Pride Month is a time to celebrate who we are and the people we love, but it is also a time to reflect on where we have been and where we want to go. Remembering our histories is one of the most important parts of building the future we imagine for ourselves and our loved ones. Here at the Oregon State University Queer Archives (OSQA), we have been working to document the histories of queerness at OSU, in Corvallis, and throughout all of Oregon in relation to the university. In the last few academic years, OSQA has grown into a wonderful resource for anyone looking to build their knowledge about queer history, and we invite you to come visit us.
Our most recent project involved scouring The Daily Barometer for anything related to queer history throughout the 1990s. The 1990s were a difficult time for queer folks in Oregon. The Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA) fought to pass several homophobic, queerphobic, and transphobic ballot measures. They won some battles, especially in the rural parts of Oregon, but thanks to the efforts of dedicated community members, such as the people involved in the organization After 8, the OCA was unable to accomplish many of their hateful goals. However, even as Oregonians successfully repelled the OCA, homophobia and queerphobia raged on in our communities and on our campus. The letters section of The Daily Barometer became a well-worn battleground where proponents of equality faced off against their adversaries. For example, one letter writer went so far as to suggest that OSU needed to abandon Benny the Beaver because he was attracting attention from the Lesbian Avengers, an activist group working against hatred and discrimination. But there were others who were incredibly brave and wrote to the editor in defense and support of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Daily Barometer reported on these and a variety of topics, and in the spring of 2018, OSQA’s student worker reviewed the 1990s Barometer articles and selected the ones most relevant for the creation of the LGBTQ+ History in OSU’s The Barometer collection. Below are PDFs of the articles, organized by year, with a table of contents for each set of articles. If you desire to see a physical copy, the newspaper is available in printed and bound copies, as well as on microfilm.