Pride Alliance History
On Friday May 12, 1972, Arthur Eisenbach placed a classified advertisement declaring "Closet Queens Unite! For information about organizations of gay men and women at Princeton call [phone number]". After receiving about a dozen responses a meeting was organized. Although it was too late to get the organization going for that year, Arthur Eisenbach and Judith Schaeffer organized a meeting on September 14th of the following year which around 25 people attended.
From this meeting would arise the Gay Alliance of Princeton which would provide a safe space for its members to meet, hold events to raise awareness, and fight for the rights of gay and lesbian members of the Princeton University communtiy. On May 19, 1973 GAP held the largest gay dance in New Jersey to date on the top floor of New South; over 300 people attended.
In 1982, when holding gendered meetings doubled the attendance of women, the Lesbians of Princeton split off and formed their own group. In 1983 they changed their name to the Gay Women of Princeton. In 1986, Shawn Cowls working with Dick Lamoge would found Fund for Reunion, Princeton's Gay Alumni organization (It merged with an early organization called GALA in 1987). In 1987 the groups would remerge to form GALAP (Gay and Lesbians at Princeton).
1989 was a very important year for GALAP. Sue-Anne Morrow, assistant Dean of the Chapel hired Paul Davis, a Princeton Theological Seminary student, to do his field work by providing support to the struggling GALAP. Paul Davis' position over the next decade would morph into the LGBT Coordinator Position now held by Debbie Bazarsky.
Also in 1989 Daniel Mendelshon, a graduate student, brought Gay Jeans to Princeton, asking that people wear Jeans on October 11th to show their support for Gay and Lesbian students right to exist. The first event was met with much protest but was effective at raising awareness and remains a key inspiration for programming organized in October around Awareness Week and National Coming Out Day.
Also in 1989 GWOP would change it's name to the Lesbian and Bisexual Task Force, and the male Branch of GALAP, would Start using GMBoC (Gay and Bi Men on Campus... yes we know the acronym doesn't quite work). In 1990 the Task Force would chance its name to WOW (Women Oriented Women) and also develop a more political branch PEARL (Princeton's Eagerly Awaited Radical Lesbians). In 1991, GALAP would go through several name chances: GABLAP (Gay, Bi, and Lesbian and Princeton), BOTHWAYS, GLOBAL, and in 1992 settle on LGBA (lesbian, gay, bisexual alliance). GMBoC, which had been going by "Men's auxillary" also changed its name to HIM (He's interested in Men).
1992 also so the first GAY PRIDE weekend which would evolve into the Pride Alliance's April based Pride Week. Around this time, Queer Articulations, a film series to feature queer independent film makers was also started.
In 1999 the LGBA changed it's name to the Pride Alliance in order to be more inclusive of transgender members and Allies (yes, we do have Ally officers) who want to get involved.
In 2005 an LGBT Center was created at Princeton University, and in 2006 the Pride Alliance in conjunction with FFR held the First annual formal dinner. The Pride Alliance is still going strong and hosts an annual queer formal every fall and Pride Month every April and welcomes your interest and participation.
If you have any questions about the organization, or you would like to get involved, please shoot one of the co-presidents an email: either Jean Bellamy or Nicolas Freeman. We look forward to hearing from you.