Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Figure 13 Joe Acanfora at demonstration


Man holding sign

Joe Acanfora, with “Gay is Proud” sign, at demonstration at Penn State University, ca. 1971. Photo provided with permission by Joe Acanfora. Joe was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit, successfully settled out of court, against the Penn State University administration for pulling the charter for the first gay organization on campus chartered by the University’s student government, called Homophiles of Penn State (HOPS). An education student, Acanfora lost his student teaching assignment, sued and had his student teaching job reinstated by a court order, and graduated from Penn State. Penn State refused to issue his teaching certification. Acanfora moved to Maryland to teach in public schools there only to lose his job again because of the publicity that followed his case when Penn State finally reversed its decision and issued his teaching certification. He would never teach again and changed careers.

LGBT history

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