Have you been to North Queerolina? If not, there's plenty of time.
It is reported that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be hosting a historical exibit that will reveal—among other things—the locations where people used go on campus and near it to enjoy gay sexual activity.
The Queerolina website explains it is an oral history:
Welcoming you to the exhibit “Queerolina: Experiences of Place and Space Through Oral Histories,” an exhibit that focuses on the experiences of the UNC-Chapel Hill students who are LGBTQIA+. Queerolina explores the spaces both on campus and off through excerpts of oral histories written by students and alumni.
Two opportunities provided through the presentation:
- Check out on the Queerolina Map, an exploration of the spaces and locations in and around the UNC Chapel Hill campus. It includes excerpts from oral stories.
- Find out more about the Queerolina online exhibit.
Participants are also able to discuss their own gay experiences about their time while at the school.
This interactive map details a few locations that have been marked and about those who shared the memory:
- Fetzer Gym: Finding support amongst teammates, 1996, Maia Bar Am
- Woollen Gym: Being competitive in the “gay world,” 1973 The Dr. P. Allen Gray, Jr.
- Granville Towers: Being “otherized,” 1988, Mark Kleinschmidt
- The Electric Company: Chapel Hill's gay bar in the 60s 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 who aren't familiar with this concept, Urban Dictionary defines it:
tearoom: a public men's restroom used for homosexual activity
As reported in Campus Reform, some of the “queer histories” involve torrid stories.
In one audio clip, Larry Alford, a UNC Alumnus, talks about the Wilson Library basement as a well-known location for gay males to meet.
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, another UNC alumni, explains what the Kitty Hawk Tavern in Raleigh was a favorite place to meet in the 1950s and 1940s for LGBTQ students and others during the 1940s and 1950s.
Jackson explained the Tavern was a spot where “guys who want to pick up a trick” would go, and said it was “very secluded,” making it “a relatively safe place to cruise.”
“Picking up a trick” is a slang term for paying for sexual activity, and “cruising” is slang for looking for gay sex that is anonymous.
Clayton shares that the lavatory of Kitty Hawk had holes:
“[I]t was one of the few tea rooms that had glory holes in the front of the stall.”
He explains the function for the 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 show is curated by UNC-Chapel Hill's Carolina Pride Alum Network as part of their “The Story of Us” initiative.
“As CPAN members,” California Pride's website 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. The project will include a permanent collection in Wilson Library, giving a broader and richer understanding of our history, not only to the LGBTQIA community but to the Carolina community as a whole.Watch the video to learn more about The Story of Us from CPAN board members, past and present student body presidents and Carolina alumni.
The exhibition was officially scheduled to run in the academic year 2021-2022.
In a short matter of time, the way we educate and our society have drastically transformed. In the past there was a stigma attached to universities that it was full of pipe smoking and high back chairs. Nowadays there are schools that have enshrined a spot close to the college where students smoke pipes, however, not as Sigmund Freud would have done it.