Featured Collection From Penn State

The Homophiles of Penn State, or HOPS, was founded in 1971. Originally called “The Other Vision: Homophiles of Penn State,” thestudent organization aimed to “change attitudes on homosexuality through legal reform, public education and individual counseling.” Membership was open to all students and local community members, defining homophile as, “anyone, homosexual or heterosexualwho advocates the end of discrimination against homosexuals.” The group’s charter however, was challenged by Penn State University administration, which cited question of legality of such a group at a public university. While the university denied a charter to HOPS, the group carried out mixers, events, and other actions at campus facilities under the sponsorship of fellow student groups. In February 1972, HOPS filed suit against Penn State University, citing violation of the students’ First and Fourth Amendment freedoms. The case was settled out of court in January 1973and HOPS’ charter was reinstated the following month. HOPS carried out advocacy, social, and political work throughout the 1970s,then disbanding in the 1983-1984 school year, citing drop in membership and inability to meet students’ needs.

The Homophiles of Penn State records are a University Archives collection within the Eberly Family Special Collections Library. The collection is 2 linear feet, spans the years 1965-1979, and includes newsletters and pamphlets collected from across the country, as well as their own publication ZAP. The publication is an excellent resource because it provides information about all of the HOPS’ sponsored events, along with social and political issues of interest to the group at a given time. The collection however, does not have any other records created by the student organization and would benefit from materials such as photographs, reports, correspondence, etc. to provide a greater understanding of the experience and work the students engaged in. There are a couple of related collections that provide additional resources: Pennsylvania State University Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity records and Anthony R. D’Augelli collection on lesbian, gay and bisexual activism, 1970-1994.

Cover of ZAP, HOPS Newsletter, November 1976
Flyer for the Gay Liberation Festival, June 1974, sponsored by HOPS

Citation for both images: Homophiles of Penn State records, PSUA 450, Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University.