Previous Page  12 / 20 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 12 / 20 Next Page
Page Background

to support LGBT students, this was not

explicitly reflected in the name because

the political climate was quite different

then. Gregory Roberts recalls, “At first,

I was hesitant to start such a group,

but my colleagues were supportive,

and I saw students who needed help.”

The early years proved to be the most

difficult, for while the campus was very

supportive, much of the student body

was not.

Dr. William Sweigart arrived at IU

Southeast in 1990 from San Francisco,

where he had been an activist for LGBT

equality and a supporter of Harvey

Milk’s campaign in the 1970s. Upon his

arrival, he experienced a considerable

culture shock, going from the liberalism

of San Francisco to the social to support

LGBT students, this was not explicitly

reflected in the name because the

political climate was quite different then.

Gregory Roberts recalls, “At first, I was

hesitant to start such a group, but my

colleagues were supportive, and I saw

students who needed help.” The early

years proved to be the most difficult, for

while the campus was very supportive,

much of the student body was not.

Dr. William Sweigart arrived at IU

Southeast in 1990 from San Francisco,

where he had been an activist for

LGBT equality and a supporter of

Harvey Milk’s campaign in the 1970s.

Upon his arrival, he experienced a

considerable culture shock, going

from the liberalism of San Francisco

to the social conservatism of Southern

Indiana. During Sweigart’s first year on

campus, one of his students committed

suicide. This motivated him to get more

involved with the GSA. He could not be

sure, but he suspected that the student

was gay and struggling with a hostile

environment. “Sometimes the work of

the GSA is a matter of life and death,”

Sweigart said.

In the early 1990s, posters for the

organization were defaced, and the office

was vandalized, but this did not deter

Roberts or Sweigart from keeping the

GSA alive. Roberts points out, “Society

is afraid of change, but each generation

has been more progressive.” Dr. Sweigart

went out of his way to keep that office

door open. “The movement has waxed

and waned over the years, and I was

afraid we might lose the office. I would

often take my paperwork into the GSA

office so that the organization could be

available for students.”

There were three major events in the

According to

a 2013 study

published by

the Huffington

Post, gays

and lesbians

ages fifteen to

twenty-four

are seven times

more likely to

attempt suicide.