The Gay Lib controversy: social change versus social norms at the University of Missouri
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In 1971, a homosexual student organization known as Gay Liberation or Gay Lib requested and was denied recognition at the University of Missouri-Columbia. For the next seven years, Gay Lib members would work their way through a system of appeals and court cases until they were finally awarded recognition in April 1978. This was not an isolated incident. The reasons why students were willing to go to such lengths for recognition, why administrators denied their request, and why the students succeeded had their roots in decades of social and legal change at the university and national level. Mizzou’s Gay Lib controversy provides a look into the way students, campuses, and America as a whole were changing in the 70s. To properly grasp its significance, the history of university-student relations and LGBT+ Americans must be understood.