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Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance records

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-14-350

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance (DSAGA) records provide information and context about the history and governance of the organization. The collection primarily consists of meeting minutes, executive board manuals, correspondence, broadsides, and other print materials created by DSAGA between 1986 and approximately 2017. The collection includes correspondence and petitions related to the first campus-wide observance of National Coming Out Day in 1996, when advertisements and posters created for the event by DSAGA were removed without permission by university staff. The collection also includes news clippings and correspondence from 1990, when DSAGA called on the university administration to review discriminatory policies in place at the JHU Army ROTC. DSAGA received a Governor's Citation from Maryland Governor Parris Glendening in 1998, and was sent letters from President Barack Obama celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center Awareness Day in 2014 and 2015. These materials are present in the collection.


  • Creation: 1986-approximately 2017


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

The Diverse Sexuality And Gender Alliance, or DSAGA, is the LGBT undergraduate student organization on the Homewood Campus of the Johns Hopkins University (JHU). DSAGA was founded in February of the 1988-89 school year under the name The Gay Caucus, then later that year was renamed GALA (Gay And Lesbian Alliance). In 1990, the organization’s name was changed to BGALA (Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Alliance). In 1993, the name was finally changed to DSAGA (Diverse Sexuality And Gender Alliance) in order to include transgender identities and ensure that no further name changes would be necessary. DSAGA serves the student body, faculty, and staff in a variety of capacities, including education, counseling, and social opportunities. In 1990, a campus-wide action was undertaken, headed by GALA, to encourage reconsideration of JHU’s ROTC program. JHU had long included sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy, but was also provided funds to the ROTC program, which, as a program of the Department of Defense, excluded LGBT students. A demonstration involving undergrad and graduate students, faculty, staff, and members of Maryland GLAAD and ACT-UP was held on December 4th, 1990 at Levering Hall. A campus wide survey administered by an ad-hoc committee formed by Dean Boswell revealed support for a change in policy. DSAGA was a Special Interest group under Studen Activities Commission guidelines until 1997, when Arthur Brady and Karen Henein successfully proposed a reclassification as a Cultural Group. In 1996, JHU Coming Out Day was started by Gloria Guzman. On the morning of National Coming Out Day of that year, all of DSAGA’s posters and chalkings had been removed by Custodial Services at the request of the University Administration. In response, Gloria organized a rally the next Friday. Ever since, DSAGA has held events on National Coming Out Day (October 11th) to remember these events. In 1997, Coming Out Week was developed by Karen Henein, who created the tradition of a week of events in between National and JHU Coming Out Days.


1.86 Cubic Feet (1 record center box, 1 flat box)

Language of Materials



The Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance records primarily consist of meeting minutes, executive board manuals, correspondence, broadsides, and other materials created by DSAGA between 1986 and approximately 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Benjamin Panico in August 2014 with an additional donation by Isabella Altherr, President of DSAGA, in October 2018.

Processing Information

Processed by Kristen Diehl in February 2020.

Guide to the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance records
Kristen Diehl
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA