[Back to Formatted Version]

OSU Queer Archives Oral History Collection, 2015-2020

By Finding aid prepared by Natalia Fernández and Vanessa Vanderzee.

Collection Overview

Title: OSU Queer Archives Oral History Collection, 2015-2020

ID: OH 034

Primary Creator: McConnell, Kiah

Extent: 230.0 gigabytes. More info below.

Arrangement: Interviews and other recordings are arranged chronologically.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2015

Languages of Materials: English [eng]

Abstract

The OSU Queer Archives Oral History Collection is a growing repository of interviews and event recordings that document the experiences and perspectives of members of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies who have spent at least portions of their lives at Oregon State University and/or in Benton County, Oregon. The majority of the interview videos and event recordings are available online: LGBTQ Voices.

Scope and Content Notes

The OSU Queer Archives Oral History Collection seeks to document the experiences and perspectives of members of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies who have spent at least portions of their lives at Oregon State University and/or in Benton County, Oregon.

Of particular note is a set of eight interviews conducted by OSU student Kiah McConnell for her 2015 “OSU LGBTQ+ Community Film,” created as part of her honors thesis. A set of nine interviews was conducted by the students of the spring 2016 OSU course HST 368 Lesbian and Gay Movements in Modern America with Professor Mina Carson. In 2017, an additional set of nine interviews was conducted by the students of the spring 2017 OSU course with Professor Carson. In 2019, the HST 368 with Professor Carson conducted nine more interviews and in 2020, the students conducted six interviews for the Queer Archives.

Also included in the collection are interviews featruing the history of OSU's SOL: LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network and the effects it has had on the QTIPOC student population. There are two interviews in Series 1 (2015) and five interviews in Series 5 (2019).

The collection also includes five event recordings, "The History of Queervallis" and “Occupying Margins: A Panel Discussion on Gender" and "Consent is Asexy and Required: Healthy Relationships with Asexual and Aromantic People" and "Herstory and Culture of Drag" and "Indigenous Trans and Two Spirit Stories of Resilience"

Of particular note are the three story circles conducted in 2020 documenting the experiences of trans peoples as well as queer peoples with disabilities.

All interviews were conducted in Corvallis, Oregon.

The majority of the interviews and events have been recorded directly to digital video and are available online. Materials assembled in the process of developing interview topics, and permissions forms signed by interview subjects, are also held on site.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Story Circles:

Trans Story Circle #1. This story circle was hosted by the Hattie Redmond Women & Gender Center and the Pride Center as part of their Transgender Story Circle program. The program is described as being a space for people who identify under the transgender umbrella to gather in a safe/brave space to share their stories and create connections. Furthermore, the goal of the program was to document trans voices and stories to be archived in the OSU Queer Archives, where they can be accessed by current and future students. Juniper Alliston, Ray Wolf, Caden DeLoach, Kate Schilke, Quincy Meyers, and a person who has chosen to remain anonymous were the participants of this story circle.

Trans Story Circle #2. Information forthcoming.

Disabled and Queer Story Circle. Information forthcoming.

Individual Interviewees and Event Panelists:

Jaqc Allen. At the time of the interview, Jaqc Allen was a third-year student studying Public Health, Health Promotion, and Human Development. Allen worked at the Black Cultural Center, and was later appointed as a leadership liaison for SOL. Allen holds many identities that are important to them, including being queer, lesbian, gender nonconforming, and Native American Black. A nontraditional student, Allen came to Oregon State in their mid-twenties.

Justine Anaya. Anaya is an undergraduate student at Oregon State University studying Environmental Economics and Policy. She worked with SOL from 2014-2016 and describes this as a time when the organization was struggling to stay afloat. Despite this difficulty, finding community in SOL has helped Anaya thrive in a predominately white campus.

K.B. K.B. was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, in a small town of roughly 500 people. This area is known for being a rugged and conservative region. K.B’s family raised them in a protestant church with their one older brother. K.B understood the class disparity between them and their peers, coming from a family that had contributed to the town for multiple generations. During K.B’s time in their hometown, they had many problems with their family and specifically their brother. K.B felt compared to their brother who was more ‘motivated’ than K.B. After leaving their hometown, the relationship with their brother improved but the relationship with their parents continues to be strained. K.B identifies as pansexual and non-binary and is not out to their parents. It wasn’t until they left for higher education that their identity was truly discovered. K.B went to two different all-female colleges on the east coast and in the South before finding themselves at Oregon State for graduate school. During their time in the same-sex schools K.B found friends who took them in and let them deal with their mental health problems in a safe environment. One of these friends introduced K.B to the Universal Unitarian church, a liberal church focusing on faith and spirituality. While K.B says they never struggled with faith, finding an accepting and safe church proved difficult during the Supreme Court’s decision to potentially legalize marriage equality.  K.B refers to these people as their chosen family. Before coming to Oregon State K.B. worked with AmeriCorps and spent time in Tillamook creating important relationships crucial to their mental health and growth. Today K.B studies public health at Oregon State University and is involved in their local Universal Unitarian church where they serve as a mentor and adviser for the church’s High School program in Corvallis, Oregon.

Judy Ball. Ball was born in 1952 in West Virginia, and adopted by parents Clyde and Nelly Ball. Raised as an only child, and living in a rural, isolated part of West Virginia, Ball and her parents were very close. She grew up in a lower middle-class and racially homogenous area, and because of this was not even aware of LGBTQ identities until much later in life. In her early childhood, Ball’s mother was a factory worker, while her father worked as a truck driver. However, due to financial difficulties and lack of job availability, both of her parents worked odd jobs for much of her youth, doing whatever was necessary to put food on the table. Interested in history and public policy from a young age, Ball escaped poverty through education, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Although she has had relationships with both men and women, today Ball is happily single and is very involved in the local Corvallis community.

Saranya Bond-Frojen. Bond-Frojen was born in Florence, Oregon on October 10, 1971. Bond-Frojen’s mother, a radical activist hippie, named her Searainya because she was born by the sea, in the rain. Bond-Frojen’s father, a chef by trade, struggled with alcoholism, passing away when she was only 26 years old. Bond-Frojen has four half-siblings, but she only grew up with her half-brother Cassidy, who is four years her junior. Bond-Frojen attended K-12 schools in Florence, and discovered community and mentors through the Evangelical Christian church beginning in elementary school. Bond-Frojen attended Eugene Bible College, and though she took a break from pursuing her degree between ages 19 and 35, she ultimately earned a degree in Bible and Christian counseling. While on break from attending college, Bond-Frojen worked with developmentally disabled adults, and as a receptionist at Adventist Medical Center in Portland. After finally receiving her bachelor’s degree, Bond-Frojen went on to pursue a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Although she had worked as a mental health counselor since completing graduate school, at the time of this interview Bond-Frojen was seeking new employment opportunities closer to her home in Corvallis, Oregon—where she lives with her partner Robin, and her stepson Colin.

Bradley Boovy. Boovy was born into a Catholic home in New Orleans, Louisiana and lived in this region of the United States up until the completion of his undergraduate degree. One of the most important times for Boovy's life was the time he spent in Austin, Texas in his 20's as a graduate student because he came out as a gay man. Austin was the place that helped him to find his identity in a positive way in a supportive environment. The bars were the place that people could communicate with others to build their community. Once he took a job at Oregon State University, he wanted to create a queer space in Corvallis that was not in bars so that people under 21 years of age or those who do drink alcohol, could find community. Boovy used to work in creating each year’s Queer Film Festival in Corvallis until 2016. This event highlights LGBTQ+ films from all around the world. Boovy is currently an assistant professor at Oregon State University with a background in Germanic studies, Spanish studies and women studies. He is helping the OSU’s Queer Archives, in Oregon State’s special collections and archives.

Adrian Borycki. At the time of the interview, Adrian Borycki was a third year student in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University. Prior to majoring in WGSS, Borycki studied both engineering and pre-med. Borycki’s parents have resided in Corvallis for over five years, and they were already familiar with the town and OSU before attending. Borycki has been involved with the Pride Center since the winter of their freshman year, both as a volunteer and later as the center’s Publications Coordinator.

Mina Carson. Carson was born in 1953 in San Francisco, CA and grew up in Brunswick, Maine, where she spent most of her childhood. Although the town was a liberal college town, Carson does not recall homosexuality being discussed in positive terms, which led to decades of her hiding her sexual identity. Through fear, being uncomfortable, and after swearing secrecy to herself, Carson came out after graduate school while living in Missouri where she had her first academic job. After moving to Corvallis in 1989, Carson got involved in the community. Carson teaches a history course focused on Gay and Lesbian activism in the United States. The class project in this course has students conduct oral histories with members of the LGBTQ+ community for the Oregon State University Queer Archives.

Jo Ann Casselberry. Casselberry was born on Long Island, New York in September 1954. Her family soon moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, where Casselberry spent most of her childhood. In high school, Casselberry was an advocate for girls’ rights to wear pants to school. She graduated high school in 1972, and began her college years at Wilmington College in Ohio, before dropping out and returning to Oregon in 1974. Once in Oregon, Casselberry worked for a while until deciding to return to school, this time attending Oregon State University, where she studied Interdisciplinary Studies and Political Sociology. Notably, Casselberry was very involved in the SAW (Society for the Advancement of Women) at OSU, and was one of the first two students to earn a minor in Women’s Studies. After graduating in 1979, Casselberry began volunteering through Linn-Benton Association for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and eventually took a job at the Rape Crisis Center, two organizations which soon merged to become what is today the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV). Casselberry began working at Oregon State University in the early 1980s and has remained there since, totaling more than 30 years spent at OSU. She now works in one of the business centers as the Grants/Contracts Technician. Casselberry has long been active in fighting for gay and lesbian rights, and was co-founder and treasurer of After 8, an advocacy and education group. The group was founded in Benton County in response to the passing of Measure 8 in 1988, an emotionally devastating measure for members of the gay and lesbian community. Casselberry acted in the demanding roles of treasurer and fundraising coordinator of the Political Action Committees, fighting a series of anti-gay ballot measures. Although After 8 is no longer active, the work of Jo and her co-workers has had a lasting impact on the community.

Biff Chaplow (and Trystan Reese). Biff Chaplow (they/them/theirs) and Trystan Reese (he/him/his) are a couple who have been married for about ten years. Reese is from the Elna Valley in California. He shares that they were ‘assigned female at birth.’ When he was about eighteen and living in Corvallis, he began to come into his trans identity. The first trans person he met was the artist Micah Bazant. He started transitioning around his 20s in the early 2000s. He transitioned while he was in performing arts school. For most of his life Reese was an organizer with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (now known as the National LGBTQ Task Force). He spent seven years travelling the United States working on LGBT ballot measures. He has worked on the campaign to end the death penalty in California, pro choice issues, and now does queer parenting work for a living. Chaplow was born on the east coast, but moved with their family to Bakersfield, California, when they were twelve. They were raised in a religious Evangelical household. When they turned eighteen, they moved to Los Angeles where they worked at a shelter for houseless people; they share that this experience radicalized them. They are especially interested in and feel impacted by the intersections between poverty and queerness. They share that they never had the privilege of hiding their identity in their childhood and early life.  They share that their upbringing as a young adult was a ‘gay male’ and were heavily involved in ‘gay male culture.’ About a year after they became a couple, they became parents to Chaplow’s niece and nephew. Three years ago they legally adopted them. Some time after this, they had their first baby who is now two and a half years old. Their story has been shared widely on news sources such as Washington Post, CNN and People Magazine.

Roman Cohen. Cohen was born and raised in Klamath County, OR and is a third-year undergrad double majoring in Marketing and Business Administration with an option in International Business and on a Pre-Law track. Cohen worked at the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws during the 2018-2019 academic year, and the next year worked work at ASOSU as the Director of PR & Marketing. The poems Cohen rehearsed came from personal experience and the way they have been shaped by Cohen's communities.

Derron Coles. Coles is from Baltimore, Maryland where he attended Catholic schools before enrolling in a pre-engineering high school. While in high school he was bullied for his race, sexual orientation, and for being overweight. Once he got to Oregon State University, he experienced discrimination due to being one of the few black students in the engineering department. Coles harnessed the pain from these experiences into helping create a more inclusive atmosphere on campus. SOL was created in 2002 through Cole's empathy for other students and it continues to be a university supported initiative.

Brooke Collison. Brooke Collison, now a professor emeritus of counselor education, was born in 1934 in Buffalo, Kansas. He is the youngest of three children, with one brother and one sister. Collison’s mother was a school teacher and his father was a farmer. His family attended the United Methodist Church every Sunday and practiced somewhat traditional values.  He attended a small K-8 elementary school in Buffalo before transferring across the county to Yates Center, Kansas. His high school class had 84 people, which was a large increase from the class sizes in Buffalo. He continued on to college, completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas. After graduating from college, Brooke had various teaching jobs before he decided he wanted to return to school and obtain his PhD. He went to the University of Missouri to follow his dream of being a counselor. Following his doctorate degree, Professor Collison joined the American Counseling Association and became a prominent voice for the organization. Some of Professor Collison’s most influential work occurred through the American Counseling Association, where he led the group as president for a substantial amount of time. He did much work through a specific division of the association which is called Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC). Between the United Methodist Church and the American Counseling Association, Brooke has been a champion of social justice. His church was one of the first churches to take a stance on the acceptance of the LGBTQ community. This was a channel Brooke used to pioneer many organizations and events for the LGBTQ community here in Corvallis. He moved to Oregon with his wife Joan and became a professor of counselor education at Oregon State University (OSU). At Oregon State, Brooke and his colleagues were important advocates for the LGBTQ community and created various programs to aid students who were struggling with their identity. He still lives in Corvallis but is very active, frequently travelling all over the country. Brooke Collison has been a longstanding ally for the LGBTQ community, and continues to make great strides for this community.

Martha Cone. Dr. Martha Cone, Ph.D. was a Post-Doc and teacher at Oregon State University for several years while simultaneously spending much of her free time advocating for women’s rights on campus. After earning her Ph.D. from University of Texas at Austin, Cone moved to Delaware to work at DuPont & Company. Dr. Cone then moved to California, where she met women travelling to Women’s Land in Estacada, Oregon. After a little over a year, Dr. Cone moved to Corvallis where she wrote Letters to the Editor for the Barometer and was an outspoken activist for women’s rights. Unfortunately, decades later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unable to continue work fulltime after her cancer treatment, she decided to officially retire. Currently, Dr. Cone works as a Braille translator for science textbooks while living with her partner in a floating home on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.

Tara Crockett. Crockett is a fourth-year student at Oregon State University majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies. They identify as trans and mixed race, and currently serve as a Student Leadership Liaison for the OSU Pride Center.

Julie Derrick. Julie Derrick was a member of the Portland Lesbian Avengers and helped create the Corvallis chapter of the Lesbian Avengers. Additionally, she is one of the first female queer shoe cobblers in Portland, Oregon. Derrick grew up in Twin Falls and Orofino, Idaho with her single mother and two sisters. Surrounded by forests, Julie played outside with her sisters on her grandparents’ property in rural Idaho. Derrick attended the University of Idaho in Moscow, majoring in Communications. She graduated in 1989 and stayed in Moscow, working alongside protest groups against the wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador and doing anti-racism work in Idaho. In 1992, Derrick ‘came out’ as a lesbian and quickly got involved in activism surrounding LGBTQ+ politics; one of these groups was the Lesbian Avengers in Portland, Oregon. She moved to Corvallis in 1995 with her partner at the time, DJ Travers, and got a job at Corvallis’s Montessori school while her partner went to college. During this time, things were bubbling up about LGBTQ+ politics in Corvallis and at Oregon State so Julie, Derrick, and a handful of other students and community members got together in November of 1995 and started a Corvallis chapter of the Lesbian Avengers. After a few years in Corvallis, Derrick moved back to Portland and decided to open up a shoe cobbler shop. Though she isn’t as active as she was in the 1990s, she currently does equity work around privilege and whiteness, especially alongside her son, who is black.

Harry Demarest. Demarest is a long-time Oregon Democrat who has been heavily involved in electoral politics throughout the state and at a national level. He worked closely with the National Organization for Women, and he helped to develop software that allows people to easily read and make sense of voter lists.

Merry Demarest. Merry Demarest was born on March 17, 1949 in Casper, Wyoming, where she lived until she was five years old. Following this, Demarest’s mother moved them out of state without consent from her father. The family grew to include five more children when her mother remarried, and they moved often, throughout the United States. While living in Las Vegas, the family joined the Mormon Church. When the Mormon Church began funding politicians and organizations against ratifying the ERA, Demarest began to actively organize and protest in support of the ERA, leading to her later arrest (in Seattle) and excommunication from the Mormon church. After graduating high school, Demarest attended Reed College in Portland, where she met her husband, Harry Demarest. The two continued to be politically active and involved in organizations like Emily’s List, which supports pro-choice, female, Democratic candidates for office. Demarest also served as co-President of the Oregon chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and on the national board for 5 years. Since moving to Corvallis in 1979, the Demarest’s have been active within the Benton County Democratic Party, particularly in support of the ‘No on 9’ and pro-equality movements after the 1988 Measure 8 supported by the ultra-conservative Oregon Citizens Alliance. Demarest currently lives in Corvallis with her husband Harry, with plans to remain active in the local Democratic community. The two have one daughter, Joan, and two grandsons. Merry Demarest has inspired countless individuals through her encounters as an activist,  and her role in Basic Rights Oregon and many other organizations. She and her husband were recognized with an award from Human Rights Campaign Fund for their efforts.

Qwo-Li Driskill. Dr. Driskill is a Cherokee poet, scholar, and activist raised in rural Colorado. Driskill earned a BA from the University of Northern Colorado, an MA from Antioch University Seattle, and a PhD from Michigan State University. Driskill has taught at Antioch University Seattle, Texas A&M University, and Oregon State University, and currently serves as Director of Graduate Studies in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) at Oregon State University.

Brandi Douglas. Douglas is currently the Assistant Director of Outreach in the Office of Institutional Diversity. Their drag name is Petty Washington, and they are a member of the Haus of Petty. Their drag performances frequently raise money for causes important to them.

Dan Dowhower. Dan Dowhower grew up in the Midwest in Racine, Wisconsin. He was one of four children and had a stay-at-home mother while his father worked in a factory. Dowhower attended parochial school from kindergarten through eighth grade and then transitioned into public school where he defined himself as a “recovering Catholic.” After high school, he attended college in Wisconsin where he met his life partner at the age of 19. They then went to graduate school together, where Dowhower earned a PhD and an MPH. After graduate school, they moved to Ohio, where they eventually decided to adopt children together; however, at the time, Ohio did not recognize same sex marriages, which limited the number of agencies that would work with them. Eventually, the Jewish Community Federation helped them in the adoption process; however, because Ohio only defined marriage as between a man and a woman, Dowhower’s partner was forced to initially adopt their children as a single parent. Because of this, Dowhower and his family decided to move to Oregon in search of a more welcoming environment. There they found better job opportunities and less restrictive laws that allowed Dowhower to officially adopt his children. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state prohibitions of gay marriage in 2014, Dowhower and his partner married. In his early career, Dowhower was employed in organizational training and selection system development before realizing that it was not the career path for him. He then worked in the admissions department at Oregon State University before becoming a full time instructor. Dowhower is now a professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, as well as Human Development and Family Sciences, and he resides in Corvallis, Oregon, with his partner of over 30 years.

Malik Ensley. Ensley is a fourth-year student at Oregon State University studying human development and family sciences. In addition, Malik serves as president of Omega Delta Phi fraternity at OSU and has collaborated on projects with a number of on-campus organizations, including the Lonnie B. Harris Black Culture Center, the Pride Center, and the Oregon State Queer Archives (OSQA).

Bryant Everett. Everett is an Oregon native from the rural town, Philomath. Throughout her life, she has navigated gender expression and identity on her road to recognizing herself as a transgender individual. Having overcome geographic isolation, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and strained relationships with her mother, she is now an activist who believes in the power of representation. Everett transitioned while in a national management position; at the time of her interivew, she had returned to college to pursue a double major degree in Biochemistry and Pre-Med Science.

Robin Frojen. Valerie “Robin” Frojen was born on October 14, 1966 in Los Angeles, CA. Two months later she was adopted by Colleen Baker Frojen and Robert Charles Frojen. She has two brothers named Jon Collin Frojen and Antonio Ezkauritza. She attended a Catholic all-girls middle and high school, where she found respite from bullying experienced in elementary school. Frojen pursued higher education in Syracuse, New York from 1984-1988. Yearning for a new path in life, Robin moved to Scottsdale, Arizona to enroll in culinary school. In 1990, she completed culinary school which opened several doors for her in the culinary world. Frojen and her first wife had a son together in 2000, Colin Lee Frojen-Andersson. She subsequently remarried, to her current wife Searainya “Sea” Bond-Frojen.

Sara Gelser. Senator Sara Gelser was born in Las Vegas, Nevada as Sara Ann Acres on December 20th, 1973. Gelser is the eldest of four, with three younger brothers. In middle school, she established a group called Teens for the Prevention of AIDS in collaboration with friends from the LGBTQ+ community. When Gelser’s family moved from Nevada to Oregon, rather than finishing high school, she decided to apply to college early, at the suggestion of her mother. At sixteen years of age, she was accepted to and began her studies at Earlham College in Indiana. Gelser chose Earlham, a Quaker school, because of its inclusivity towards the LGBTQ+ community, and its commitment to social justice issues. Gelser participated in student government, studying history and education with the intention of becoming a teacher. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History in 1994. That same year, Gelser moved to Corvallis, Oregon with her husband Peter, whom she met and married in college. After starting a family, Gelser returned to school, earning a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Oregon State University in 1999. Gelser worked on the Corvallis school board from 2001 to 2005, and was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2005, following the resignation of a Democratic incumbent. After being re-elected for four terms, Gelser was elected to the Oregon Senate in 2015, where she continues to serve. In this position, Gelser has supported bills that include nondiscriminatory outlines for business and insurance companies, stricter punishments for child abusers, standards for modified diplomas toward financial aid, medically accurate sex education, and resource-building for LGBTQ+ veterans.

Stina Goetter. At the time of the interview, Stina Goetter was a fourth year undergraduate student at Oregon State University studying math. In addition to her studies, Goetter also worked as a leadership liaison for the Pride Center, and was involved with the center and with Rainbow Continuum since her freshman year. Goetter is a self-identified lesbian, a genderfuck/genderfluid/genderqueer individual, and a self-described nerd and accidental activist.

Ish Guevara. At the time of the interview, Ish Guevara was a third year undergraduate student at Oregon State University studying Apparel Design and Management. Before coming to OSU, Guevara started the LGBTQ club at his community college. When he transferred to Oregon State, Guevara was offered a position at the Centro Cultural César Chávez, and later with SOL, the LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network, where he worked for two years.

Tiramisu Hall. Hall is a mixed-race Two-Spirit artist of Tsalagi, Sicilian, and Irish ascent. She is a parent of three and second-year graduate student in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Master’s program, and Queer Studies minor. Her art focuses on storytelling through a number of mediums, including: writing, inked line-art, woodcarving, painting, and (rarely) poetry.

PJ Harris: At the time of the interview, under the performance name King Julian G-String, PJ has been doing drag since 2014 and was OSU Beaver Royalty in 2015. PJ is also a Student Success Peer Facilitator at the OSU Pride Center.

John Helding. John Helding was born February 11, 1958 in Portland, OR, and grew up in Gresham, OR on the east side of Portland with his family, including his parents and two older sisters. Both of his parents were born and raised in Montana. His father worked in the timber industry; his mother was a stay-at-home mom during Helding’s early years but then received her elementary teaching degree and taught elementary school in the Gresham school district for 15 years. Helding lived in Gresham until he graduated from high school in 1976. He attended Oregon State University from 1976-1981 and graduated with a degree in industrial engineering. During his time at OSU he sang with the OSU choir all five years, was a resident assistant his junior year, and was an ASOSU senator during his fifth year. After graduating, he moved to Beaverton, OR to work for the company Tektronix for three years as an industrial engineer (1981-1984) – during this time he decided he no longer wished to be an engineer. He then attended Stanford Business School from 1984-1986. After graduating from Stanford, Helding began working for the firm Booz Allen Hamilton and worked for them until the year 2000. He worked as an Associate/Sr. Associate (1986-1990); Western Region Administrative Director (1990-1993); Group Director of Operations, Marketing Intensive Practice (1994-1996); and Senior Director of Global Recruitment (1997-2000). Helding’s other positions have included Chair/Member, Client Security Fund Commission, State Bar of California (1998-2002); Member, Founding Board, San Francisco Friends School (2001-2005); Senior Advisor, Great Place to Work Institute (2003-2006); Member, Board, American Friends Service Committee (2005-2012); Chairperson/Clerk, Board Audit Committee, American Friends Service Committee (2005-2012). As of 2016, Helding’s positions include Chairperson/Clerk, Board, Quaker Voluntary Service (since November 2011); Chairperson, Lopez Island School Board, Lopez Island School District (since 2009); Facilitator, Interpersonal Dynamics Program, Stanford Graduate School of Business (since January 2001); Member, Board of Directors, Marts & Lundy, Inc. (since 2013); Advisor, Helding and Associates (since 2008). After living in San Fransisco for a time, in 2005 he reconnected with an OSU choir alum, a widow with two teenagers, and he moved to live with his new family on Lopez Island, WA; they have been living there since 2006.

Trina Leah Hogg. Born in Ontario, Canada in 1980, Hogg's life was shaped by the arts at an early age and she went to an arts-specific high school. It is here where Hogg began to discover herself through the arts and foster relationships with her fellow students. After completing her high school education Hogg enrolled in the prestigious Trinity College at the University of Toronto, where she majored in History. As Hogg says herself, this was her first exposure to the vibrant LGBTQ+ community, which Toronto has, something which Hogg had yet to be exposed to before entering higher academia. After completing her degree at Trinity College, Trina went on to complete a master's degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her master's thesis was titled: Altered Communities: Marriage, Respectability, and Gender in Early Freetown, Sierra Leone 1792-1830. It was easy to see at an early stage in her academic career just how inspired she was by studying African history, the subject she would choose to make her mark in as a Ph.D. student at New York University starting in 2006.  It was at NYU where Trina produced the thesis 'Our Country Customs': Legality, Diplomacy, and Violence on the Sierra Leone Frontier, 1861-1896. Once again, Dr. Hogg had produced a detailed historiography of Sierra Leone, something aided by the nearly one year combined which she has spent living in Africa over her life. Upon completion of her Ph.D. Dr. Hogg entered teaching at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois. Columbia College is a small arts college with an enrollment of about 7,000 students. Teaching classes ranging from African History and Culture Since 1880 to Roots: Genealogy and Migration in America, it is at Columbia College where Dr. Hogg began to truly formulate a teaching style of her own. In 2016, Dr. Hogg made the leap from Chicago to Corvallis and settled in at Oregon State University as a professor of History focusing on African Studies. Classes such as Christianity in Africa have made Dr. Hogg a favorite in the History department due to the distinct subject matter of her classes and the ability to research areas of history often unexamined by the normal student.

Leah Houtman. Leah Houtman was born on November 13th, 1983 outside Philadelphia, PA. Houtman is one of four sisters, and is the second-born child. Houtman’s mother was also born in Pennsylvania, but her father had grown up in Wisconsin. Houtman moved many times with her family throughout her youth due to her parents’ ever-changing employment, financial, and relationship circumstances—first from Philadelphia to Wisconsin, then to a rural town in Indiana where she and her sisters were homeschooled. When Houtman was eleven years old, her parents divorced and her mother came out as a lesbian. Following this, Houtman moved with her mother and sisters to Lafayette, Indiana where she attended public schools. Houtman relocated with her family at least twice more within Indiana after this, living in Indianapolis for a short time, and then moving to another rural town where one of her mother’s girlfriends was living. Leah herself came out as bisexual and then lesbian at the age of fourteen, and encouraged and supported her fellow students to come out regardless of the fact that they lived in a rural conservative area. After successfully completing high school, Houtman attended Earlham college, a private school in Indiana, for two years before taking a break and ultimately leaving Earlham indefinitely. However, Houtman met her future wife at Earlham, and the two moved to Oregon shortly after, wanting to get out of Indiana and inspired by Houtman’s girlfriend’s parents who were moving from Maine to Oregon at the same time. After relocating to the west coast, Houtman began attending Oregon State University (OSU), and additionally trained as a caregiver, herbalist, and doula. She graduated summa cum laude from OSU, and went on to earn a master’s degree in women, gender, and sexuality studies. At the time of the interview, Houtman was working towards her PhD in anthropology at OSU. She and her partner had three separate wedding ceremonies with varying degrees of legality, as she puts it. Their first baby was carried by Leah’s wife and was born in 2014; the second was carried by Leah and was born in 2016. Leah hopes to become a tenure track professor after receiving a PhD in applied anthropology, with a specialized interest medical anthropology and maternity issues. She also plans to train as a midwife.

Jeff Kenny. At the time of the interview, Jeff Kenney was the Associate Director of Diversity and Cultural Engagement at Oregon State University. Originally from Nebraska, Kenney moved to Corvallis from South Carolina to serve as Coordinator of LGBTQ+ Outreach and Services. With an emphasis on queer issues, interracial dialogue, diversity education, and antiracism, Kenney was instrumental to outreach efforts at his previous position at Clemson University, South Carolina.

Cindy Konrad. Konrad is a director for the Pride Center at Oregon State University. Konrad grew up in Wisconsin and went to school at the Northern Michigan University where she got her Bachelor of Arts in English and education, but she also got her Master of Arts in literature from Purdue University. Konrad moved to Oregon three and a half years ago for family reasons and wanted a change for her life. Being involved within the LGBTQ+ community Konrad is able to explain differences that she has seen between the Midwest and the west coast. Not only is Konrad a director at the Pride Center but she is also an advisor to SOL:LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network. During the interview Konrad mentions how there are still obstacles to overcome here on campus. She discusses an example of how some buildings still do not include gender inclusive bathrooms and she is on the pushing to overcome this and make for a better tomorrow. With a changing world, Konrad is a prime example of a leader pushing for a more diverse community and create positive change at Oregon State University.

Kim Kraemer. Kraemer grew up in a time when transgender identity was not openly discussed and society was not accepting to people who were outside the constructed gender norms. While a student at Oregon State University in the 1970's, she was exposed to the feminist movement, which helped her to express her non-gender conforming acts more freely. She later married OSU alum, Thomas Kraemer, an out gay man who accepted her non-femme identity. Despite experiencing discrimination in her education, workspaces, and from family, Kraemer is optimistic about the future for the LGBTQ+ community in the United States.

Tamara Lash. Lash is an M.A. student at Oregon State University who completed her undergrad at OSU as well. During her involvement with the Women & Gender Center, she was introduced to the SOL initiative on campus. As a person with multiple marginalized identities, she advocates for more resources on campus that are not solely student led because this can result in emotional burn out for the students.

Miss Dharma Prada MacPherson (Dharma Mirza). Mother of the Haus of Dharma and the recipient of numerous awards for her many years of drag performance, Miss Dharma is a self-identified legend within the drag community of Oregon and beyond and a member of “Queens of the Valley,” a group three well-known drag queens from Corvallis and the surrounding areas.

Marlene Massey. Massey is a historical figure in Oregon who has been involved in both LGBTQ activism and disability justice activism. She was a member of the political advocacy group After 8 and has worked on behalf of both LGBTQ and disabled peoples for many years.

Jill McAllister. Jill McAllister was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1958, and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. McAllister’s family was active in the Methodist church during her youth, which ultimately impacted her own spiritual journey. McAllister attended high school at Kirkwood High School, in the suburbs of St. Louis. After completing her secondary education, McAllister pursued a bachelor of science degree from Duke University, a master of arts degree from Washington University, and a master of theological studies from Mt. Angel Seminary. She married at 22 and moved to Corvallis in 1981. McAllister went to seminary while living in Corvallis and left in 1998 to act as pastor of a church in Michigan. From 1998 until 2013, she was the minister at the People’s Church of Kalamazoo in Michigan state. Her ministry there, according to her congregants, was transformational in many aspects of church life, including Sunday worship, community building, stewardship, and social justice. McAllister was also a key figure in the creation of ISAAC (Interfaith Strategy for Action and Advocacy in the Community), an interfaith group in Kalamazoo and an affiliate of the Gamaliel Network of grassroots, interfaith, interracial, multi-issue organizations working together to create a more just and more democratic society. In September 2013, McAllister was called back to Corvallis to pastor the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship. McAllister believes that in telling each other the stories of our lives, we can begin to understand our obligations to one another. The Reverend McAllister is now a minister in the UU Fellowship of Corvallis, and has received several honors for her ministerial work. She helped found and continues to work with the International Council of Unitarian Universalists (ICUU), earning their Founder’s Vision Award in 2011. With the People’s Church in Kalamazoo, McAllister received the UUA Bennett Award for Congregational Action on Social Justice in 2012. She previously served on the board of trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Association, has been a member of the National Clergy Advisory Board for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and has held many other leadership roles.

Brenda McComb. Brenda McComb was born November 8, 1952 in a small town near Hartford, Connecticut. She comes from a rural, blue-collar family who were very vocal about their conservative views throughout McComb’s youth. This made things difficult for Brenda who, from a young age, did not identify with her gender assignment. However, due to her parents' conservative views, and the general intolerance of the times, McComb kept all feelings related to her identity struggle to herself. After high school, McComb went to college at the University of Connecticut, earning a bachelor's and a master’s degree in natural resource conservation. It was also at the University of Connecticut that McComb first heard the term transgender, though she did not relate to the concept at that time. Afterwards, McComb pursued a PhD at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where she met her wife. McComb continued attempts to conform to her assigned gender identity throughout this time, moving to Kentucky with her wife to teach in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Forestry, and even starting a family. However, she faced many years of depression, and after years of therapy, finally built up the trust with a therapist to break more than forty years of silence about her gender identity. While her therapist at the time was not an expert with that subject, the therapist referred McComb to someone who was. By this time, McComb and her wife had already divorced, and her oldest son was a senior in high school. At 49 years old, McComb took her first dose of hormones to begin her transition.  At this time, McComb was working at the University of Massachusetts as a dean, following a 10-year stint at Oregon State University. However, after 13 years of work at the University of Massachusetts, McComb returned to OSU, and has remained in Oregon since. She has come to terms with her identity and is happier now than ever, blessed with an understanding family with whom she still maintains a close relationship despite the divorce.

Lia/Ezra Myers. A 19-year-old student at Oregon State University, Ezra is originally from Pennsylvania but moved to Corvallis to pursure a BS in Psychology. Their hope is to eventually work in an area that provides support for mentally ill queer individuals. They identify as panromantic demisexual and genderfluid.

Kobe Natachu Taylor. Natachu Taylor is an indigenous, two-spirit, queer student majoring in nutrition and a minor in queer studies at Oregon State University. Natachu Taylor hopes to take what he has learned at OSU back to their home community after graduation. As an OSU student, Natachu Taylor engages in social justice activism with the QTIPOC support network in SOL.

Karuna Neustadt. Karuna Neustadt was born in 1952 in the town of Brockton, Massachusetts. Brockton is a suburb of Boston, located about 30 miles outside of the city. Neustadt’s mother was an elementary school teacher, who was born in Germany, and her father was a personnel manager from Boston. Neustadt grew up in an idyllic suburban neighborhood. She had one brother and enjoyed a very close relationship with him. Neustadt graduated from high school in 1970 and decided to pursue a university education. Neustadt enrolled at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa in 1970. After two years of study, she left Grinnell College and returned to Massachusetts. Back on the East Coast, she obtained a position as a teaching assistant and stayed in Boston for the next year. In 1973, Neustadt felt ready to return to college and enrolled at the University of Michigan. After about a year, she withdrew from the university and returned home to Massachusetts once again. In 1978, Neustadt realized she wanted to obtain an advanced degree in Counseling Psychology, so she enrolled at the University of Oregon. She quickly finished her bachelor’s degree and in 1981, Neustadt obtained her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. During her academic career at University of Oregon, Neustadt enjoyed several jobs including one with the local school district and another at a local nursing home. After graduation, Neustadt returned to the East Coast to support her domestic partner, who was completing her studies at the Divinity School at Yale. Upon graduation in 1983, Neustadt’s partner was transferred to a position at Oregon State University, and Neustadt accompanied her. After returning to Corvallis, Neustadt accepted a position as a social worker at a nursing home, and later obtained a permanent position at the Area Agency on Aging in Corvallis. Neustadt remained with the agency for the next twenty-two years. In Corvallis, Neustadt became very politically active. In 1988, the Oregon Citizens’ Alliance (OCA) sponsored Ballot Measure 8, which repealed an executive order from Governor Neil Goldschmidt that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 1989, Neustadt co-founded After 8, an advocacy group focused on ending discrimination against all people, but with a particular focus on the LGBTQ community. After 8 was involved in campaign and election support, voter education and legislative lobbying. After 8 remained active until 2003. During this time, Neustadt helped to defeat several different ballot measures while promoting community education. Neustadt was instrumental in furthering the integration of the LGBT community in Corvallis. After fourteen years of activism, Neustadt passed the torch and retired to enjoy life in Eugene, Oregon, where she now resides.

Maggie O’Rourke-Liggett. Raised in Southern California, O’Rourke-Liggett is a 21-year-old student at Oregon State University who now considers Corvallis and the residence halls her home. She started getting involved with queer issues through her high school GSA and now works in UHDS as a Resident Assistant in Wilson Hall. O’Rourke-Liggett identifies as asexual demipanromantic and trans/nonbinary. She is working on a bachelor's degree in oceanography and hopes to study orcas in the future.

Brian Parks. Brian Parks spent most of his childhood in Dallas, Texas; he was born in 1975 in South Dakota on an Air Force base. Although Texas was where he grew up, Parks considers Oregon his true home. As early as the second grade, Parks knew that he was gay. Despite being a gay man growing up during the AIDS epidemic, Parks does not remember any direct discrimination against him. In his youth, as well as into his adulthood, he thinks that his being able to pass as straight allowed him to have an easier time growing up. After graduating from high school, Parks started attending OSU in the mid-1990s. By the end of his freshman year, Parks had come to terms with his sexuality, coming out as gay to all of the people in his life. After coming out, Parks decided to join the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Alliance on campus. At the first meeting he ever attended he became the male co-director of the group. During this time, two of his friends started a chapter of the Lesbian Avengers in Corvallis. In his college years, Parks never considered himself an actual member of the Lesbian Avengers, as he felt it wasn't a space for him to intrude upon. Later on, he would consider himself an honorary member and is proud to be associated with them. The workload of being an activist and a student at the same time left Parks feeling burned out. He ended up taking a break from school for a term before coming back to attend culinary school at the Linn-Benton Community College. Today, Parks lives in Corvallis with his husband, where he owns his own restaurant and a small farm.

Ceph Poklemba. A born and grown Oregonian, Poklemba is 21 years old and identifies as grey-asexual, agender, and demihomoromantic. They started working with queer issues at 17, and continually strive to improve their own allyship under an intersectional lens. They are aiming to complete a master’s degree in fine arts, and eventually teach art at the collegiate level.

Guillermo Rebolledo. At the time of the interview, Guillermo Rebolledo was a fourth-year undergraduate student in Sociology, with an option in Crime and Justice at Oregon State University. As a gay and Mexican student, Rebolledo previously worked as the internal coordinator for SOL, the multicultural support network for the LGBTQ+ community at OSU. In addition, Rebolledo was a member of a Greek multicultural fraternity at the university.

Trystan Reese (and Biff Chaplow). Biff Chaplow (they/them/theirs) and Trystan Reese (he/him/his) are a couple who have been married for about ten years. Reese is from the Elna Valley in California. He shares that they were ‘assigned female at birth.’ When he was about eighteen and living in Corvallis, he began to come into his trans identity. The first trans person he met was the artist Micah Bazant. He started transitioning around his 20s in the early 2000s. He transitioned while he was in performing arts school. For most of his life Reese was an organizer with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (now known as the National LGBTQ Task Force). He spent seven years travelling the United States working on LGBT ballot measures. He has worked on the campaign to end the death penalty in California, pro choice issues, and now does queer parenting work for a living. Chaplow was born on the east coast, but moved with their family to Bakersfield, California, when they were twelve. They were raised in a religious Evangelical household. When they turned eighteen, they moved to Los Angeles where they worked at a shelter for houseless people; they share that this experience radicalized them. They are especially interested in and feel impacted by the intersections between poverty and queerness. They share that they never had the privilege of hiding their identity in their childhood and early life.  They share that their upbringing as a young adult was a ‘gay male’ and were heavily involved in ‘gay male culture.’ About a year after they became a couple, they became parents to Chaplow’s niece and nephew. Three years ago they legally adopted them. Some time after this, they had their first baby who is now two and a half years old. Their story has been shared widely on news sources such as Washington Post, CNN and People Magazine.

Mary Renneke. Mary Renneke was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1956. When Renneke was two, her parents divorced and she moved to San Jose with her mother, sister, and twin brother. She discovered her identity as a lesbian in high school in the early 1970s, supported by the covertly gay-friendly environment of women’s softball that emerged during that era. Since childhood, Renneke has divided much of her life between Oregon and California, attempting to balance her love of sports with work and the pursuit of education. After working as a bus driver and trainer for many years, and earning her bachelor’s degree through OSU’s online education program later in life, Renneke now resides in Albany and works in Corvallis.

Lorena Reynolds. Lorena Reynolds was born in Rochester, MN. Because her parents were born in Canada, they returned to the country shortly after her birth, and Reynolds spent the first 10 years of her life in Vancouver B.C, Canada. Following this period, the family moved to Southern California where Reynolds completed high school. After graduating, Reynolds attended Lafayette College in Pennsylvania for a year and a half, then later transferred to the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she completed her undergraduate degree. Reynolds went on to pursue a law degree at the UCLA School of Law, which she obtained in 1997. After a brief stint in L.A., Reynolds moved to Corvallis, OR and established her own private practice in 2004, where she currently practices family law.

Larry Roper. Roper is a professor of Language, Culture, and Society at Oregon State University. From 1995-2014 he served as the Vice Provost of Student Affairs at OSU. As a Vice Provost he helped provide the initial funding for the creation of SOL. Roper describes his primary role in student affairs as helping to create campus environments that respond to the needs of the student population. He states that SOL is a respectful and inclusive part of OSU.

Susan Shaw. Shaw was born and raised in the Deep South town of Rome, GA. She was raised as a Southern Baptist that was not accepting of the women’s movement, feminism, or homosexuality. Despite the preaching of intolerance for different communities in her church, Shaw believes that the Bible is about love and tolerance, which inspired her to attend seminary school at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. While in seminary school, Shaw found her voice to challenge sexist ideology and became a feminist. As Shaw came to terms with her sexuality, it was many years before she could be out with it due to fear of losing her teaching jobs at conservative universities. Once she became a professor at Oregon State University, she finally found a place where she did not feel the need to hide her sexual identity and was able to incorporate theology in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies courses.

Tristen Shay. Shay is the Associate Director of Student Services for the College of Liberal Arts, a Student Diversity Liaison, and an advisor at Oregon State University. Shay holds bachelors degrees in art history and gender studies from Whitman College, and a graduate degree in College Student Services Administration (CSSA) from OSU.

Mitch Smith-Long. Smith-Long is 18 years old and identifies as demiheteroromantic. Having become interested in politics as a whole and queer issues specifically in his preteen years, Mitch has gained a bit of an autistic special interest in the subject. Smith-Long intends to be a civil rights lawyer and perhaps an elected official in the future in order to promote social and economic justice. He’s also a writer, though has yet to publish.

Robyn Leigh Tanguay. Robyn Leigh Tanguay was born in the town of Menominee, Michigan, in 1966, and was assigned the male gender at birth. She grew up with five brothers and sisters, and in her small town, she was known as Robert. Her family moved to California and there she learned about the LGBTQ+ community. During high school and college, Tanguay studied science, which gained her academic recognition, and she attended California State University-San Bernardino and the University of California-Riverside. Tanguay is a distinguished scientist at Oregon State University. Tanguay is married to her wife Sherry, and she has received much support after coming out in December of 2019.

DJ Travers. In 1990, DJ Travers arrived at Oregon State University, as a student of Forestry. He graduated from high school as a woman, but by that time, he already felt he didn't quite fit the mold of a woman. At the time, he identified as a very masculine 'dyke', the commonly accepted term for lesbian, and became a leader in queer activism on campus and in the community. Travers viewed being openly queer as a form of activism in and of itself, and was very intentional about being as openly lesbian as possible. After the firebombing deaths of Oregonians Hattie Mae Cohens, an African American lesbian, anda Brian Mock, a disabled gay man, the Lesbian Avengers sprang into existence in New York. Until the news reached Corvallis from New York, Travers was unaware of this event, but he and some friends took it upon themselves to found the Corvallis Lesbian Avengers, of which Travers still considers himself to be a founding mother. The Lesbian Avengers actively sought to be visible, a metaphorical spit in the face of those who didn't believe Queer people should be proudly out and visible. Travers himself was, the entire time, a visibly masculine lesbian, and he made active strides in fighting for the sake of all queer people, not simply cisgender lesbians. After he came out as trans, he felt somewhat distanced from the Avengers, but he still proudly owns his role as Founding Mother. He has since opened a workshop in Portland for trans masculine people, and continues to be an advocate for the rights of everyone in the queer community.

Rylan Wall. At the time of the interview, Rylan Wall was a graduate student in the College Student Services Administration (CSSA) program at Oregon State, and a GTA at the Center for Civic Engagement on campus. In his sixth year at OSU, Wall began his involvement with the Pride Center. In his freshman year, he was the Social Director of Rainbow Continuum, a student-fee funded organization at the university. Wall was elected to the position of Co-Director of that same organization in his sophomore year, and then worked as the Internal Coordinator for the Pride Center as a junior—a position he held for two years. After returning from a study abroad program in Sweden, Wall worked full-time for Intercultural Student Services at OSU, collaborating on a project to assess experiences of queer international students on campus.

Katie Wicks. At the time of the interview, Katie Wicks was a recent graduate of Oregon State University’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and was working as a PROMISE intern at the school. Wicks was involved with the Pride Center since freshman year in a number of positions, including co-director of Rainbow Continuum, and office assistant at the center. Wicks has been involved in research efforts to foster greater inclusion for transgender-identified folks on OSU’s campus.

Ray Wolf. Ray Wolf was born in Madrid, Spain in 2001 and assigned the female sex. His childhood was fairly religious, so when he began to have thoughts about liking girls, he was promptly told to pray more to get rid of what were deemed sinful thoughts. Eventually, he began to realize that beyond these thoughts, he was born the wrong gender. His family did not accept this, and he had varied reactions from friends when coming out to them. Some would not acknowledge his identity, continuing to call him by a name with which he did not identify and using she/her pronouns. Others did not feel comfortable being his friend any more. Still, a few others began to call him Ray and use he/him pronouns. He came to the U.S. in 2017, where he found a vastly different response to the LGBTQ+ community. Feeling this acceptance made it easier to be himself, and he started transitioning. When his family began to see that there was a community that accepted him, and that he would have a future somewhere, they finally began to accept his identity as well. He recounts that the community in the U.S. is not only much more accepting but more expansive in its understanding of gender and orientation. He even remembers in Spain how younger gay kids would come to him for advice because they had no other resource, which he finds disheartening. He hopes that Spain will eventually become a place where the pride flag is seen more than just in Pride parades.

Vanessa Vanderzee. Born in Hoffman Estates, IL, Vanderzee grew up in the Chicago suburbs with her parents and younger sister. After graduating from Schaumburg High school, Vanderzee went on to earn her bachelor's degree from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. Following two years of work for her mom’s small business, Vanderzee returned to school to pursue a master's degree in women, gender, and sexuality studies at Oregon State University. Vanderzee’s thesis research centers on asexuality, and uses social media and critical discourse analysis to explore asexual-identifying individuals' experiences accessing health care services. In addition, she has served as a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) for the WGSS department, primarily instructing WGSS 223: Women, Self and Society.

Raven Waldron. Waldron was born in 1995 and grew up in Silver Lake, Oregon with her two younger brothers, Wyatt and Levi. In 2018, she graduated from Oregon State University with an Honors Bachelors of Science in BioResource Research with an option in Toxicology and minors in Social Justice and Chemistry.  She has always been very involved in advocacy work at OSU and is proud to be a queer Navajo woman and activist. At the time of this recording, Raven is pursuing a doctorate of pharmacy here at OSU, and hopes to work in indigenous healthcare in the future.

Lee Wilcox. Born and raised in the Silicon Valley in California, Wilcox is 21 years old and identifies as agender, panromantic, and asexual, as well as queer. They are working on a degree in child development and want to be a preschool teacher. Using their education, Wilcox wants to bring LGBTQ+ awareness to younger ages in ways that they can understand.

Luhui Whitebear. Whitebear is a member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation and multiple-degree OSU alum (ES, ANTH, WGSS, QS). Her hometown is Coastal Chumash territory in what is now called Santa Barbara, CA although she has called Oregon home for many years. Luhui is a mother, poet, and activist that is passionate about disrupting systems of oppression.

Julie Williams. Williams was born in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1962 to a Catholic family. Her father was the director of the laboratory at Good Salem Hospital and her mother was an insurance biller and nurse at the same hospital. Williams is the youngest of six children, and has been an athlete throughout her life. Born and raised in Corvallis, she attended the local elementary school and continued on to Corvallis High School, attending from 1976 to 1980. After graduating high school, Williams matriculated at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana (1980-1981) on a volleyball scholarship, but later returned to Corvallis to attend and play volleyball for Oregon State University (1981-1983). Although she received her bachelor’s degree in Pre-Therapy, Williams realized she wanted to be a teacher two weeks before she left for therapy school. For this reason, she decided to return to school to pursue her master’s degree in Education. In 1987, Williams became a teacher at Corvallis High School, serving first as the school’s volleyball coach, and later as a Physical Education and health teacher. As an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights in education, Williams traveled around the Corvallis School District ensuring LGBTQ+ rights and policies were enforced and that such students could feel safe at school. In 1996, she became the advisor for the Gay Straight Alliance club (GSA) at Corvallis High School, the first club of its kind in Oregon. In 1999 Williams became the last recipient of the Harvey Milk Award, presented by the After 8 organization. Williams has recently taken up activism for sustainability and climate change, and now teaches Sustainability and Climate Change classes at Corvallis High School.

Minerva Zayas. Zayas was born in Riverside, CA but spent most of her life in Eastern Washington with her mother and brothers. From a young age, Zayas worked multiple jobs to help her mom since she is the oldest child. Growing up in a Catholic home did not provide much space to explore or discuss her sexual identity until she left the house to attend college at Eastern Washington University. As an undergraduate, she double majored in Psychology and Women & Gender Studies. At Oregon State University, she is a graduate student in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with research focused on queer Latinx women in activism. Zayas also helped establish the Women of Color Caucus at OSU to create community at the predominately white campus.

Vickie Zeller. Zeller is a fourth-year student at Oregon State University studying fisheries and wildlife. Zeller has been involved with Rainbow Continuum, a student-run club that seeks to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ students, from freshman year, acting as a member, co-director, and now advisor for the organization. In addition, Zeller has collaborated with the Pride Center to plan Pride Week and other events, and has co-hosted the annual OSU drag show.

Administrative Information

Accruals: Additions to the collection are expected.

More Extent Information: 57 sets of video files; 3 audio files

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: Interview files were donated to the OSU Queer Archives by the interviewers beginning in 2015.

Related Materials: This collection is a part of the OSU Queer Archives (OSQA). Other collections related to LGBTQ+ history include the Pride Center Records (RG 236), the Thomas Kraemer Papers, and the OSU Queer Archives Oral History Collection.

Preferred Citation: OSU Queer Archives Oral History Collection (OH 34), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Creators

McConnell, Kiah

People, Places, and Topics

Bisexual college students--Oregon--Corvallis.
College environment--Oregon--Corvallis.
Gay college students--Oregon--Corvallis.
Lesbian college students--Oregon--Corvallis.
Oregon State University. Pride Center

Forms of Material

Born digital.
Oral histories (literary works)


Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Interviews, 2015
Series one consists of eight oral history interviews, a documentary film, and a panel presentation on the LGBTQ+ history of Corvallis, Oregon.
Item 1: Rylan Wall, 2015
(1:01:28) Rylan Wall begins this one-hour interview by discussing his time serving as co-director for Rainbow Continuum, delving into the issues the organization faced that year with a lack of gender diversity in the leadership and the non-inclusive decision-making that can stem from that situation. Wall talks about the different leadership positions available within Rainbow Continuum at that time, noting that there was a higher than normal rate of student engagement within the organization that year. In addition, Wall briefly discusses his mentor at the Pride Center and the important impact mentorship can have—a topic he returns to later in the interview. Wall details what a typical Rainbow Continuum meeting entailed while he was working there, including a facilitated introduction, and establishing a “safe” or brave space. Wall explains that what would follow was sometimes discussion questions centered on community issues or larger LGBTQ+ issues, and often an activity or game, led by the social director. Wall describes his experience with planning OSU’s Pride Week, including general highlights, again noting that the number of people involved and the number of programs put on was record-breaking that year. Following this, Wall briefly discusses how Rainbow Continuum came to be designated as a voluntary student organization, and the ways that this designation ensured a standard of student autonomy. Wall notes that in his experience, OSU’s administration, faculty, and staff have been supportive of student voices on campus, and seem to always be looking for student input. This conversation brings him back to the importance of mentorship, support, and role models—specifically highlighting the work Jeff Kenney did to improve the Pride Center as Director of Outreach, and how he helped them restructure the center to better fit the expectations of a cultural center. Wall ends by speaking on the importance of having a Pride Center on campus, and how the visibility and resources it provides impacted him in his early days at Oregon State. Interviewer: Kiah McConnell. Interview video and index available online.
Item 2: Stina Goetter, 2015
(0:34:51) In the interview, Goetter begins by briefly describing her high school experience, and the lack of a queer community in that space. Because of this, she explains that she was committed to creating that space when she came to Oregon State, but was pleasantly surprised to find that a queer community was already firmly established at the school. Goetter details how Rainbow Continuum was beneficial to her, particularly in her early days at OSU, and how she fell into activist work. Goetter talks about the kind of work she did as web director for the Pride Center, and later as a co-director of Rainbow Continuum. After describing her early involvement at Oregon State, Goetter primarily focuses on the OSU drag show, its history, and its impact. She pinpoints the ways in which the show has created community, and created a space for playfulness and performativity. Goetter emphasizes drag as activist work that is both empowering and political. In the second half of this interview, Goetter describes a Corvallis Gazette article that ultimately prompted changes within the OSU drag show, thanks to input from Dr. Brenda McComb. Because of this, Goetter explains how she has worked to make the drag show open to a wider range of ideas, particularly in making the show more supportive and inclusive of transgender folks. Interviewer: Kiah McConnell. Interview video and index available online.
Item 3: Guillermo Rebolledo, February 9, 2015
(0:07:22) In this brief interview, Guillermo Rebolledo introduces himself and speaks primarily on his experience as an openly gay member of an OSU fraternity. Rebolledo outlines the way assimilation, stereotypes, machismo, and Greek life culture have an impact on openly gay members of this community, including himself. Interviewer: Kiah McConnell. Interview video and index available online.
Item 4: Katie Wicks, February 20, 2015
(0:11:42) In this short interview, Wicks talks about transgender inclusion efforts in which she has been involved at Oregon State, including a survey she herself initiated as an internship project focusing on OSU’s Pride Center, and another survey conducted by the graduate school and overseen by Dr. Brenda McComb. Wicks describes the ways in which both OSU and other land-grant institutions have made progress in transgender inclusivity, yet still have a long way to go in terms of resources, support, and policy.  Wicks also speaks to her involvement at the Pride Center, describing Rainbow Continuum and what it achieves for the community, and detailing Pride Week events on Oregon State’s campus. Interviewer: Kiah McConnell. Interview video and index available online.
Item 5: Adrian Borycki, February 26, 2015
(0:17:43) This interview with Adrian Borycki focuses primarily on their involvement in the Greek community as an openly queer-identified individual. Borycki paints a nuanced picture of Greek life at OSU, describing the ways in which it is both heteronormative and homogenous, but nevertheless supportive in their personal experience. Borycki explains that their sorority, Sigma Kappa, has been very supportive since Borycki came out to their sisters. Borycki explains that they have often felt like a “queer representative” in their sorority, supporting their sisters and having the ability to blend the two OSU worlds of Greek life and the Pride Center. Borycki details micro-aggressions they have experienced at Greek life social events, particularly from fraternities. Borycki ends by speaking about their work as the publications coordinator for the Pride Center, outlining their social media strategy for the center to create a stronger online presence. Borycki explains that the Pride Center’s social media presence is a vital way to keep the community connected, show that there is support, and create an “unassuming way” for students to get involved with the Pride Center—especially for those students who may not be “out” to friends and family. At the time of the interview Borycki used the first name “Sarah.” Interviewer: Kiah McConnell. Interview video and index available online.
Item 6: Ish Guevara, SOL Oral History, March 15, 2015
(0:12:11) In the interview, Ish Guevara offers his thoughts on the politics of queer and trans movements and support, both nationally and at Oregon State University. Guevara outlines his vision for stronger collaboration between SOL, the Pride Center, and the other cultural centers. Interviewer: Kiah McConnell. Interview video and index available online.
Item 7: Jaqc Allen, SOL Oral History, April 29, 2015
(0:25:23) In this interview, Allen details their coming out experience as someone who began to explore their identities a little bit later in life. They describe coming out as a process, and describe the way this process looks different with friends, family, teachers, and peers. Allen briefly explores the intersection of masculinity and race, and how this intersection has impacted them as a masculine-presenting person of color. In addition, they share their vision for the future of SOL (the LGBTQ+ Multicultural Network), the Pride Center, and the other cultural centers. Allen explains the ways in which the mere existence of SOL is indicative of a greater problem with inclusion amongst the cultural centers, and a lack of intersectional awareness in their resources and staff. At the end of the interview, Allen briefly discusses Project Social Justice and how it has impacted their life. Interviewer: Kiah McConnell. Interview video and index available online.
Item 8: Jeff Kenney, May 13, 2015
(1:01:55) In this hour-long interview, Jeff Kenney discusses a wide range of topics relating to the culture and history of the Pride Center at OSU, and student affairs and outreach work more generally. Kenney explains that as Coordinator of LGBTQ+ Outreach and Services, his primary goal was to ensure the promotion and success of LGBTQ+ students. He details the responsibilities of this position, including serving as an active liaison to the Pride Center and partnering with other units both on- and off-campus; providing supervision, mentorship, and guidance to OSU students; and mediating pressures to serve both students and staff, to reach outside the OSU community or focus on campus issues. Kenney briefly explains the root of this conflict, detailing the ways in which queer and trans faculty at OSU can feel isolated, as well as face micro-aggressions or direct hostility from their colleagues, but have no significant support for this issue. In addition, he discusses the ins and outs of serving a diverse constituency, not only balancing the demands of students and staff, but also seeking to serve non-students from the surrounding community. Kenney suggests that another pull and tug is experienced by outreach coordinators like himself—being held responsible to both the institution as well as the student body, and having to sometimes represent policies that feel outdated or created from a place of fear. Following Kenney’s in-depth exploration of the many conflicting expectations for outreach coordinators in general, but particularly at Oregon State, he briefly discusses how the push for marriage equality during his time at Oregon State impacted the Pride Center. This part of the discussion details the ways in which marriage equality is important, but also homonormative, and often negates the more pressing needs (i.e. stable jobs, shelter, food) of many queer communities. Kenney concludes the interview with a more general discussion on the Diversity and Cultural Engagement Office at Oregon State. Kenney describes the changes he has observed in the relationships between cultural and resource centers on campus, as students and staff increasingly envision these centers as one consortium. He describes the ways his office has become a more complex organization in reaction to a complex student body, and ends by speaking on the emotional aspect of doing this kind of work. Interviewer: Kiah McConnell. Interview video and index available online.
Item 9: OSU LGBTQ+ Community Film, June 2015
OSU LGBTQ+ Community Film by Kiah McConnell, submitted to Oregon State University, University Honors College, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Honors Baccalaureate of Arts in Sociology, Honors Associate, presented June 2015. The film and index is available online.
Item 10: Panel - "The History of Queervallis", October 29, 2015
(1:11:00) On Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, the OSU Pride Center organized the event “The History of Queervallis” with guest speakers Professor Qwo Li Driskill and Assistant Head Advisor for the College of Liberal Arts Tristen Shay who shared their knowledge of queer history on campus and in the Corvallis area. Professor Driskill discussed their research on queer history on both the national and local level. They gave context to the OSU Queer Studies program by talking about the connections between the feminist and LGBTQ+ movements, and spoke specifically about the intersections between gender, sexuality, and race. Shay shared personal stories of his childhood, his activism in high school and college in support of the queer community, and his journey to OSU along with his continued work here in Corvallis. Filmed panel and index available online.
Series 2: Interviews, 2016
Series two consists of ten oral history interviews and a panel discussion on gender from the perspective of three OSU students.
Item 1: John Helding, May 3, 2016
(1:48:45) Helding begins the interview by sharing information about his family history and early childhood in Spokane, WA and later Gresham, OR. He shares some of his memories regarding the lack of open discussion about LGBTQ+ issues and lack of support for LGBTQ+ peoples within his communities growing up. Helding then shares his recollections of his time at OSU; he lived in Poling Hall, was an RA in Cauthorn Hall his junior year, and sang with the OSU choir for five years. Helding describes the campus climate in terms of LGBTQ+ issues. During his time on campus, he recalls the “Moral Majority” movement and Evangelical Christian organizations that promoted anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and practice emerging at OSU. Helding then begins the story of the 1981 ASOSU vote to fund the Gay People’s Alliance. The interview focuses on the April 28, 1981 meeting in which the ASOSU vote to fund the Gay People’s Alliance was discussed. As this was the second to last meeting of the year, this was the meeting that student groups lobbied for their organizations to be funded. Eddie Hickey represented the Gay People’s Alliance since the student fees committee had denied them funds and they wanted the senate to overturn that ruling. Helding says that he did not know who they were as individuals or as an organization and that the group of individuals were the first openly gay people with whom he interacted. He says that he was interested in the GPA request because it was a new request and thought it should be more seriously considered. Helding then describes the process of the debate on whether or not to fund the GPA – he goes into great detail explaining the discussion, which lasted over an hour, and the pros and cons to funding the GPA. The final vote was 18-13 in favor. Notably, Helding takes time to reflect on his interactions with the GPA members immediately following the meeting. Helding then describes the aftermath of the vote. The arbitration committee approved the entire proposed budget except for the funds for the GPA. Helding continues the interview with his post-OSU life story. He reflects on the importance of the ASOSU GPA vote and its impact on his career. Helding then shares his professional experiences. Helding notes that the oral history interview process has enabled him to reflect upon “touch points in time” throughout his life and how each of his experiences built on each other and helped him be more open and more supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. His last thoughts are about his positive experience of sharing his story as an oral history interview and expresses the power of people sharing their stories. Interviewer: Natalia Fernández. Interview video and index, as well as a detailed interview summary are available online.
Item 2: Judy Ball, May 4, 2016
(0:42:46) In this interview with Judy Ball, she begins by describing her childhood, which primarily holds good memories despite the poverty she grew up in. She explains that early on in her life, she knew that school would be her only outlet to pursue a better life. For Ball, life in college was dedicated to her studies. After getting her master's degree from Syracuse University, she began working for the federal government. Ball discusses her busy life in Maryland, and her career as a healthcare worker with the federal government, which lasted over 30 years. During this time in her life, Ball was married for ten years. However, Ball explains that their love faded, and she describes the strong sense of independence that has always been an important feature of her personality. In 2008, Ball moved to Corvallis, and her relocation marked the beginning of her involvement with the LGBTQ+ community, as she had fallen in love with a woman and decided to follow her out to the West Coast. Ball admits she had never questioned her sexuality growing up and issues of alternate sexualities were never discussed in the household, which resulted in her finding the whole experience surreal. Although her relationship with this individual eventually came to an end, Ball continues to be very active in the Corvallis community, both serving on the school board and participating in local events. Ball discusses her sexual identity, and though she states that "the evidence would suggest" she is bisexual, she explains that she does not necessarily find herself aligned with this identity. Interviewer: Kristiane Width. Interview video and index available online.
Item 3: Julie Williams, May 5, 2016
(0:46:37) In the interview, Williams first discusses her early years being raised in Corvallis, Oregon. Born in 1962, she attended school in Corvallis until leaving for Montana to pursue a college degree. Williams explains that there was little to no talk in her family of the LGBTQ+ community, and that she herself remained in denial of her sexual identity until her mid-twenties. Almost all of her life has been spent in Corvallis, and she offers some insight into the changes the community has experienced. Williams discusses her decision to become a teacher and what it was like to teach at her alma mater, Corvallis High School. Williams explains how her connection to the LGBTQ+ community has both positively and negatively affected her teaching career. She shares her own stories, as well as those of students and fellow faculty members, to showcase the LGBTQ+ -friendly atmosphere at Corvallis High School. The remainder of the interview focuses on the Queer-Straight Alliance club at Corvallis High School. As an integral member of its formation, Williams explains the goals of the QSA. She shares her hopes for the future of the QSA, her take on the community’s response to the QSA, and information on what the club offers for today’s student body. Interviewers: Alyssa Kauth and Kaitlyn Stephen. Interview video and index available online.
Item 4: Jo Ann Casselberry, May 11, 2016
(1:19:39) Jo Casselberry gives an overview of her life in this interview, beginning with her childhood and high school years, and then moving on to her college and post-graduation experiences, including more than 30 years’ experience working at Oregon State University. Casselberry expands on her campus involvement during college, and her part in the organization After 8, an advocacy and education group founded in Benton County after the passing of Measure 8 in 1988. She recalls her work as treasurer for After 8 and the organization’s goals and accomplishments, as well as her work as treasurer and fundraising coordinator for the Political Action Committees formed to fight each of the Oregon Citizen Alliance’s anti-gay ballot measures. In doing so, she also gives an overview of ballot measures 8 and 9 and how they affected her life, as well as discussing the general atmosphere of OSU and the surrounding community during that time. Interviewer: Stefani Evers. Interview video and index available online.
Item 5: Karuna Neustadt, May 12, 2016
(1:29:00) The interview begins with Neustadt talking about her childhood and describing what family life was like for her. She remembers playing in the streets with local neighborhood children and staying out as late as possible—until their mothers insisted they come in. She discusses the rather authoritative parenting style of her father, which was balanced by her mother’s nurturing approach. Neustadt describes the difficulties of middle school and high school, recalling the awkwardness she experienced during that time in her life. Neustadt proceeds to discuss her life after graduation. She moved to Iowa to attend a small liberal arts college, and although she enjoyed being young and single, Neustadt did not excel academically because she lacked focus. Aware of how much debt she was accruing, she decided to put her studies on hold until she was certain of her career path. Neustadt explains that she eventually decided to pursue an advanced degree in Clinical Psychology and moved to Oregon to do so. She speaks quite fondly of her time in Eugene. The interview then shifts to Neustadt’s discussion of her sexuality, and the expansive support of the women’s community in Eugene during her college years. Shortly after obtaining her master’s degree she moved from Eugene to Corvallis and co-founded an LGBTQ advocacy group called After 8. She describes the volatile environment in Corvallis that prompted her to establish such a group. For most of the interview, Neustadt details the specific activities After 8 was involved in. Many of the stories are difficult, while others have a humorous tone. Neustadt recalls the times when the group received death threats, but also details positive events experienced by the LGBTQ community since that time, including the group’s annual Harvey Milk Dinners, which took place from 1989 – 1999. The interview concludes with Neustadt’s reflection on the progress made and the work still to be done in regards to equality for the LGBTQ community. Neustadt ends by discussing how grateful she is for the support of other human and civil rights groups, who helped After 8 accomplish the goals they set out to accomplish. Interviewer: Esther Matthews. Interview video and index available online.
Item 6: Lorena Reynolds, May 13, 2016
(0:21:59) In the interview, Reynolds briefly describes her upbringing. She then proceeds to outline her career in law and how she has contributed to resolving legal marriage issues and asset distribution challenges for both in-state and out-of-state same sex marriages. In addition, Reynolds describes her involvement in assisting transgender clients who must navigate legal changes to their documentation. She explains that in Oregon, transgender individuals who wish to change their name or sex on legal documents are required to undergo surgery, which can present numerous challenges. Following this, Lorena describes the challenges her family faced when her brother Tristan came out as transgender. In trying to find his true identity, Tristan, who is nine years younger than Reynolds, had to come out multiple times, first as a lesbian, and then later as trans. This process put a strain on Tristan and his familial relationships. Lorena explains that when Tristan came out, there was no framework for transgender folks, so it was hard for both Tristan and the family to process and adapt to the change. Lorena’s brother created a video called “It Gets Better” with the help of his family, where each member of the family agreed to be interviewed on their experience with Tristan’s transition. Interviewers: Francesca Lee and Trinh Duonier. Interview video and index available online.
Item 7: Sara Gelser, May 16, 2016
(0:43:39) The interview begins with Gelser discussing her upbringing and family life, traveling frequently between Las Vegas, where she was born, and her parent’s home state of Indiana, then moving to Oregon when she was a sophomore in high school. Gelser talks about applying to Earlham College in Indiana in 1990, and accepting due to their progressive environment and inclusive programming. She explains that Earlham’s values aligned with her own, having worked with friends in the LGBTQ+ community in a Teens for the Prevention of AIDS group. She notes the misunderstanding of AIDS at the time and how it contributed to her interest in LGBTQ+ issues. She mentions LGBTQ+ issues weren’t discussed at home and weren’t tolerated at schools in the late 80s, and notes the contrast between her own and her children’s experiences with LGBTQ+ issues in school. Gelser’s interest in politics grew in her interactions with the community, through non-hierarchical methods she learned at Earlham, and her experiences advocating for a son with special needs. This eventually led her to join the Corvallis school board in 2001 and later to become involved in Oregon legislature from 2005 onwards. Before participating in Oregon politics, Gelser attended OSU from 1996 to 1998, pursuing a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus in History and Women’s Studies. She explains that she focused on Interdisciplinary Studies in hopes of teaching high school students, but eventually expanded out of teaching into politics because she began to note important patterns in history and their correlation to present issues. In her political experience in the Oregon House of Representatives, Gelser talks about legislation that she helped pass, such as improvements to the accessibility of birth control, better structures for supporting domestic partnerships, making public accommodations for same-sex couples, and Karly’s Law on child abuse. In addition to these priorities, Gelser stayed true to her roots in education, and headed a committee on Oregon education. During her time in the Oregon Senate, Gelser talks about passing legislation on LGBTQ+ issues, including Senate Bill 946, a bill on veteran’s benefits for those discharged through Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a bill on preferred gender and name identification for students, and a bill concerning bullying in schools related to LGBTQ+ students. As for future pieces of LGBTQ+ legislation, Gelser mentions legislation on marriage statutes, clarification of language for couples in previous legislation, changes to identification for same sex couples, and talks about her experience with debating on the Senate floor over legislation about solemnizing marriages outside of churches. The interview concludes with Gelser talking about the untapped history of LGBTQ+ issues. Interviewers: Brett Bishop and Brittney Nicole Aman. Interview video and index available online.
Item 8: Mary Renneke, May 21, 2016
(0:25:31) In the interview, Mary Renneke begins by discussing her childhood with her sister and twin brother. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1956, Mary was introduced to sports at a very early age, inspiring her passion for athletics. At age ten, Renneke began playing softball on a women’s team, and as she grew older she discovered that the sport was often a safe place for lesbians. Renneke jokingly claims that in the 70s, at least 80% of women’s softball players were lesbians. She notes that because her sister was also involved in softball, she suspected early on that Renneke might identify as lesbian. However, Renneke remarked that because there was no social media at that time, being a lesbian was something she knew little about, and did not discuss with her family until she turned 30. Because she enjoyed the community that women’s softball had to offer, Renneke continued to play softball into her 40s. However, she says she decided not to pursue a career in softball, either as a player or a coach, because there simply weren’t enough opportunities for women in sport in the 70s and 80s. Renneke briefly discusses Title IX, and the improvements it has made for women athletes. When Renneke was in high school and college, women’s teams were only just being introduced, and the teams she played for outside of college were self-funded. Although her tuition for community college in the 70s was a mere one-hundred dollars per year, she spent upwards of two-thousand dollars a season to play softball. Renneke describes her life after leaving college, explaining that work was merely a means to an end, allowing her to support herself while continuing to play sports. During this time, one of Renneke’s friends was a student at Oregon State University, and convinced her to come to OSU to play softball. Although Renneke agreed, receiving a partial scholarship from OSU at the age of 24, she did not complete her degree at the university and instead moved back to San Jose to work as a city bus driver. After ten to twelve years of this work, Renneke says she missed Oregon, so she returned to Corvallis and opened a coffee shop with a friend. At the age of 57, Renneke completed a bachelor’s degree through OSU’s online education program. Following this, she returned once again to California to become a job trainer for city bus drivers, but was laid off from this position during the recession. Renneke now lives in Albany and works at Natural Grocers in Corvallis. Interviewers: Suheng Chen and Hangyi Zhang. Interview video and index available online.
Item 9: Martha Cone, May 24, 2016
(0:56:01) Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1947, Dr. Martha Cone, Ph.D. begins her interview by speaking on her early life. Her father was an air traffic controller, a position that required the family to relocate frequently while Dr. Cone was growing up. She attended high school in San Antonio, Texas from 1961-1965; Dr. Cone describes this time in her life as devoid of discussion on LGBTQ issues, explaining many from this community were still in the closet, including herself. After graduation, Cone matriculated at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied microbiology and ultimately earned her doctorate degree. Dr. Cone explains how she was married from the age of 19 until she came out at 27, when she left her marriage and moved to a forested 1900s utopian commune in Delaware. Following this, Dr. Cone moved to California with friends from Philadelphia, where she met some women who owned a big pink bus, “tricked out” with beds and a kitchen, and joined them on their journey to Oregon. Dr. Cone details how this experience brought her to a women’s commune near Estacada. Everything was done by consensus among the women, including farm work and class instruction. Dr. Cone lived at the commune for about a year and a half before coming to Corvallis in search of a job, and eventually accepted a position in the Oregon State University (OSU) Microbiology Department. Dr. Cone describes how in her time at OSU, she was a part of the ‘book scandal’ in the OSU Women’s Center, wrote a letter to the editor of the Barometer on the subject, and was even involved in a picket march. While working for the College of Science, Dr. Cone was good friends with a gay man and by a mutual agreement, they conceived a child together. The man is still very much involved in their daughter’s life. Dr. Cone commented that when she first came to OSU, the gay communities were closeted and activism was just beginning to take place on campus. She became involved in activism for women’s college sports at the university, which often involved Title IX issues. Dr. Cone admits that her work experience at OSU was somewhat of a "locker room" environment because not many women worked in her department. In part because of this unsupportive environment, and the general discrimination against women prevalent in the science department, Dr. Cone says she decided not to try for tenure. She instead took up a post-doc position working in a lab for 10 years until the professor left, and Dr. Cone was unable to attain grants for the project on her own. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, and ultimately using all of her sick leave, Dr. Cone officially retired. In 2002, she took advantage of an opportunity to learn how to transcribe textbooks into Braille, an activity she actively participates in to this day. At the time of the interview, Dr. Cone shared that she planned to move to Portland to live in a floating home on the Columbia River with her partner. Interviewers: Eugenia Rott and Jared Ziegler. Interview video and index available online.
Item 10: Robin Frojen, May 25, 2016
(0:36:21) Robin Frojen was born in Los Angeles in 1966. In the interview, Frojen begins by describing the difficulties she faced in her youth, not caring for traditional gender roles or expectations, which led to bullying throughout her early life. Frojen cites a notable incident that occurred in elementary school in which she did not receive any valentine cards from her peers. Frojen continued her education at a Catholic middle school and high school. Ironically, the nuns at Frojen’s institution were incredibly progressive when it came to their acceptance of diverse personalities and sexualities. Her high school has more recently become a visible beacon, having graduated their openly first transgender student. Frojen recognizes this is an incredible accomplishment, especially for a Catholic school. Frojen maintains a close relationship with the high school and its faculty members. Frojen remembers her childhood outside of school affectionately, speaking about her parents with admiration, and recognizing how hard her father worked to provide for her family. Frojen describes her mother as a strong and supportive force, particularly when Frojen came out to her family at 22. Frojen explains that the way in which she came out to her family was not ideal. Afraid her sexuality would ruin her relationship with her family, Frojen agreed to have a good friend break the news to her mother over lunch. Frojen admits that her mother suspected she was a lesbian, so was not shocked by Frojen’s coming out. Her mother had refrained from asking her daughter outright, because she valued integrity and honesty and did not want to put Frojen in a position that would require her to lie. After Frojen came out, her mother proceeded to call all of their immediate family members to break the news and affirm her love and support for Frojen. After moving around the country, from coast to coast, Frojen eventually settled down in Corvallis, Oregon in 1997. In Corvallis, she rediscovered her love for food and made the courageous decision to pursue a degree in chemistry and food science. Frojen is now the manager of the Oregon State Creamery. Corvallis’s welcoming community has made it an amazing city to reside in for Frojen and her family. It has allowed her to become active in different communities throughout Corvallis. She has helped with the LGTBQ+ community by attending diversity panels held by Kathy Grieves. Frojen also helps with NAMI, a program that helps families deal with mental illness.  Robin always expresses that she is available for anyone who needs help and lives by the motto, “Work hard at being yourself, not someone else.” Interviewers: Madeleine Selfors and Kevin More. Interview video and index available online.
Item 11: Panel - “Occupying Margins: A Panel Discussion on Gender", November 14, 2016
(1:27:26) As part of Trans Awareness Week 2016 on OSU’s campus, SOL and the Pride Center hosted an event entitled “Occupying Margins: A Panel Discussion on Gender” in which three OSU students—Tara Crockett, Malik Ensley, and Vickie Zeller— with moderator Samantha Wood, spoke about their personal experiences with gender, as well larger impressions of the topic. The description of the panel was as follows: “This panel aims to spotlight the lived experiences of non-binary/genderqueer/gender non-conforming folx who live beyond the gender binary.” During the event, the panelists answered pre-decided questions as well as queries from the audience. A wide array of issues were addressed, including South Asian poetry duo Dark Matter and their argument that if you are a person of color, queer, differently abled, neuro-diverse, low-income, etc. you already do not fit the definition of “man” or “woman.” The three describe their vision for working towards a society that cherishes these trans and non-binary genders and relationships, rather than just “accepting” non-binary people. In addition, the group explores the ways in which the definition of gender can be expanded and improved upon by acknowledging histories and legacies of slavery and colonization. All of the panelists stress the need for difficult conversations, and interventions that make others question their harmful assumptions. They explain that this includes talking to strangers, standing up for your friends, and fostering dialogue with family members. Filmed panel and index, as well as a more detailed summary available online.
Series 3: Interviews, 2017
Series three consists of two event recordings and ten interviews.
Item 1: Panel - "Consent is Asexy and Required: Healthy Relationships with Asexual and Aromantic People", April 25, 2017
(1:41:00) This panel, held on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 6PM at Eena Haws Native American Longhouse, considers what healthy relationships look like when centering asexual (ace) and aromantic (aro) identities. The ace and aro community face high levels of sexual violence and corrective rape, and this panel seeks to amplify their voices in the discussion because their community is so often invisible and stigmatized. The event primarily centers around a panel of self-identified ace and aro community members who speak about their experiences with relationships, consent, and ace/aro awareness. However, the event aims to benefit anyone of any sexual orientation or gender hoping to be better equipped with tools to establish and maintain healthy relationships. The filmed panel and index is available to view online and a more detailed description is available on the blog.
Item 2: Vanessa Vanderzee, May 2, 2017
(0:55:49) In the interview, Vanderzee discusses her young life and upbringing at length—detailing her personal and academic pursuits. In addition, Vanderzee explores the role—or lack thereof—of LGBTQ+ issues in her youth. While LGBTQ+ issues were not taboo in her family, Vanderzee explains that they did not become a significant part of her life until after college. Because she did not discover asexuality until her early twenties, this played a role in her journey towards identity and community development. Much of the interview revolves around Vanderzee’s experiences with the academic institution, and Vanderzee describes her experience as a first generation college student—explaining how she learned to navigate academia with the help of family and mentors. Having lived the majority of her life in Illinois, Vanderzee also compared and contrasts Chicago and Corvallis, and expands upon the differences between her small liberal arts undergraduate experience and her graduate experience at OSU. Finally, Vanderzee reflects on her experiences working for the Oregon State University Queer Archives, the role these experiences played in her thesis research, and her personal and professional plans for the future. Interviewer: Natalia Fernandez. Interview video and index available online.
Item 3: Brenda McComb, May 19, 2017

(0:38:15) In the interview, retired Oregon State University faculty member and administrator Brenda McComb begins by describing her early life in a conservative, blue-collar family, and growing up on a New England farm. McComb details how she struggled with gender identity for most her life, not knowing who to talk to or how to articulate her experience. Having no one to confide in, McComb explains that she always preferred to share her time with her dogs and other animals, spending long hours in nature. McComb describes the many ways that gender expectations were rigid in the 1950s and 60s, and how the actions of her peers made it clear from a young age that it was not safe to reveal her true self.

McComb explains how and why she continued living under her assigned gender for most of her education and career, all the while struggling with severe depression and depending on coping mechanisms like throwing herself into work and abusing alcohol. Nevertheless, McComb did her best to maintain a “normal” life, marrying her wife Gina and raising two sons. Not long after their son's birth, McComb and her wife decided to move to Oregon, where she taught and conducted research in the Department of Forest Sciences and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University. After moving to teach at the University of Massachusetts, McComb explains that she finally began to seek therapeutic help for her depression and suicidal thoughts. She describes how this was a breakthrough moment in her struggles with gender identity, given that this was the first time she understood the cause of much of her unhappiness. In the interview, McComb describes the difficult situation she faced at this point in her life—to continue suffering with depression and risk suicide, or to begin the transition process and finally fell comfortable with herself.

McComb shares that she waited to “come out” to her colleagues and students until her oldest son had graduated from high school, as he had requested. When this time came, on a Friday afternoon, McComb sent an email to over 300 faculty and undergraduate students stating that on Monday she would like them to use she/her pronouns and referred to her as Brenda. After years of silence, depression and struggle, McComb was finally able to live her life openly and honestly. Interviewers: Evelynn Castillo, Madeline Mathewson, and Sami Quintero. Interview video and index available online.

Item 4: Searainya Bond-Frojen, May 19, 2017

(1:11:00) In the interview, Bond-Frojen describes her atypical childhood in Florence, Oregon, under the care of an extremely progressive, politically active mother. Bond-Frojen explains that drugs and alcohol were prevalent in her early life, due to her “pot smoking” parents, and her father’s struggles with alcoholism. Although she describes her mother as a good parent, she also recognizes that drugs and alcohol sometimes interfered with consistency in her upbringing. In Bond-Frojen’s youth, she was heavily involved in the Evangelical Christian church and was extremely passionate about music—participating in both her school’s drumline, marching band, and jazz band. Bond-Frojen shares that religion and spirituality have played a large role throughout her life, and she forged many meaningful relationships with mentors through the church as a young person. Bond-Frojen did not identify as lesbian throughout most of her youth, and so experienced no conflict between her sexual identity and religious beliefs. Although LGBTQ+ issues were not discussed in her K-12 schools, Bond-Frojen recalls her mother using terms like “lesbian” and “gay,” and giving her the classic book Our Bodies, Ourselves to help her explore her sexuality. Bond-Frojen’s mother even told her that she knew Bond-Frojen was a lesbian and that she was supportive of it—even though Bond-Frojen herself was offended at the time, given that she did not yet identify as such.

Bond-Frojen describes how she continued to express her faith after high school, attending Christian universities for both her undergraduate and graduate education. Bond-Frojen earned her bachelor’s degree in Bible and Christian counseling from Eugene Bible College, after taking a 15-year break from her education. Bond-Frojen details how she spent her time during this break—working with adults with developmental disabilities for five to seven years, and as a receptionist at Portland’s Adventist Medical Center for almost a decade. Following this period, Bond-Frojen pursued a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from George Fox University from 2006 to 2010, even receiving a student-of-the-year award for her major. Bond-Frojen explains that it was during her time in graduate school that she came to identify as lesbian, though she did not feel safe “coming out” for fear that it would jeopardize her educational opportunities. In the interview, Bond-Frojen also describes the inner turmoil she faced when her spiritual and religious beliefs came in conflict with her sexual identity.

After much reflection, and while working as a mental health counselor following her academic career, Bond-Frojen found a way to reconcile this conflict. In the second half of the interview, Bond-Frojen describes her relationship with her wife Robin Frojen, whom she met online through the dating website OkCupid. This portion of the interview includes a lengthy discussion of Searainya and Robin’s relationship, including how it has evolved over time. In addition, Bond-Frojen briefly speaks about how the marriage equality act affected them as a couple. Interviewers: Brooke Wendland, Sanghyeon (Han) Yu, and Ariana Rabette. Interview video and index available online.

Item 5: Jill McAllister, May 22, 2017
(0:30:52) In this interview, Reverend Jill McAllister begins by describing her upbringing in St Louis, MO and her subsequent education at Duke and Washington Universities. McAllister briefly worked for the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC, before relocating to Corvallis, OR.  It was in Oregon that she discovered the Unitarian Universalist organization, and was exposed to LGBTQ rights for the first time. While studying to be a minister, McAllister discovered that "love was just love," and soon started using her position to encourage others to be more tolerant or supportive of LGBTQ communities.  In the interview, she describes the forward-thinking nature of Unitarian Universalists, who performed LGB marriages before they were legally binding, and taught physically accurate and comprehensive sexual education courses. Following seminary, McAllister spent a decade in Michigan, working with the congregation to receive a "Welcoming Congregation” certification. This certification was awarded to congregations which went through a series of acceptance classes, but her community in Michigan felt that they were accepting enough already. However, McAllister was eventually successful in finishing the process. During her time in Michigan, the sexual education curriculum was updated and transgender rights became a topic of discussion. McAllister emphasizes that she believes a healthy sexual identity is an essential component of a healthy person. After participating in adult sexual education classes, she realized that many people were never formally taught about sexuality, and this propelled her involvement. The Unitarian Universalists' curriculum was so successful that community members from outside the congregation often enrolled their children in the class. The interview concludes with McAllister explaining that the local Unitarian Universalist building does not have gender-specific bathrooms, and that their national convention has designated some gender-inclusive bathrooms as well. She views this as a positive, explaining that it even makes sense from a building design standpoint—if there are not that many bathrooms, it would be better to make each one accessible to everyone. Interviewers: Zachary T Barry, Chad Lee, Khalaf Albaqawi. Interview video and index available online.
Item 6: Brooke Collison, May 23, 2017

(1:03:35) The interview with Brooke Collison ranges from topics such as discussing LBGTQ issues with those uneducated on the subject to the importance of counselling and creating stronger community outreach. Professor Collison discusses his Midwestern childhood in which the size of the small towns he lived in never gave him the chance to meet and learn about those within the LBGTQ community. Also during the first decades of his life, as for many during this time, Professor Collison observed little to no activism regarding the LBGTQ community. Professor Collison describes that for years, there were only “whispers” about men who seemed effeminate and thus must, in the eyes of peers and adults, be gay. As activism progressed and events such as Stonewall occurred, it gave many such as Professor Collison the chance to learn more and do more for those around them. During his tenure at Oregon State University he took the first steps in creating an outreach program for LGBTQ folks at OSU. The importance of creating safe space and support for LGBTQ youth was matched by its risk. Professors and other parties at the time risked their jobs and careers for creating the Opening Doors Conference which included fellow professors, public school teachers, students, and counselors. During the 1990s, LGBTQ activism had started to reach national levels, yet for a small community such as Corvallis there were still risks for professionals who encouraged LGBTQ youth to discuss their lives openly and seek support. Social stigma, community backlash and lack of support would clash with the progressive ideals of aiding those who needed guidance for a better understanding of their true identity.

Professor Collison goes on to detail the importance of activism and the effort it took from all parties involved: students, parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators. In the interview, Professor Collison also outlines his previous and ongoing work with the Methodist Church. It is well known that the Methodist Church is one of the most accepting sectors of Christianity for groups in the LGBTQ community. Professor Collison explains that his work has not been confined to the United States, for he has done an enormous amount of outreach and collaboration in Kenya, specifically at the Kenya Methodist University in Meru. Interviewers: Brooke Collison Interviewers: Alexa Huewe, Luke Van Lehman. Interview video and index available online.

Item 7: Leah Houtman, May 24, 2017
(1:27:03) In the interview, Leah Houtman begins by providing a detailed description of her childhood as somewhat of a transient. Houtman describes what life was like in rural Indiana in the late 1980s and 90s, the tumultuous experience of her parents’ divorce and her mother coming out as a lesbian, and her varying experiences with both public and homeschool education. Houtman describes her childhood self as a bookish nerd who sometimes struggled in social situations, which was often exasperated by their many relocations. She speaks about the close relationship she had with her sisters, who were her only social life while they were being homeschooled. During this portion of the interview, Houtman also tells the story of her coming out, which she explains was in part prompted by a short stay at an inpatient facility when she was experiencing severe depression and suicidal thoughts. She also reflects on how her mother’s identity as a lesbian also made the identity more accessible to her at a young age. Houtman goes on to explain the complicated relationship she had with her parents during her youth, as well as the impact some of her mother’s partners had on her following the divorce. The interview then explores Houtman’s undergraduate studies and how she met her wife and explored a variety of different occupations at this time, before moving to Oregon and completing her degree at Oregon State. After talking about her college experiences, the interview shifts into more specific questions regarding LGBTQ+ issues and how they have affected her throughout various stages in her life. This includes a transition into questions regarding her wife and how they met, their marriages, and the journey to have children together. The interview ends with a discussion on the legal issues regarding Houtman and her wife’s children, as well as the support they’ve felt while living in Oregon, especially as compared to other places. Interviewers: Lily Waggoner, Clarice Gilray, Kat Dykstra. Interview video and index available online.
Item 8: Marlene Massey, May 24, 2017

(0:57:25) In the interview, Marlene Massey begins by describing her early life growing up in a middle-class New Jersey suburb with two siblings—a younger brother and sister. During this first portion of the interview, Massey touches on the highly visible pushback against sex education in New Jersey schools, and the complete lack of discussion surrounding “alternative sexualities” which occurred during her youth. Massey explains how she came to realize her sexuality through a crush on a female gym teacher, and by getting in trouble for being too close or “too much of a sister” to her fellow Girl Scouts in high school. Massey describes how neither she nor her lover Barb in high school identified as lesbians or used the term, they would sneak out of their houses at night to see one another. Massey moved to Oregon in the 1980s with a woman she had, funny enough, met at her Girl Scout camp.

Following a discussion of her youth, Massey describes an incident which occurred while she was teaching preschool in Oregon. She describes how the assistant director of the school attributed a student’s problems to their lesbian mother, and Massey disagreed. A year later, that same assistant director cut Massey’s hours, but no one else’s. When no one at the school came to her defense, Massey left to find another job, and says she decided not to pursue a legal case based on advice from a friend. Massey discusses why she joined the Benton County LGBT organization After 8, describing herself as not political but motivated by a desire to live a normal life with her partner. Her involvement with After 8 included doing the decorations for the Harvey Milk dinner, picking up trash for a sponsored highway section, and helping organize for the “Gay Games” event. Then Massey explains how her involvement with After 8 ended, when she was hospitalized for a rare brain injury, and discusses her experience with being hospitalized. Massey then explains how her involvement with After 8 planted the seeds for her current activism. Massey shares her views of the similarities and differences between advocating for disability justice and LGBTQ+ rights. Massey then discusses her work with the local public library and the Unitarian Church. Finally, she reflects upon changes she has seen in attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community both locally and nationally. Interviewers: Angela Dunham, Jessica Osborn, and Pedro Arenas. Interview video and index available online.

Item 9: Merry Demarest, May 25, 2017

(1:07:08) In the interview, Merry Demarest begins by discussing her youth, including her many relocations during childhood and young adulthood, and a tumultuous family dynamic after her mother remarried. Following this portion of the interview, Demarest focuses on her social justice activism through the years, which began fairly early in her life. Demarest discusses her involvement with the National Organization for Women (NOW), her positions within the organization, and her campaigning for the federal Equal Rights Amendment. After this, Demarest proceeds to a discussion of her work campaigning for Hillary Clinton by encouraging constituents in Texas to attend party caucuses for the Democratic nomination. After 8 is the next organization she discusses, including her involvement with that organization in fighting Corvallis Measure 02-06, a homophobic measure written by the Oregon Citizens Alliance. She then talks about campaigning for Bill Clinton in the 1984 gubernatorial election in Arkansas. Demarest’s involvement with the Democratic Party of Oregon and her chairing of the Democratic Oregon State Fair booth for 12 years are the next topics she discusses. Demarest then describes the importance of Emily’s List to her extended family because of their early involvement. Demarest then outlines how she became the founding chair of the LGBTQ+ organization Basic Rights Oregon after being a co-chair of the anti-Oregon Measure 9 campaign, and what the organization’s goals were both when it was founded and at the time of the interview, in 2017.

In the latter portion of the interview, Demarest details her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and the award she and her husband Harry received from the organization. She then returns to a discussion about campaigning in Utah for the Equal Rights Amendment, and her interactions with the women opening their doors to her. One of the last topics Demarest spends time on is her work campaigning for Hillary Clinton, and then for Barack Obama in the 2008 election. Demarest gives her thoughts on the 2016 presidential election and advice for today’s young activists, and explains what her more recent involvement with the Benton County Democrats has been. Finally, Demarest discusses her current project: trying to encourage local music venues to refuse to book the Eugene, Oregon band Cherry Poppin' Daddies. Interviewers: Justyn Jacobs, Lucy Hillenbrand, and Meredith Bowers. Interview video and index available online.

Item 10: Harry Demarest, May 26, 2017
(1:09:57) Harry Demarest is a long-standing Democrat in Oregon who has a history of advocating for women’s rights and organizing against anti-LGBT ballot measures. The oral history interview begins with Harry Demarest describing his background, including several of the things that caused him to become involved in politics, such as the Vietnam war. Interestingly enough, in his earlier years, Harry identified as a Republican, though eventually joined the democratic party and become a party leader in Oregon. He also describes how he met his wife and co-conspirator Merry. Later on, he and Merry were publically ex-communicated from the Mormon church as part of an effort to support the Equal Rights Amendment. At length, Harry describes his participation in electoral politics, which included compiling voter lists, canvassing, and designing computer software for the party. Harry was also involved with the Oregon Chapter of the National Organization for Women. Interviewers: Hunter Murga, Nikki Bott, and Jordan Morrison. Interview video and index available online.
Item 11: Bradley Boovy, June 6, 2017

(1:12:00) Bradley Boovy is a professor in World Languages and Cultures and also teaches courses in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University. In this oral history interview, Bradley first talks about his childhood growing up in the vibrant city of New Orleans, Louisiana and attending religious schools, including a Jesuit High School. He describes his early experiences with LGBTQ people and identities, paying special attention to the role religion played in mediating these experiences. Bullying was common during his primary school years and affected his sense of belonging to the community. He also discusses his relationship with his family, both during his childhood and later on in life, especially his mother and father.

Moving on from his childhood and adolescence, Bradley talks about going to college and discovering a love for language. His college years were important in shaping his understandings of religion and social justice as well as his own personal identities. He struggled to come out to his girlfriend of many years and spent some time in Texas and Germany afterward before coming back to Oregon to teach in the position he currently holds. Coming out to his family was also difficult and has affected his relationship with many of his family members. He has yet to tell some of them, and probably never will, for fear of their reactions. Finally, the interview concludes with Bradley talking about his hopes for the future. Interviewers: Dalton Holt, Ian Lipanovich, and Elizabeth Jung. This oral history interview is only available in the SCARC reading room.

Item 12: Panel - "Herstory and Culture of Drag", October 18, 2017
(1:38:31) Starting with a presentation about the growth of drag culture and terminology, the panelists offer a useful introduction to the topic from the perspective of performers with varying levels and types of engagement with drag. Following their presentation, the panelists responded to a series of questions, mostly relating to the history of drag, the many complexities of drag performance, and the ongoing violence and risk affecting drag performers and their allies. The event is geared towards a general audience, but the panelists often spoke directly to people considering the possibilities of drag in their own lives. The filmed panel video and index is available to view online and a more detailed description is available on the blog.
Series 4: Interviews, 2018
Series four consists of one oral history interview.
Item 1: Miss Dharma Prada MacPherson (Dharma Mirza), January 22, 2018

(1:42:49) In this interview, Miss Dharma Prada MacPherson (Dharma Mirza) begins by describing her early life growing up in a strict Islamic household in Utah with several siblings and a religious father. During this first portion of the interview, she describes many of her childhood and adolescent experiences, which were often traumatic and greatly impacted her relationship with various members of her family and community. She also talks about coming into her own identities and how her self-perceptions have changed over time, due to shifts in language, experiences with discrimination, discovering popular culture representations, and other catalysts. Much of her background is marked by experiences with violence and harm, including, among other things, sexual violence, substance abuse, being diagnosed as HIV positive, employment discrimination, and persistent transphobia. These experiences are one of the main reasons why Dharma has become such a fierce activist and advocate for queer and trans people today. During this portion of the interview, she also talks about her experiences in school, including mentors she had growing up, her experiences with work, and her experiences with moving from Utah to Oregon.

In the second part of the interview, Dharma speaks to the often uneasy relationship between drag performances/cultures and trans people/communities. She believes that drag often does become transphobic, especially when it is narrowly defined as cross-dressing, but that it can ultimately be a form of resistance for trans and gender non-conforming folks as well as anyone who wants to trouble gender norms. For her, drag has provided a space to engage in activism surrounding a number of social issues: her performances often take on a political edge and founding the “Haus of Dharma” has enabled her to create a community for herself and other trans drag performers, who are so often mistreated and isolated. In this portion of the interview, she also discusses how drag relates to other aspects of her identity, such as her nationality. Finally, based on themes that emerged throughout the oral history, the interviewer (Sam Shelton) poses two additional questions. The first question asks Dharma to discuss the relationship between transness and trauma, which is often (problematically) talked about in causal terms with traumatic experiences causing transness. Dharma asserts that transness is trauma in the sense that being or becoming trans means that an individual will have many traumatic experiences throughout their life as a result of systems of power that make transphobia and violence so pervasive. The second question asked Dharma to expand on the relationship between transness and religion/spirituality. Her response offered insights into how she has brought these two aspects of her identity together and navigated through the tensions between them. Interviewer: Samuel Shelton. Interview video and index available online.

Series 5: Interviews, 2019
Series five consists of fourteen oral history interviews, and one event recording.
Item 1: Bryant Everett, February 6, 2019

(2:41:39) Bryant Everett’s life begins in Philomath, Oregon, in a rural, isolated home on the outskirts of the town. She explains that not being able to express herself openly in the tight knit community left her feeling hopeless after high school. She then describes that once she found her footing in employment, and quickly moving up the ladder into a national management position, she began a long-term relationship that would change her forever. At the end of the relationship, she temporarily left Oregon and began therapy where she was introduced to the phrase ‘gender dysphoria’. Everett's new dialogue in describing her personal experience was the start of her transition journey. This journey began while she continued to travel over the United States and train employees on a weekly basis. She expresses that since transitioning, she has a new way in interacting with the world. Sharing her experiences is not only part of her self-care, it is also at the root of her activism. Representation, being outspoken, self-reflection, and inner strength are traits that Everett brings into the LGBTQ+ community. Towards the end of the interview she discusses her enrollment in college as a Biochemistry and Pre-Med double major, and living in Eugene, Oregon. Interviewer: Natalia Fernandez. Interview video and index available online.

Content Warning: Various parts of the interview discuss sexual abuse/assault, domestic violence and suicide.

Item 2: K.B., March 2, 2019
(0:43:02) K.B. began their interview by talking about their childhood, having been born in a small town in Washington to a family and community whose views were in direct opposition with K.B.’s to-be-realized identity. Those identities, K.B. shares, are non-binary and pansexual. K.B. talked about moving away from the town after graduation, attending a same-sex institution on the East Coast and one in the South. This opened them up to their identity and mutually rewarding, intense, platonic relationships. Moving back to Oregon and living near Tillamook, K.B. found themselves in a multi-generational community, making friends with older adults. K.B. affectionately refers to an older woman, with whom they cohabitated, as their aunt. A family from K.B.’s church community “adopted” them and became their chosen family. K.B. is also supported by their older brother, with whom they were not as close during childhood under the watchful eye of strict, expectant parents. Many close friendships have helped K.B. through mental health difficulties, including crippling bouts of anxiety and depression. Now a graduate student in the public health program at Oregon State, K.B. is not out to their family and appreciates OSU’s official recognition of their gender. Though not active in everyday struggles to “come out” again to each individual professor, they feel accepted in the university. K.B. also is fulfilled by their experience in the Unitarian Universalist Church, which is a multi-faith community affirming multiple versions of Truth. K.B. grew up in a protestant household and found comfort in church and youth services, but fell out with traditional Christian institutions when one church became outspoken about denying gay marriage rights. Finding the Unitarian fellowship finally, to K.B., felt right, and they began working with youth in their faith community. Interviewers: Tiana Weeks and Hannah Hunicke. Interview video and index available online.
Item 3: Kim Kraemer, March 3, 2019
(0:39:32) In this interview, Kim Kraemer discusses her family, her relationship with Thomas Kraemer, her schooling, some of the jobs she has had throughout her life, and what tips she has for both the current and future generations. For her family, Kim talks about how her stepfather didn’t seem to like her as much as her sister and how he never encouraged her to pursue a career in mechanics. Kim also talks about how she was not really too close to her sister, and still isn’t to an extent due to her sister being a born-again Christian with rather homophobic views. For her relationship with Thomas Kraemer, Kim talks about how they met, some of his experiences as being an out gay man, and his contributions to the LGBTQ community after his retirement. Kim also talks about how she had to help him with his work for the archives as his health declined. For her schooling and jobs, Kim talks about how she took mechanics classes all through high school, and how she was not able to fully pursue what she wanted to in college due to not doing well in math. Kim talked about how she took summer jobs working on boats and later had a job working at an auto shop in Corvallis and being a “novelty” at those places due to (biologically) being female. Kim says for current and future generations to make transgender (and LGBTQ in general) lives be better would be to accept people for who they are and to let them express themselves however they want. Interviewers: Jacob Novotny and Chase Sublette. Interview video and index available online.
Item 4: Minerva Zayas, March 5, 2019
(0:59:41) Minerva Zayas’ interview began with discussing her childhood. Minerva spent much of her young life with her single mother and siblings. She found herself working very hard and taking care of her siblings from a young age in order to help out her mom, who worked multiple jobs. Minerva spoke about the relationship that she was in throughout high school, which she soon realized was unsafe and abusive, similar to what she saw her mother face with her stepfather. Minerva reflected upon her Catholic upbringing and the effects that these beliefs and environment had on the way she self-identified. Minerva mentioned the most influential event in her young life that greatly impacted the LGBTQ+ community was most likely the legalization of same-sex marriage. As Minerva finished high school, she always knew she wanted to go to college and being the first generation in her family to do this means a lot to her. Minerva attended Eastern Washington University and majored in Psychology and Women and Gender Studies. When Minerva moved to Corvallis for an Oregon State graduate program, she found a community through the Women of Color Caucus. Yet, she found that even in her field of study, (Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies), women of color were not being adequately supported. Minerva dove into leadership in the queer Latinx community. When asked how she felt about the current social and political climate surrounding the LGBTQ+ community, Minerva expressed how difficult it has been. Minerva highlighted the importance of self-care amidst turmoil and how having a reliable support system can make a very big difference. In the future Minerva hopes to continue work in the Latinx community and possibly get her PhD and become a family counselor, something she thinks she might have benefited from when she was younger. Interviewers: Hailey Brooks and Grace Brod. Interview video and index available online.
Item 5: Susan Shaw, March 5, 2019
(0:59:10) Current Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Oregon State University, Susan Shaw, born in the conservative Deep South town of Rome, GA tells us of her courageous journey to selfhood. At a young age, Shaw had close connection to her female peers while watching the women’s movement happen upon her television amidst an intolerant/quiet community. Raised within the Southern Baptist Church, which had a strict no tolerance attitude towards homosexuality and feminism, Shaw oppositely found the love and tolerance the Bible preached, while studying in seminary school. She describes becoming a feminist while attending The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY and what feminism means to her. Although ready to come out in the 80’s and 90’s, she feared being fired from her position of Assistant Professor of Religion, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and at California Baptist College, as well as during her time as Associate Professor of Religious Studies at George Fox College (a fundamentalist Quaker university). She describes herself as a Baptist in exile in the United Church of Christ after finding the Southern Baptist churches to be more conservative on the West coast than in the South. She describes living a double life during her last two years working for George Fox and attending OSU. Shaw extrapolates on her time, working for the HIV respite care in Portland and the discrepancies in class vs funding. She also tells us of her “coming out” to family and friends afterwards. Shaw stresses how being in the closet equates to death and how moving from theology to women’s studies at OSU was a breath of fresh air.  Shaw describes how OSU directors have been supportive of her sometimes-controversial feminist religious writings and what she learned from the WGSS program. She stresses how faith and sexuality do not have conflict for her and discusses the classes she has taught that support this concept. Shaw tells of her life partner and their struggle with marriage equality. To conclude, Shaw explains the need for the LGBTQ community to be more inclusive/intersectional, discusses how ageism affects her, and her book/programs she is currently working on. Interviewers: Sarah Shields and Kelsie Rust. Interview video and index available online.
Item 6: Bradley Boovy - Corvallis Queer Films Festival, March 7, 2019
(0:45:46) Dr. Boovy is an assistant professor at Oregon State University with a background in Germanic studies, Spanish studies and women studies. He grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and attended most of his early and undergraduate education there. While he was in New Orleans, he focused on studying the relationship and conflicts between the LGBTQ society and religious society. Boovy has a background in the Catholic religion from his upbringing, so religion was one of the key influences for him to start activism for the LGBTQ community because of the homophobic opinions of Catholicism. After several years, he moved to Austin, Texas when he completed his Ph.D. in Germanic studies in 2012. His experiences in Austin helped him understand the LGBTQ+ community at the time and inspired him to work even more to create more spaces that are open for all people under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. When he moved to Oregon for his German studies job at Oregon State University, he began to organize and work on the Corvallis Queer Film Festival until 2016. During the festival, Boovy took charge of the marketing part, finances and scholarships, and general overview of the festival as a whole. He was in-charge of organizing where the event took place, Corvallis Darkside Cinema, which has since become the permanent home of the festival.  The main reason for his departure from the festival was to help create OSU’s Queer Archives, in Oregon State’s special collections and archives with Natalia Fernández. Boovy’s research currently focuses on queer history and the changes in culture over time, especially in Europe, and how it was influenced by nationalism. Interviewers: Eliya Dunmire and Yoo Jin Seol. Interview video and index available online.
Item 7: Cindy Konrad, March 8, 2019
(0:37:52) In this interview, Cindy Konrad talks about being from Wisconsin and her move to Oregon, which occurred about three and a half years ago from the date of this recording. She details her career path and what drove her to move to Oregon.  She also talks in length about her education and work in literature before she found herself as a director of the Pride Center at Oregon State University.  She also talks about the differences she has discovered between Wisconsin and the Midwest in general and Oregon and the Northwest, particularly in the topic of the LGBTQ+ community.  Konrad explores what she has seen in the community and the changes that have occurred especially in the past three and a half years in Corvallis.  She explains how Oregon seems like a safer place for someone in the LGBTQ+ community, but that does not include the people of color or the trans community.  She also talked about the prevalence of white supremacists in the Corvallis area and the rampant racism and transphobia. Konrad was able to provide insight into what the future could look like and what she hopes the future will be for the LGBTQ+ community in Corvallis and Oregon in general.  She also covered some specific changes that could be made at Oregon State University to make the lives of LGBTQ+ students and faculty a lot better. Interviewers: Andrew Sunderland and Ryan Rundell. Interview video and index available online.
Item 8: Trina Hogg, March 12, 2019
(0:23:51) In this interview, Dr. Hogg begins by discussing her childhood and secondary education experiences with in an arts high school in the Toronto suburbs and the lack of LGBTQ+ presence within those atmospheres. Dr. Hogg shared that while many of her friends and herself came out post-graduation, none of them came out during high school. She goes on to explain that she was unsure about her about her sexual orientation until she was an adult. She then turns to her post high school entering higher education era, where she was introduced to Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community and continued her education. However, she examines how her sexuality had no connection with her academics, and had little to no expectations for the treatment of LGBTQ+ on her college campuses. She compared the LGBTQ+ communities at Columbia University and Oregon State University along with what she saw in the classrooms at each institution. She also compares her experiences as a queer person while living in Africa and how they differ from living in North America. Dr. Hogg finished up by discussing her many brilliant and inventive ideas of how she would like to incorporate the history of the LGBTQ+ community in her post graduate class syllabi’s and creates a more inclusive environment. Interviewers: John Boileau and Haleigh Sudbeck. This oral history interview is only available in the SCARC reading room.
Item 9: Mina Carson, March 15, 2019

(01:18:07) Dr. Mina Carson shares her life experiences as a lesbian woman and coming out later in her adult life. She was born in San Francisco in 1953 and shortly thereafter moved with her family to Brunswick, Maine where she grew up with her two sisters. She described what life in Maine and the late divorce of her parents. For Carson, homosexuality was not talked about while she was growing up. Her earliest recollection of questioning stemmed from her first childhood crushes that she described as “really intense friendships.” She then delved into the process of her coming out. While in graduate school, during the summer in New York, she stumbled upon the Pride Parade. Now this was before she was out of the closet, so she found herself participating and chanting but still apologetic about her identity. In Missouri, she worked at Northeast Missouri State (now Truman State University) in the College of Liberal Arts. It was there that Carson had her first recollections of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She remembers the shock and horror she felt that people her age were dying of this disease. She attributes her hyperawareness of the disease to her generation and a fear that many experienced. While in Corvallis, the anti-homosexual ballots of the 1990s in Oregon added to Carson’s fear. Ballot Measure 8 was in response to Neil Goldschmidt’s order for anti-discriminatory protections for gay and lesbian people. The measure overturned this order, causing fear, hate and joblessness for many people in the LGBT community. Carson noted living in downtown Corvallis and having a campaign poster in her lawn torn down. When she got the opportunity to move to a different area, she did and noted part of her reasoning was from being scared of the hate. Now, the reactionary political climate and the current Donald Trump Administration have focused Carson’s attention on climate change, abortion rights, and preservation of the Supreme Court and Constitution from corruption.

Toward the end of the interview, Carson touches on the importance of music in her life, especially as a coping mechanism. She started writing songs when she was a teenager and to this day uses music to bring all parts of herself together. She describes her relationship with music and songwriting as a hobby that allows her to bring about emotional release and address the things that are important to her, including politics and relationships. The most important parts of life are her kids. In this interview, Carson describes getting a master’s degree at Portland State University in Social Work and trained in psychotherapy and working as a therapist. However, in wanting children, having two careers was simply not viable and returned to the sole career of teaching to be a mother. She describes the process of adoption and parenting and the importance of her children in her life. Throughout the interview, Carson adds important commentary on the way fear has affected her life and her relationships and details her struggles with self-acceptance, doubt, and bravery. She closes the interview with a statement that she realizes she owes her community honesty and the wish that she was bolder and less cautious in owning her identity and strives to be that way. Interviewers: Sarah Carroll and Paige Sim. Interview video and index available online.

Item 10: Derron Coles, SOL Oral History, February 13, 2019
(0:47:32) Coles discusses his journey in creating SOL as a place where students can feel safe in expressing all aspects of their identities and learn from each other. As a student with multiple marginalized identities, he realized the importance of communication, education, and community. With faculty support from Larry Roper, SOL has become a permanent fixture on the OSU campus since 2002. Despite some groups on campus originally not acknowledging the need for a LGBTQIA+ group specifically for students of color, it has continued to thrive with student support each year. Interviewer: Cori Elam. Interview audio and index available online.
Item 11: Larry Roper, SOL Oral History, February 13, 2019
(0:22:48) Roper discusses how his position as Vice Provost allowed him to engage with Derron Coles one-on-one to get funding for the creation of SOL. Roper discusses the OSU university statement on inclusion, equity, and diversity which can be supported with funding student programs that meet the needs of our less visible students. Interviewer: Isabella Arrieta. Interview audio and index available online.
Item 12: Justine Anaya, SOL Oral History, March 3, 2019
(0:18:11) Anaya discusses her identity as a queer indigenous woman and how that has shaped her activism. Anaya discusses the status of SOL during her time working for the organization for 2 years, how her ideas of activism have changed, and what is it like to be a minority identity in STEM classes at OSU. Interviewer: Hope Trautman. Interview video and index available online.
Item 13: Tamara Lash, SOL Oral History, April 16, 2019
(0:20:44) Lash discusses the differences between her experience as an undergraduate student at OSU and as a grad student after taking a two year break from academia. She talks about the importance of resources in higher education that go beyond student led organizations and how students of color are able to see the institution through a different lens. Lash gives advice to SOL members about other ways they can support the surrounding community of Corvallis and share how SOL had a positive impact on her life. Interviewers: Corey Illum and Isabella Arrieta. Interview video and index available online.
Item 14: Kobe Natachu Taylor, SOL Oral History, April 25, 2019
(0:30:07) Natachu Taylor discusses the journey of finding themself and community at Oregon State University. As a marginalized identity, they unintentionally fell into social justice roles by having a need to advocate for themselves and other indigenous/queer students. Interviewer: Julian Chu. Interview video and index available online.
Item 15: Event - Indigenous Trans and Two Spirit Stories of Resilience, November 20, 2019
(0:50:20) As part of Native Heritage Month as well as Trans Awareness Week, and in partnership with the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Queer Studies programs, the Native American Longhouse (NAL) Eena Haws hosted the event "Indigenous Trans and Two-Spirit Stories of Resilience." Leadership Liaison Kobe Natachu Taylor shared that the motivation behind the event was to create a space which centered queer, trans and Two-Spirit Indigenous people, and celebrated the resilience of Indigenous communities. It was also acknowledged that the event was occurring on Trans Day of Remembrance, the 50th anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz, and the 3rd anniversary of protest actions on Backwater Bridge during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Two-Spirit,  queer and trans Indigenous people were invited to share their own stories, or to read the work of Two-Spirit, queer and trans Indigenous  writers. The authors whose writing and poetry were shared include Janice Gould, Arielle Twist, Doe O’Brien, Malea Powell, Qwo-Li Driskill, Beth Brant, and the collective Queer Indigenous Gathering. The event speakers included Roman Cohen, Tiramisu Hall, Raven Waldron, Luhui Whitebear, Qwo-Li Driskill, and Kobe Natachu. Event recording and index is available online.
Series 6: Interviews, 2020
Series six consists of eight oral history interviews and three story circles.
Item 1: Trans Story Circle #1, January 22, 2020
(01:37:24) In this story circle, participants take turns sharing their stories regarding the topic of “coming in vs. coming out.” After an ice-breaker and introductions, Juniper Alliston, the story circle co-facilitator, explains that the goal of the story circle is to talk about what “coming in” to identity means for the participants, rather than just a focus on stories about coming out to peers, friends, and family. Alliston (she/her/hers pronouns) starts by sharing her own story. She speaks first about coming out and then about the experience of coming in. She shares that she has come out several times throughout her life and also shares her experiences coming in to her identity. She reflects on examples of identity exploration from her earlier life. The next person to share their story is Ray Wolf (he/him/his pronouns). He shares that his story is divided into two periods and it has a focus on mental health. He shares his experiences growing up in Spain, reflects on the trauma and loss he has endured during his adolescence, and describes his experiences finding community and support now living in the United States. Caden DeLoach (they/them/their pronouns) shares their story next. They begin by reflecting on Wolf’s thoughts about building a masculinity which is different from dominant culture’s masculinity; they talk about their experiences in the Navy; and they express their thoughts on their transition experience. The next person to share their story is Kate Schilke (she/her/hers pronouns). She begins her story by talking about coming out and shares how this impacted her personal and professional experiences. She reflects on where she found her support network and the challenges she endured, including her experiences with mental health, as she transitioned. The next person to share has chosen to remain anonymous and will be referred to as “A” (they/them/their pronouns). They reflect on their coming out experience, their thoughts on their identity, and their relationship with their parents in relation to both of those subjects. A also discusses their experiences related to their medical transition and their social life on the OSU campus in relation to their identity. Quincy Meyers is the next person to share hir story (ze/hir/hirs pronouns). Ze begins by talking about hir childhood and shares being diagnosed with an intersex variation known as ‘Turner’s syndrome’ at the age of 12 and navigating the healthcare system as a teenager. Ze then talks about hir experiences of coming to understand hir gender identity through gender euphoria and talks about hir family and hir relationships with them, especially her grandmother. The story circle then opens up as Quincy continues to share hir story and others chime in with their reflections and thoughts. Some topics that are spoken about are ‘passing’, body dysphoria, and the societal erasure of non-binary identities and experiences. The group then spends some more time unpacking ‘non-binary’ identity. They discuss how gender and the gender binary are a social construct and a part of colonization. The group talks about Quincy’s grandmother with Quincy reflecting on hir relationship with her. The group spends some time unpacking how death is often used by cis society as a metaphor for describing someone’s transition and how problematic this metaphor can be. Wolf describes how cis people do not understand how tiring and exhausting it can be to experience transphobia. Alliston notes that the story circle was healing. She wraps up the event by thanking everyone and sharing information about future events. Audio and full transcription are available online.
Item 2: Mina Carson - History of HST 368, January 29, 2020
(0:59:05) As Professor Mina Carson has previously shared an interview for the OSU Queer Archive, this interview primarily focuses on the development and history of the class she taught for 25 years, HST 368 “Lesbian and Gay Movements in Modern America.” A course name which she mentions that she hopes to change to something more inclusive of the diverse identities in queer communities. Carson begins with her course’s main topics and objectives and then moves on to its structure. Using a wide array of videos thanks to OSU’s subscription to Kanopy, an academic-style video-streaming website, she explains that she mainly sticks to a chronological time frame in terms of historical events covered in the course. In addition to the videos, Carson holds discussions and reflections based on assigned written materials. More recently, Carson has partnered her class with the OSU Queer Archive and assigns a term-wide group project to interview a individual within or involved with the LGBTQ community to add to the OSQA. The interview then migrates towards the development of the course, from when it was first formulated, to the expansion to “primitive” e-campus classes, and the differences between the type of course styles. She touches on co-teaching the course and the support the course received from other faculty on campus. The sociopolitical climate at the time of the course’s creation in the 1990s was brought into play. Carson points out that, thankfully, there was a strong LGBTQ (specifically lesbian) presence in Benton and Linn Counties. She states that in the 1990s, current events played a huge role in the class, including major Oregon Citizens Alliance ballot measures and community activism, and she notes that cultural climate plays an important role in her teaching/subject matter. From there, she talks about the Difference, Power, and Discrimination program within OSU, and how the goal of creating the class was to expand it into that program. However, HST 368 began as a history class, and is an option for majors and minors within the History program. She later discusses the schedule, size, and timing of the class and how those impact the class environment, and she expands on the older, no-longer used material previously assigned in the course. The topic of “coming out” comes up. Carson remarks on her struggles with this monumental decision in regards to sharing her personal life with her students and expands further into comparison with other LGBTQ individuals her age. She did note that she is more comfortable walking into the class every day in comparison to the past, and that the students seem to have a more laid back approach to sexual and gender identity. Lastly, she touches more on the progression of student culture and the shifting variety of students who choose to take the class. Interview video available online.
Item 3: Trystan Reese and Biff Chaplow, February 5, 2020
(1:34:18) Reese and Chaplow begin their interview by giving a brief background on themselves and their relationship. Reese begins by discussing his coming out story and childhood, and briefly touches on his decision to become pregnant. Chaplow then talks about their childhood and the hardships that they faced in coming out in a conservative town. A good portion of their interview was spent talking about their decision to have Reese get pregnant and the backlash that they faced as a result, especially the Daily Mail article written about them. Once they discuss Reese’s pregnancy they move on to answering questions from the class, beginning with the controversy surrounding the “first” pregnant man and the damage that their story did. Discussions of transphobia and dating as a trans person in this digital age come up, and lead them to eventually discuss relationship advice and how to overcome adversity in long-term relationships. Reese and Chaplow also talk about the process of adopting Chaplow’s niece and nephew early on in their relationship and how that has impacted both them and their children. They discuss their parenting style and how they are treated as a queer couple in the Portland area. They wind down the interview by discussing Reese becoming internationally famous, astrology, and the decision to bring their children to church. Chaplow talks about how they felt robbed of the church because of the homophobia they were presented with, and they want to bring the joy that the church brought them as a child to their children. The interview ends on a positive, cheerful note with their son, Leo, coming in and being very excited to see his dads and the class. Interview video available online.
Item 4: Trans Story Circle #2, February 12, 2020
Summary Forthcoming. Audio not yet available online.
Item 5: DJ Travers, February 16, 2020
(2:02:28) DJ Travers is a former member and one of the “founding mothers” of the Lesbian Avengers in Corvallis. Travers speaks of his early childhood when he was known as Amy. He mentions that growing up he always wanted to dress in more boy clothes and that he would try to sneak his brother’s clothes but eventually got caught by his mother. He also mentions that he grew up with strict and conservative parents which made it really difficult for him to understand who he was. He explains his fear of being sent to get psychiatric care and his parents’ fear when he came out that he would sexually prey upon his younger sisters; at that time, those who identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community were seen as child predators. He then talks about school and how he was not aware of anyone around him being in the LGBTQ community, because no one was really out. He also speaks of choosing Oregon State University because of its program in his chosen field. Travers then speaks of his role in the Lesbian Avengers. He explains how he initially heard about the Lesbian Avengers because of the uproar in New York after the murders of Oregon residents Hattie Mae Cohen and Brian Mocks, and how it felt crazy that the murders had happened in Oregon, yet he never even heard about it. He and a few other people banded together in order to strengthen the community and show that they were here to stay. He mentions his experience that during the 1990s, if you weren’t a white cisgendered male, school was going to be really hard for you and the OSU administration wouldn’t do much about it. Travers explains that he wanted to incorporate other communities into the Lesbian Avengers in order to strengthen their group, much to the dismay of Sarah Schulman, the New York based scholar and founder of the Lesbian Avengers. But he argues that we were all in the same struggle of not being able to fit in the “normal” groups that society had created and being criticized for it unfairly. Travers turns to his current views and his life. He talks about the expansion and increased inclusivity of language related to queer identities. He explains that he loves the fact that we are learning and arguing and getting into more depth about the words we use, because we should really learn how to express ourselves the way we want to. He discusses the Lesbian Avengers’ work in going to local high schools and helping the students create GSAs in their schools when no one else would help. People admired Travers for his willingness to help and would often come to him when they didn’t know where else to go. When asked what he would say to his younger self if he had that opportunity, he said that he knows that his younger self would probably be so confused, but he would just say that they are going to get through it and that they will find people who will love them for who they are. Although it won’t be easy, it will all be worth it. Interviewers: Avery Carr, Alice Desai, and Aitofi (Tofi) Mago. Interview video available online.
Item 6: Julie Derrick, February 16, 2020
(1:16:10) In this interivew, Julie Derrick speaks about her life and time as a Lesbian Avenger. She starts by talking about her origins in Twin Falls, Idaho, and she speaks of wanting to leave her small town to move somewhere bigger where she can be herself. She recalls that when her eldest sister came home from college with the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack and New Wave music, that is when she felt hope that she’d make it out of the small towns she grew up in. When she graduated from high school, Derrick decided to go to college at the University of Idaho in Moscow; she majored in communications and graduated in 1989. After coming out as a lesbian in 1992, she joined activist groups and learned about the Lesbian Avengers in Portland, Oregon. She reflects back on the fear and anger she felt directed at the LGBTQ+ community in the 1990s which stemmed from her own experiences with the Oregon Citizen’s Alliance and Neo-Nazi groups in Portland that would gather outside the Lesbian Avengers headquarters. Appreciating the Lesbian Averngers’ goal to give a voice to marginalized groups, including queer people, she wanted to be part of their change. What she liked about the Lesbian Avengers was that they were punk and a call for action group that elevated marginalized voices. Derrick then explains that after coming out to her mother, who felt like she did something wrong that led to Derrick being a lesbian, her mother met Derrick’s chosen family. Her chosen family was a group of queer kids who had been abandoned by their families. Her mother saw this and she more or less adopted the kids as her own and this revelation led to Derrick and her mom becoming even closer. Derrick shares that she moved to Corvallis in 1995 to join her partner at the time, DJ Travers. Derrick goes on to talk about her time as a teacher for the Corvallis Montessori school while her partner was a student at Oregon State University. In 1995, Derrick, Travers, and other members of the community in Corvallis particiapted in the first meeting of the Lesbian Avengers Corvallis chapter. She then speaks about the actions of the Lesbian Avengers in Corvallis, such as the Fire Eating at the day-long vigil in front of the OSU Memorial Union. This was in reaction to the murders of Roxanne Ellis and Michele Abdill, shot to death in a hate crime at the end of 1995. Lastly, Derrick talks about her current life in Portland and her business as a shoe cobbler. The interview concludes with a reflection from Derrick in which she reads a small biography she wrote in a zine called “Necessary Friction” in the mid-1990s, and she talks about how she’s changed since her Lesbian Avengers days. Interviewers: Laura (Love) Rathbun, Molly Aton, and Madilyn Sturges. Interview video available online.
Item 7: Disabled and Queer Story Circle, February 25, 2020
Summary Forthcoming. Audio not yet available online.
Item 8: Robyn Leigh Tanguay, February 28, 2020
(0:22:21) In this interview, Robyn Leigh Tanguay focuses on her ideas and advice about coming out as a trans person, as well as some of her experiences within her professional career, future research, and influences in her life. Tanguay states that her thoughts of gender identity began when she was very young, pinpointing the age of five, but she didn’t know exactly what to make of it. She further explains that the relationship she had with the LGBT community and LGBT issues of the time were limited to hearing negative rhetoric. Growing up in a Catholic environment, she had limited access to information about gender identity. This changed when Tanguay moved to California, and in high school, where she was able to gain better access to information and live in a more progressive environment. She observes later in the interview that one of the most shocking moments after her move from the Midwest to the West Coast was the first-time running track and seeing someone who wasn’t white running alongside her. The topic then changes to the initial moments of coming out. Tanguay states that her perception of her professional career and personal life were mutually exclusive, believing that she couldn’t have one without the other. When asked about her advice for other people questioning their gender identity and going through coming out, she states that this experience varies with the community with which you surround yourself. She says that coming out is scary and the process never stops. Finding people that listen and provide their perspective is a first step. Additionally, she says that one of the most important parts is realizing that gender identity and coming out are not the only aspects of life; it’s the decisions you make that make you who you are. She states that coming out is an experience that is never finished. Interviewers: Alvin Jaury, Hannah Preiser, and Angelo Ursini. Interview video available online.
Item 9: Dan Dawhower, March 2, 2020
(0:45:21)  In this interview, Dan Dowhower talks about his experience being a gay man throughout his life, starting with his childhood. He speaks about coming out to his family after a conversation with his mother around the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic was in its prime and how that impacted his relationship with his relatives. He also shares his experiences as a young man while having a stable partner since the age of 19. Dowhower then shares his journey towards adoption during a time where same-sex couples were not allowed to have the paperwork to be married. He explains how hard it was for him and his partner to adopt in Ohio. He observes that he and his partner were not interested in being married, and the only reason they did it was to adopt children because it was a life-long dream for Dowhower's partner. They faced rejection from the Christian community and other organizations and found love and acceptance in a place where they didn't expect it: the Jewish community. Towards the end of the interview, Dowhower remarks on the differences he perceives in the Queer community now and then. He talks about the word Queer, its meaning and impact on folks of other generations. He discusses changes in how the community is perceived and an increased level of acceptance. Interviewers: Ray Wolf, Wynton Skowrup, and David Ford. Interview video available online.
Item 10: Brian Parks, March 4, 2020
(1:15:38) Parks begins his interview sharing information about his childhood. Because his father was in the military, he moved many times as a child, but lived in Dallas, Texas, until he graduated from high school. He shares that his parents were happily married, and they actually met while attending Oregon State University. He expresses that he had a more than ideal childhood; his family was comfortably middle class and Texas was a great playground for him when he was younger. Parks observes that he knew he was gay at the age of seven, having innocent crushes on boys. Entering high school, he found his people in the marching bands, which he remarks was something to be really proud of in Texas. He was part of the black shirt punk group and would get bullied in high school, with jocks saying “faggot” under their breath while passing in the halls. Parks switched high schools his senior year to a place that he reflects, wasn’t full of rich white boys. He explains that while growing up, he would often visit Oregon and the Oregon State campus, so there was no doubt in his mind about where he was going to go for college. He started OSU as a botany major and found friends very quickly and easily in the dorms. He started attending what was then called the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Alliance Club. They needed to have a male head chairperson, so he offered to take the position and shortly after that he came to terms with his sexuality and was on the front page of The Barometer for National Coming Out Day. He reflects that he started getting very close to Julie Derrick and DJ Travers, who were the leaders of the Lesbian Avengers Corvallis chapter. He lived with them and recalls that they joked their house contained the entire queer community of Corvallis. He doesn’t recall all the events that the Avengers ran, because he wasn’t involved in most of them, but he does say that every one of the events that the Avengers planned was brilliantly thought out and executed, with the purpose of bringing awareness to the oppression faced by the LGBTQ community. During this time, the mid-1990s, the political and cultural climates in Oregon were heated, and he helped collaborate as much as he could as an honorary member of the Lesbian Avengers. He shares that he did not graduate from OSU because he was caught up in all of the activism and never thought twice about where his priorities lay. However, he eventually started culinary school at Linn Benton Community College as he felt it was a much better fit for him. He shares that he owns the Bellhop Restaurant in downtown Corvallis, and has a husband of ten years. Interviewers: Emelia Paullus and Stephanie Ignacio. Interview video available online.
Item 11: Ray Wolf, March 12, 2020
(0:24:17) Ray Wolf talks about his childhood growing up in Spain and his journey in finding his identity. He was born and raised in Spain as a girl, and talks about his journey through several identities, including lesbian girl, straight man, and trans man. He talks about the role that the Catholic Church played in his childhood and his struggle to accept himself and how he felt about himself as a child and as a teenager. He remembers the feeling of not knowing how to deal with what he felt until he discovered the internet and other resources that he could use to get answers to questions that he couldn’t ask those around him. He then talks about the discovery of Pride as a negative exposure in his home environment and finding others like himself in Madrid. He remembers, as a junior in high school, which was his last year at high school in Spain, that other students would come to him for advice instead of the teachers or other adults because the subject of being queer was taboo in his high school. He also talks about the struggle with dysphoria instead of his gender, and feeling at home in his body once he started testosterone. At the end of his story, he talks about the vast differences between the community in the United States compared to Spain. He talks about seeing all of the Pride flags on display all the time in Corvallis, and compares it to the lack of display or feeling of community in Spain, saying that you only see Pride flags in Spain when it is Pride week and only in specific areas. He says that the sudden availability of community and information really helped in his journey and figuring out how to be himself. He ends by giving a message of hope to others who are in similar situations to his own. He tells them that it does get better, no matter how bad it may seem. He implores them to avoid isolating themselves and to reach out to those around them or in the LGBT+ community for help and advice. Interviewers: Caitlin Walsh and Alex Sturgeon. Interview video available online.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.