44 Years Strong!
In 2016, Spectrum: LGBTQ & Allies celebrated the anniversary of 40 years of recognized LGBTQ student organizations at Wichita State. The first group, the Student Homophile Association (SHA) was established in 1976 by founding members Bruce McKinney and Gary Jo Gardenhire. Since that time, Wichita State students have established a number of other LGBTQ organizations, each with a different focus and mission:
Some of these previous groups include:
- Student Homophile Association (1976)
- Gay and Lesbian Resource Association (1984-1987)
- Students for Education on Liberal Concerns (1987)
- Responsible Active Gays (1989)
- Choices (1991-1992)
- 10 Percent (1994)
- That Gay Group! (2000)
Want to know more about these groups? One of our previous presidents, Robert Teutsch, documented the history of these organizations and conducted interviews with members. You can read the story of LGBTQ student groups at WSU here: WSU LGBTQ History
Spectrum: LGBTQ & Allies, formerly "That Gay Group!", made its debut as a student group at WSU in fall 2000. Since its founding, the group has been dedicated to providing a safe space where LGBTQ students and allies can meet to discuss a wide range of topics, share experiences and concerns, and build lasting friendships. Also, the group has been involved in many exciting activities since its creation, including co-hosting Wichita State University's annual drag show since its beginnings in May 2011 and participating in Wichita Pride since 2009. In 2013, the group helped to bring guest speaker Lt. Dan Choi to campus. Spring of 2015 was a particularly exciting time for Spectrum as it helped Wichita State celebrate its first “Gaypril,” an entire month devoted to LGBTQ programming. During this inaugural Gaypril, Spectrum helped the university welcome Laverne Cox from Orange is the New Black and Shangela from RuPaul's Drag Race. Spectrum even threw its first Pride Prom and participated in the university's first Lavender Graduation. Most importantly, the group has continued to work toward making the entire WSU campus a place of equality where all members of the LGBTQ community and their allies can feel comfortable and safe.