Vaserfirer, Andrew (2012-07). Lesbian and Gay Student Mobilization at Texas A & M University. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • Drawing on newspaper, movement correspondence, and interview data, I examine the tactical selection and (in)visibility of a lesbian and gay student group, Gay Student Services (GSS), in a hostile university campus in Texas from the mid-1970s through the 1980s. GSS was formed to create a safe space for sexual minorities at Texas A & M University (TAMU) and asked university officials to recognize the group officially after physical threats of violence became real. After long delays, when TAMU administrators declined GSS's request, GSS filed a lawsuit against TAMU with the goal of achieving formal recognition. In the first chapter, I offer a brief history of GSS and introduce my thesis structure. In the second chapter, I show how early access to legal aid bolstered GSS members' understanding of their rights and encouraged their use of legal tactics. A sense of legal entitlement also encouraged GSS to pursue legal tactics in the face of administrative antagonism. The hostile campus environment also motivated GSS to utilize legal tactics instead of engaging in more traditional forms of contention, such as protest, to pursue their goal of gaining official status on campus.

publication date

  • July 2012