Week 11 | Scripting | University of Central Florida’s LGBTQ+ Student Organizations
University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd. Orlando, Florida, 32816
I’m Nikki Fragala Barnes with the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida. In the summer of 2021, I served as an intern while earning my PhD in Texts and Technology as a curator and public historian.
This is the third episode of a series of video pathways into the collections of the Museum.
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA’S LGBTQ+ STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS:
According to the Pride, Prejudice, and Protest exhibit at the Orange County Regional History Center created and curated by RICHES, “on February 16, 1976, Florida Technological University (later to become the University of Central Florida) gave formal recognition to the Gay Student Association (GSA), making GSA the first official GLBT organization in Central Florida. After several name changes, in 1994 the gay student group became UCF’s Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Student Union (GLBSU) and then in 2009 underwent another name change to become ‘Equal.’”
On March 10th, 1976 a Certificate of Registration for the Gay Student Association was issued.
THESE TWO ITEMS FROM THE COLLECTION in the LGBTQ HISTORY MUSEUM OF CENTRAL FLORIDA are the LOGOS of the GSA, later EQUAL.
Each logo is displayed with bold, white text on a black background, and both feature a rainbow graphic element that adopts the pride rainbow for context and symbolism.
The importance of these logos is their presence — how they remind us in 2021 that there was a visible, productive community willing to be publicly present. To witness to themselves and to us that it is human nature to build social groups with purpose and also fun.
To spotlight the GSA, or GLBTSU, or Equal, we really need to mention Ken Kazmerski, then a UCF professor, who was asked to serve as the faculty advisor. According to Ken, that was in 1993 or 1994. He agreed. Ken was among the founders of the History Project and also of this History Museum [citation: http://www.floridalgbtqmuseum.org/founders.html].
The short story is that in 2005, a Come Out With Pride event was held in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square, a historic Black neighborhood that centers history and community, and they wanted to include a display of LGBTQ history at this Pride event. And, this was the work of many people both credited and uncredited — including concepts and event logistics and set up and clean up and a great deal of people remain unacknowledged.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our lives, and more significantly affected oppressed communities. The deadly highly-contagious virus caused limits on human gatherings, and UCF’s Equal has experienced reduced participation. We very much hope that as greater numbers are vaccinated, new opportunities will support this vibrant group to continue in its sixth decade.
During the research for this project, I found the Pride Student Association at UCF. They appear active, and I have reached out to their leadership to include more. Links follow at the bottom of the included transcript.
Come Out with Pride takes place the weekend of October 7th-9th, now part of LGBTQ History month here in central florida. Sure hope to see you there.
Accompanying this video are additional links for more on the University of Central Florida’s support of its LGBTQ members.Thanks for watching.
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Featured artifact: logo of Equal, UCF’s student organization supporting LGBTQ+ students from the collection of the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida: https://floridalgbtqmuseum.omeka.net/items/show/424
Pathways: Central Florida Gay Pride Events History
First exhibit of the History Project, 9 October 2005:
Image of the collage from the 2005 History Project: https://floridalgbtqmuseum.omeka.net/items/show/14417
Ken Kazmerski’s Oral History and Transcript:
More on the origins of the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida: http://www.floridalgbtqmuseum.org/our-story.html
Timeline of LGBTQ history and events in Central Florida: http://www.floridalgbtqmuseum.org/central-florida-timeline.html
Article: “Organizing the Rainbow: Celebrating the History of Come Out with Pride”: http://www.floridalgbtqmuseum.org/organizing-the-rainbow-celebrating-the-history-of-come-out-with-pride.html
More on Pride Today:
“The Complete Guide to Florida Pride.” OutCoast: Gay Florida Travel. https://www.outcoast.com/florida-pride-guide/
More from University of Central Florida:
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Resources
Social Justice and Advocacy: LGBTQ+ Services
UCF Pride, Faculty and Staff Association
Pride Student Association at UCF
Equal at UCF
Dudenhoefer, Nicole. “These 6 Proud Knights Share Their LGBTQ+ Experience.” UCF Today. 28 June 2019. https://www.ucf.edu/news/these-6-proud-knights-share-their-lgbtq-experience/.
Kruckemyer, Gene. “UCF Listed in Top 50 LGBT-Friendly Campuses.” UCF Today. 15 August 2014. https://www.ucf.edu/news/ucf-listed-top-50-lbgt-friendly-campuses/.
More on the process of historiography and the LGBTQ community
Manes, Billy. “Uncovering Orlando’s Gay History Isn’t Easy, But Someone’s Gotta Do It.” Orlando Weekly. 12 October 2006. https://www.orlandoweekly.com/orlando/uncovering-orlandos-gay-history-isnt-easy-but-someones-gotta-do-it/Content?oid=2274743.
“Preserving Pride” 2005–2020