The Oberlin College LGBT Community History Project is an interactive archive created to record, preserve, and make available Oberlin College’s LGBT history. Members of the Oberlin community are encouraged to contact us to submit other materials.

Selected Pages

kuku-siemons-thDiepiriye Sungumote Kuku-Siemons (OC 97) talks about Daisy Dukes, African Heritage House, lessons learned at Oberlin, and his current research on cross-cultural modes of queerness.


Bechdel-thThe author of Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel’s (OC 81) comic “Coming Out Story” touches on sex, drugs, and the Oberlin Gay Union.


hickman-thPaul Hickman (OC 01) talks about campus transgender activism, the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, and Queer Peers.


pringle-th Harmony Pringle (OC 11) weaves together interviews, archival research, and her own personal explorations in this essay on Oberlin’s first gay liberation dance.


Artz-thKnown for his acerbic wit and “colorful” mannerisms, Professor Frederick Artz was a distinguished scholar and an anchor for early gay campus circles.


Matter-th“We had all the Noël Coward periphrastic ways of referring to ourselves, like ‘she’s a vegetarian,’ or ‘he’s very musical,’” Ann Matter (OC 71) recalled.


The-Boyfriend-thGay students showcased an irresistible camp sensibility for an audience of Oberlin students and Cleveland gay bar patrons in the 1962 production of The Boy Friend.


Wood-thRev. Robert Wood (GST 51), hailed as a “pioneer for gay rights in America,” talks about service in World War II, Oberlin’s Seminary, and gay campus life.



The success of this community history website depends on your participation! Help preserve and enrich the record of Oberlin’s LGBT history by

  • posting relevant comments on “Behind the Masks.”
  • contacting us to submit photos, journal entries, articles, or other documents.
  • transcribing some of the over fifty oral histories already conducted with alumni, professors, and staff (or conducting your own).
  • reporting dead links and typos.

Want to learn more about participating, or have a question?