LGBT History Month

October is LGBT History Month, an annual opportunity to celebrate and learn about the historical figures and significant events that built today’s queer community and moved our society toward acceptance.

For years the history of these marginalized communities was hidden, overlooked, or even destroyed, but programs like the Queer Memory Project of Northern Colorado are working hard to discover and share the stories of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) past of our region.

The Queer Memory Project of Northern Colorado

Through a Monfort Professorship at CSU, Communication Studies Associate Professor Thomas R. Dunn founded the Queer Memory Project of Northern Colorado last year to discover and preserve our region’s LGBTQ+ past. Learn more at or by listening to Dunn’s recent interview on CSU’s new podcast, The Audit.

Working with graduate students, community partners, and undergraduates in Dunn’s Communicating the Queer Past course (SPCM 381.A2), this month the Queer Memory Project launched a detailed virtual timeline of LGBTQ+ history in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Fort Collins LGBTQ+ Timeline

The Fort Collins LGBTQ+ Timeline is a living virtual document that highlights stories of the long and complex LGBTQ+ past in the city of Fort Collins. Peruse three snapshots from the timeline below, and then view the entire timeline online here.


Black and white drawing of a woman with short hair in a coat wearing glasses with her hand propped behind her head, the words "GRACE ESPY PATTON [Professor of English Agricultural College]" underneathGrace Espy Patton was a professor at CSU (known at the time as Colorado Agricultural College). The caricature pictured on the left is from 1896, the year Patton was elected Colorado State Superintendent of Public Instruction. She was the first woman to vote in Fort Collins, the second woman professor at CSU, and may have been the first lesbian or bisexual woman to graduate from and teach at CSU.

FORT COLLINS GAY AND LESBIAN ALLIANCEBlack-and-white photo of a handpainted banner that says "Fort Collins Gay Lesbian Alliance" surrounded by balloons and held up by smiling people

The Fort Collins Gay and Lesbian Alliance was one of the first LGBTQ+ rights organizations (if not the first) on CSU’s campus and in the local community. The photograph to the right features their appearance at the 1983 Colorado Pride March.


Black-and-white copy of newsprint photograph of two women in chairs talking, one in casual wear with long athletic socks and the other in a costume with a gray wig and hat, a pearl necklace, and a dress. Behind them is a poster that says "REAGAN-BUSH '84: Bringing America" and then someone has written "BACKWARDS" on top of the last word. There is also a handwritten sign on the floor behind the woman in the costume advertising the group's meeting.Ladies Against Women was a lesbian-focused satirical group at CSU that advocated for LGBTQ+ and women’s causes, among others, via entertaining guerilla performances. In this circa 1985 performance pictured on the left, someone has altered the text of a Reagan-Bush presidential campaign poster to read “Bringing America Backwards.”

Queer Presence at CSU

For comments and questions on the Fort Collins LGBTQ+ Timeline, please contact Dunn at

And for more ways to celebrate our LGBTQ+ history this month, please visit CSU’s Pride Resource Center website at