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A Rainbow of Gay Life: A Comparison of Pittsburgh’s Gay Communities in the 1970’s

Futcher, Regina (2019) A Rainbow of Gay Life: A Comparison of Pittsburgh’s Gay Communities in the 1970’s. In: ASRA2020, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. (Unpublished)

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This semester for ASRA I investigated the relationship between Pitt's first student-led queer advocacy group, Rainbow Alliance, and the underground press publication Gay Life. My goal was to see how a institutionally affiliated group differed from and Pittsburgh's underground press. The focal points of comparison included what topics each group advocated for, how they operated, level of community engagement, access to resources and how they received funding. Both of these groups emerged during a time in the 1970’s where there was little positive coverage on topics relating to the gay community in mainstream media outlets. Gay Life ran from 1977-1979 and produced a total of 30 publications. They connected readership to resources and encouraged socialization through their many advertisements of events at bars, clubs, restaurants, and bathhouses. Gay Life’s operations were completely funded by the gay businesses that paid to be advertised in their issues and sold their publication. As a result, staff were able to be more frequently be engage in advocacy work with the gay Pittsburgh community because their salary enabled them to do so. Rainbow Alliance (RA) was formed in 1972 under the name Gay Students at Pitt (GSP) and created a safe space for gay Pitt students. They were heavily involved with gay organizations in the greater Pittsburgh area by frequently hosting workshops, demonstrations, and protests regarding safe sex and homophobic policies. Once GSP was recognized as an official University organization in 1976, they were allocated funds from the Student Government Board. If any part of their budget was denied, they had no other means of financial standing which restricted their community engagement.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Futcher, Reginaref59@pitt.eduRef590000-0001-6638-2812
Date: 20 April 2019
Event Title: ASRA2020
Event Type: Conference
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2020 12:59
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2020 12:59


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