Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance: 1993-1999

Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance Logo

Logo for the GLBA student organization

The GLA added the letter B to reflect its new name, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Alliance. The national use of the word bisexual became popular in the 1990’s to much debate.The inclusion of bisexual in the name likely came from its increasing usage in national organizations throughout the 1990’s and internal pressure from group members who identified as bisexual.

This version of the group defined their purpose in their constitution, stating,

“The purpose to the Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Alliance is to provide a supportive community environment for gay, lesbian, and bisexual students at the University of Alabama; to work for greater understanding and education within the University and its surrounding communities about gays, lesbians, & bisexuals and the discrimination that exists against them” [1]

This purpose shows a departure from previous constitutions which emphasized the importance of educating non-queer people as the most important means to ending discrimination against them. This is a shift from the GLA’s purpose which puts allies and those outside the queer community at the center of its message. Now, the GLBA has put themselves at the center of their organizational purpose. This is also reflected in their preamble which stated, “We believe that all persons are created equal and that discrimination in any form is unjust.”

Also, at this time, there was less desire to openly declare identity, as well as a potential undercurrent of danger which can be seen within their materials being distributed in this time period. This shift in identity to become inward facing likely reflects the needs and wishes of the members. The GLBA’s 1993 constitution also writes ‘health status’ into their membership nondiscrimination policy for the first time. The inward shift could also be reflective of a organization that is trying to help their community grapple with the continuing AIDS crisis. Given a potential increase in prejudice from their environment at this time, the organization choosing to move to a more inclusive name was an important step to making queer students feel safer and part of a community.

1 Hoole Special Collections Library, Miller-Stephens LGBTQ UA Student Organization collection, Box 1, Folder 8, GLBA Constitution