, October 11, 2019.
October 11, 2019
The following is the history of TCU Triangle, the first LGBTQ+ student organization on campus. Click here to listen to an audio version of this timeline that was presented by Marilyn Downing during the TCU Feminist and Queer History Tour in Fall 2019.
A group of TCU LGBTQ+ students met at the Wesley Foundation house for the first time in March of 1993. This provided a safe space for students, off campus, where they could fully be themselves and provide support to one another. While they were not yet an official student organization, the support from the Wesley Foundation showed that a campus religious organization was willing to accept LGBTQ+ students in a time when many religious groups would not.March 1993
In 1993, the Division of Student Affairs created Allies, a group of faculty and staff members who supported the needs of LGBTQ+ students on campus. On October 18, 1993, the Allies sponsored a panel that allowed five LGBTQ+ students to share their experiences with 60 faculty members. The goal was to help faculty better understand how to support their LGBTQ+ students and create a space for open dialogue on campus. Click here to read the full article.October 18, 1993
Becoming an Official Group
The TCU Triangle became the first official LGBTQ+ student organization on April 28, 1994. They were still cautious of meeting openly on campus, so they continued to meet off campus at the Wesley Foundation house. An ad was placed in the Skiff each week saying to contact Priscilla Tate, the faculty advisor, for the location of the meeting and more information on the group. Click here to see the full Skiff issue.April 28, 1994
Formation of the Student Allies Group
A student branch of the Allies was formed in the fall of 1994. They met weekly and worked closely with the Triangle to find ways to effectively show their support. In Spring of 1995, the Student Allies became an official student organization with Andy Fort as their faculty advisor.
Check out the full yearbook here!Fall 1994
A Resolution for Support
Sophomore Thomas Graca brought forward a resolution to the Student House of Representatives asking the House to recognize the Triangle’s rights as a student organization after their publicity materials were vandalized and destroyed. Student representatives claimed the purpose of the resolution was unclear, so many representatives ended up voting based on if they personally supported the existence of the LGBTQ+ group. The resolution failed to pass with a vote of 28-17 with 19 members abstaining their vote.
Click here to see the full issue.September 28, 1994
A New Resolution
A week later, the House passed a new resolution to reaffirm the rights of all student organizations on campus. This came as a response to the failed Triangle resolution as well as incidents of racial slurs and vandalism committed against other student organizations on campus. The resolution aimed to show that the House supported the rights of all student organizations at the university. See the full Skiff issue here.October 4, 1994
Support from the Multicultural Committee
The Multicultural Committee, a group set up to diversify cultural awareness on campus, decided to support the Triangle in Fall of 1995. The Triangle hoped that the committee’s support would help increase acceptance and visibility on campus. On October 11, 1995, the Multicultural Committee sponsored its first event for the Triangle: TCU’s first National Coming Out Day celebration.
Click here to see the full yearbook.Fall 1995
Because they worked so closely with one another, the Triangle and Student Allies decided to merge into a new group called the eQ Alliance. Marcy Paul served as their faculty advisor and they became an official student organization in the fall of 2000. Click here to see the full issue.Fall 2000
TCU Celebrates National Coming Out Day
TCU students and staff celebrate National Coming Out Day on the steps of Mary Couts Burnett Library.
October 11, 2019
Gloria Steinem Visits TCU
Gloria Steinem started the conversation on childcare at TCU. During her visit to campus in the early 70s, she made 11 suggestions on feminist actions that TCU could take. One of these suggestions outlined the establishment of an on-campus childcare center that would serve faculty, staff and students.
October-November 1974 issue of Image – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/21333March 17, 1971
First Childcare Proposal Submitted by the Home Economics Department
The Home Economics Department built their proposal around suggestions from the College of Nursing, the School of Education, and the Departments of Psychology, Religion, Sociology, and Speech and Hearing. They proposed creating an on-campus day care center that offered half-day and full-day care. While the university seemed to be interested in the proposal, it was denied due to lack of funding and space on campus for such a facility.
Image from January 24, 1974 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/15742July 1973
AddRan Committee on Women’s Programs Creates a Day Care Subcommittee
The AddRan Committee on Women’s Programs, a group that advocated for a women’s studies program and women’s issues on campus, created this subcommittee to focus specifically on the childcare issue. They conducted a survey about the need for childcare on campus and reported 140 potential children that could use the center and overwhelming support from faculty.
Survey mentioned in March 3, 1987 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/168711982
Social Work Course Addresses Childcare Issue
In the Spring 1987 semester, Professor Linda Moore’s “Community Organization” course was centered around advocating for day care services on campus. The class sent out a survey to over 400 faculty members, with at least a quarter of them responding that they could use or would support such a facility on campus. The students in the course worked toward creating a formal proposal for their final project which suggested a sliding-scale payment system where the price of on-campus childcare services would be adjusted by income.
March 3, 1987 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/168711987
“Community Intervention” Course Conducts New Survey
The Department of Social Work continued to advocate for childcare on campus. In Spring of 1994 the “Community Intervention” class conducted an updated survey about the need for childcare on campus. They found that 504 faculty and staff members would support the project and 151 families that would utilize such a facility on campus. At this time, the class was investigating building a new facility on campus to house the program.
Image from April 14, 1994 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/175961994
“Generalist Practice with Communities” Course Researches Past Childcare Efforts and Conducts New Survey
Students in Professor David Jenkins’ “Generalist Practice with Communities” class focused their local activist project on previous childcare initiatives at TCU. Students found that there was little evidence of the previous efforts on campus and had to conduct interviews with faculty to document the history of the issue. They also conducted a yet another survey to assess the current need for childcare. They found that 30 professors could currently use such a service, but many others who said they would’ve used one in the past if it was offered when their kids were younger. The students found that many of the previous initiatives got shut down because they weren’t relevant enough for undergraduate students which was the university’s prime focus. They attempted to solve this by proposing a day care facility that was partially run by undergraduate students in the School of Education and the Department of Social Work for class credit or volunteer hours.
Image from April 26, 2001 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/186832001
Formal Childcare Committee Officially Revives Childcare Initiative on Campus
Linda Moore, now the Associate Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, led a committee which was putting together a new childcare proposal. Moore, who had now been involved in childcare initiatives for over a decade, said the previous proposals were never denied, but simply ignored. Chancellor Ferrari claimed that finances were why he was hesitant to support previous proposals. At the end of 2002, the childcare committee issued a survey to SGA, GSS and the Faculty Senate. They found that 38% of faculty, staff and students would benefit from on-campus childcare. They created a new proposal after researching and visiting other childcare facilities at peer and aspirational universities including University of North Texas, Texas Women’s University, Dallas Baptist University, Duke University and Vanderbilt University.
Image from September 27, 2002 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/18811
November 27, 2002 issue of The Skiff – https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/188452002
Camp Fire Program Helps Connect TCU Faculty to Affordable Childcare
The first childcare assistance services were offered for faculty in 2011 through a partnership with Camp Fire USA. Camp Fire was a third-party facilitator that helped connect TCU faculty to affordable childcare in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This service was extended to graduate students in 2014, but ultimately discontinued in 2017 because not enough people were utilizing the service.
TCU 360 article from February 18, 2010 – https://www.tcu360.com/story/child-care-options-increasing-for-faculty-and-staff-12284589/2011
New Proposal Targets Low-Income Student-Parents
2019 GSS president, Tim Ballingall, created a childcare proposal targeted at low-income students. Ballingall proposed that TCU apply for grant through the Department of Education that provides a childcare subsidy for students who were also eligible for the Pell Grant. While his proposal got support from all major governing bodies on campus and multiple academic departments, it was ultimately denied under the assumption that it would only benefit an extremely small percentage of students at TCU.
Graduate Student Senate Committee for Student-Parents
The recently expanded Graduate Student Senate created a subcommittee dedicated to serving the needs of student-parents on campus. When Ballingall’s term as GSS President ended, he passed along his research to this committee in hopes that they would continue to advocate for childcare on campus.2020
In the early 20th century, students sometimes performed elaborate same-sex wedding rituals in drag. A 1918 Skiff article describes a womanless wedding sponsored by the Domestic Science Department, which “proved to be one of the funniest and most ludicrous things that has ever happened in the University…there were a number of handsome men, and also some of the boys who were dressed as girls made exceptionally beautiful girls.” The bride, Miss Henerey Fussell, and groom, Judge Raley, had a full wedding party and exchanged vows.
Click here to see photo archive.
Straight Students at Gay Bars
In two features on gay life at TCU, a former student shares his experience feeling like the only gay man on TCU’s campus for a year and a half, only to be followed by a story detailing a group of straight TCU women who regularly go to gay clubs in Dallas for fun, but dread the Friday night drag show. The article describes the drag queens as oddities and focuses on the straight student experience of escaping from TCU to the exoticized gay bars. Click here to read the full piece.
Local Drag as Oddity for TCU Students
The TCU publication etCetera profiles a drag show at the Fort Worth gay bar The Other Place, starring Bette Sheba, the drag persona of Ricky Knerr. The article refers to Knerr as a “manwoman,” but Knerr is queerly defiant: “You can call me a queer in a dress, man in panty hose, whatever, I don’t care.” He explains the tricks of the trade and insists that he loves being a man who loves men but loves putting on show that is “more flashy Las Vegas showgirl types.” That year Ricky Knerr won entertainer of the year in Texas. The author remarks, “Coming to a gay bar, the straight person will find normal appearing people…there is nothing about their outward appearance that tells the viewer if the patron is heterosexual or homosexual.” Click here for more.
Drag as Homecoming Activity
In the fall of ’83, a Daily Skiff showcases different parties happening throughout the week of Homecoming. One event, titled “Mr. Drag Queen Contests” is for “males only” and offers $150 in prizes for the best performers. Click here for more.
Drag at Stonewall: Correcting the Record
At an event organized by Betty Benison for her human sexuality class, Michael Smerick Jr., the president of Tarrant County Gay Alliance, discusses the history of gay liberation citing the 1969 Stonewall riots and the role that drag queens, not gay men, played in the rebellion against police violence. Street queens, like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, identified as drag queens but were not stage performers; instead, we now refer to them as trans women.
Click here to see more.1989
A Night in Wonderland
The 7th Annual Drag Show, “A Night in Wonderland,” sponsored by the TCU Gay-Straight Alliance hosted more than 130 people at the BLUU and featured local performers Zimora Davenport and Eliott Puckett (known as Eliott with two Ts on the 13th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race), raising money for Youth First Texas, an LGBTQ youth organization. Click here to read the full article.
Spectrum Rebrands Drag Show
Spectrum, QUOTA (then TCU’s graduate LGBTQIA+ group), and Triota (TCU’s Women and Gender Studies Honor Society) host the first rebranded Spectrum Drag Show. The event featured local drag queen Kiana Lee as MC and included performances by Sapphire Davenport, Chanel St. John, Andre Versace, Addison L. Foster, and Mulan Alexander. In addition to the drag performances, the event also included an hour of feminist karaoke.
Read more here!February 2017
TCU’s current LGBTQIA+ organization Spectrum put on “A Night of Drag” which was an event that set the bar high for future drag shows or events at TCU. With a crowd of 350, it successfully raised money for LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S., an organization that offers assistance to youth and families in Fort Worth. Read the full article here.
Critical Drag at TCU
TCU Women and Gender Studies department held a three-day “Critical Drag Residency” with LaWhore Vagistan aka Dr. Kareem Khubchandani and Lola Von Miramar aka Dr. Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes as well as other experts on drag. One event, “Crafting Your Drag” helped students conceptualize performances for the 2020 Spectrum Drag Show, which was eventually canceled due to Covid-19. Read more here.
Queer Art of Drag
Dr. Nino Testa taught the first academic course at TCU focused on the art of drag. Students developed their own drag personas and recorded their own drag performances to be screened during Spectrum’s annual “Night of Drag. Due to Covid-19, a small number of students attended a live show, with student performance screened between the professional performances, and the entire show was livestreamed to the community.Spring 2021