The History of the LGBT Family Equality Movement to be Preserved at Yale University

posted on Thu, Oct 10 2013 12:59 pm by Steve Majors, Communications Director

The History of the LGBT Family Equality Movement to be Preserved at Yale University
The Family Equality Council deeds its historical materials to the Yale University Library

Family Equality Council, the national organization that represents the three million parents in America who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and their six million children today announced an agreement to deed all historical materials related to the organization and its role in the LGBT family equality movement to Yale University.  The agreement ensures the preservation of more than thirty years of materials related to the founding, growth and expansion of Family Equality Council and documents the organization’s ongoing efforts to advance equality for families with LGBT parents.

The Family Equality Council records include correspondence, planning documents, Governance Board minutes, annual reports, publications, and financial documents. The materials will arrive in Manuscripts and Archives, a department within the Yale University Library, in early 2014, after which work will be done to prepare them for research. They will be part of a growing collection of primary source materials documenting the history of LGBT people at the local, national, and international levels. The acquisition is a result of a generous donation from a long-time supporter of the Family Equality Council.

Family Equality Council is one of several family advocacy organizations across the country whose history has been documented in a project supervised by George Chauncey, Samuel Knight Professor of History and American Studies and co-director of the Yale Research Initiative on the History of Sexualities. The goal of the project is to document the history of the LGBT family equality movement in the US.  The oral histories, document surveys, and timelines generated as part of the project are being preserved in Yale’s Manuscripts and Archives, which also holds the papers of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the litigation group that won the right of same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and other states, and Love Makes a Family, a group that worked to secure the legal recognition of LGBT-headed families in Connecticut. As part of the project, Yale University has provided Family Equality Council with one of the first tangible results of the preservation effort - a historical timeline that traces the legal and cultural history of the LGBT family equality movement. That timeline can be found at www.familyequality.org/timeline.

“The history of Family Equality Council and the LGBT family movement are closely intertwined,” said Family Equality Council Executive Director Gabriel Blau. “From our first humble beginnings as a support network for divorced gay fathers to our role as the author of an historic amicus brief that influenced the Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8, our mission and impact have grown to meet the changing needs and visibility of our families. It is a measure of how far we’ve come that we can now take the time to preserve these historic materials. My fervent hope is that well before another three decades have passed, we can close the books on this part of our nation’s history because we will have achieved full legal and social equality for families with parents who are LGBT.”    

“I’m grateful that the Family Equality Council has donated its records to Yale, and that the Yale University Library has made a commitment to preserving such materials,” said Professor Chauncey.  “The dramatic growth in the number of families headed by LGBT parents in the last generation is a remarkable historical development, and it would not have been possible without the work of Family Equality Council and allied organizations to make such families more secure. These records will be invaluable to historians and other scholars seeking to document and interpret this profound cultural transformation.” 

Manuscripts and Archives is a major center for historical inquiry and also serves as the documentary memory of Yale University.  The Yale University Library supports all areas of current and historical lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender scholarship at Yale. 

For more information about Family Equality Council, contact Sean Carlson at scarlson@familyequality.org or 202.496.1285.

For more information about the records, contact Mary Caldera in Manuscripts and Archives at or mary.caldera@yale.edu or 203.432.8019.