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The Indiana Daily Student

arts community events

From gay ordinance to mock cemeteries: A brief history of Bloomington PRIDE


Bloomington PRIDE's fifth Pridefest, an annual street festival, will take place at 3 p.m. Aug. 25 on East Kirkwood Avenue.

As you prepare for the live entertainment, food trucks and poetry slam, take a look back at a brief history of IU and the City of Bloomington’s involvement with equalizing and including the LGBTQ+ community as part of its culture. 

Dec. 4, 1978

Gay ordinance is amended to Bloomington’s city code, giving the Bloomington Human Rights Commission the power to decide cases of discrimination against homosexuals. The ordinance includes IU’s Bloomington campus in its jurisdiction. This ordinance protected gay faculty members who are harassed to the point of quitting their job.

June 23, 1981

The IU Student Association establishes a new committee, called the Gay-Lesbian Concerns Committee in order to discuss equal rights for members of the LGBT within the student government as well as documenting discrimination against homosexuals.

August 1993

A small group of gay students constructed a mock cemetery out of pink crosses in Dunn Meadow in order to mourn and protest the status of gay people in the military. The number of attendees was particularly low, and attendees at the mock cemetery asked, “What will it take to get more solidarity?”

November 1994

The GLBT Student Support Services Office, now known as the LGBTQ+ Culture Center, opens its doors for the first time on IU’s campus.  

May 2002

University employees were able to sign their partners on their insurance, allowing for domestic partner benefits. More than 75 employees across IU’s eight campuses signed up for these benefits.


PRIDE Film Festival is created by two arts administration graduate students who partnered with Bloomington’s Buskirk-Chumley Theater, according to the Bloomington PRIDE website.

August 2006

IU is named one of the best campuses for LGBT services, ranked within the top 20 best colleges or universities, providing community, counseling and support through its GLBT Student Support Services. 

November 2009

Two men get married in the Whittenberger Auditorium in a demonstration wedding, which was organized by the Indiana Memorial Union Board in order to promote a healthy discourse regarding same-sex marriage. “The more you know, the less you will judge and the more you will accept,” said Jasmine Starks, director of international and cultural events for the Union Board. 

October 2013 

IU President Michael McRobbie announces that IU will join the Freedom Coalition, a bipartisan grassroots campaign to oppose the constitutional amendment, House Joint Resolution 6, which would ban same-sex marriage by discouraging it all together. 


Bloomington PRIDE, which was once just the PRIDE Film Festival, hosts its first summer festival, at the time called SummerFest, according to the Bloomington PRIDE website. The festival celebrated the LGBT community and culture. Today SummerFest is called Pridefest.


More than 2,000 people attend Bloomington's Pridefest, which is more than the 1700 that attended in 2014, according to the Visit Bloomington website.


Bloomington PRIDE establishes a new program called the LGBT Aging & Caring Network, according to the Bloomington PRIDE website. The program offers support to young and growing members of the Bloomington LGBTQ community.

January 2017

The GLBT Student Support Services changes its name to the LGBTQ+ Culture Center in order to reflect the continually changing gender and sexual identities of students.

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