University Offers Map Marking Where Gay Students Have Gathered for Sexual Trysts – Opinion

Do you remember North Queerolina? If not, there’s still time.

The University of North at Carolina Chapel Hill is hosting a history exposition indicating — among other things — where on- and around-campus sneakers used to gather for gay sex.

According to the Queerolina website, it’s an oral history:

Welcome to “Queerolina: Experiences of Place and Space Through Oral Histories,” an exhibit highlighting the lived experiences of UNC-Chapel Hill students who identify as LGBTQIA+. Queerolina examines the spaces of campus and elsewhere through selected excerpts drawn from oral histories by students and alumni.

Online presentations offer a couple of opportunities.

Participants can also tell their stories of gay pride from the school.

The interactive map shows you a selection of marked places and the memorists.

  • Fetzer Gym: Finding support amongst teammates, 1996, Maia Bar Am
  • Woollen Gym: Being competitive in the “gay world,” 1973, Dr. P. Allen Gray, Jr.
  • Granville Towers: Being “otherized,” 1988, Mark Kleinschmidt
  • The Electric Company: Chapel Hill’s gay bar, 1960s, Kent Parks
  • Hinton James Dormitory: South Campus, 1985, E. Patrick Johnson
  • Peabody Hall: “If anybody in this county ever finds out, your [behind] will be out of here faster than you can blink,” 1995, Christina Fisher
  • Kitty Hawk Tavern: The “Tea Room,” 1950s, Clayton Jackson
  • Wilson Library: Basement “Tea Room,” 1970s-2005, Larry Alford

For those unfamiliar with the term, Urban Dictionary assists:

Tea Room: a public men’s restroom used for homosexual activity

As noted by Campus Reform, some of the “queer histories” involve torrid tales.

Larry Alford is a UNC graduate who describes Wilson Library basement as an iconic spot for gay men.

According to Alford, the basement had a “very large men’s room”, and “the activities that went on in that men’s room were actually pretty unsavory at times, frankly.”

Clayton Jackson is another UNC member and discusses Kitty Hawk Tavern, Raleigh which was a favorite meeting place for LGBTQ students in the 1940s/50s.

Jackson described the Tavern as a place where “guys who want to pick up a trick” would go, and as “very secluded,” making it “a relatively safe place to cruise.”

“Picking up a trick” is slang for paying for sex, and “cruising” is slang for seeking anonymous gay sex.

As for Kitty Hawk’s lavatory, Clayton recalls it hosted a hole:

“[I]t was one of the few tea rooms that had glory holes in the front of the stall.”

He discusses the importance of this port.

“[I]t was very easy for somebody to come in and see somebody in the stall with a hole, stand at a urinal…just turn around basically and stick your [carnal kettle] through the hole.”

The exhibition is headed by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Pride Alum Network as part of its “The Story of Us” initiative.

“As CPAN members,” California Pride’s site says, “we are deeply committed to amplifying the voices of LGBTQIA experiences, and we have a unique opportunity now to tell our story and document our legacy at Carolina.”

CPAN is leading…a ground-breaking collaboration with Wilson Library, the Southern Oral History Program and the Department of Communication committed to preserving —and sharing — our voices. This project will create a permanent collection at Wilson Library that gives a richer and more accurate understanding of the history of the LGBTQIA community and the Carolina community in general.

Officially, the exhibit ran in the 2021-2022 academic calendar.

Education and society have changed dramatically in a matter of seconds. Universities were once associated with pipes and high-back chairs a few decades back. These days, a public school might enshrine a corner near the college where people have taken their pipes for smoking — but not in the way Sigmund Freud did it.

So goes Public Ivy school UNC-Chapel Hill, and so goes America’s evolution.



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