Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Susan Shaw Oral History Interview, March 5, 2019

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Introduction and Childhood

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Segment Synopsis: Susan shares her pronouns, what it was like growing up in the conservative south, and how conversations around homosexuality or feminism did not take place in her community.

Keywords: Conservative; Feminism; Religion

00:06:00 - Southern Baptist

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Partial Transcript: What was the Southern Baptist views on homosexuality?

Segment Synopsis: Susan discusses how the anti-gay message from the Southern Baptist church carried over into other parts of her community because there were no people who were open with their sexuality. From a young age Susan did not agree with the power dynamics associated with gender in her church.

Keywords: Community; Gender; LGBTQ; Southern Baptist

00:11:48 - Feminism

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Partial Transcript: When did you become a feminist? What does feminism mean to you?

Segment Synopsis: Susan discusses the exact moment she found her voice as a feminist in seminary school. Long before she came to terms with her sexuality, she felt that the bible is rooted in love which helped her hang onto her faith as she became more aware of her identity.

Keywords: Academia; Feminism; Sexuality

00:17:11 - Southern Baptist Convention, 1992

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Partial Transcript: How did the attitudes towards the LGBTQ community shift in the Southern Baptist community?

Segment Synopsis: Susan discusses the Southern Baptist Convention of 1992 which amended their constitution to exclude any church that implied acceptance of homosexuality and this was the moment she left the church.

Keywords: Exclusion; Exile; Southern Baptist

00:20:40 - Employment

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Partial Transcript: What job did you take after seminary school?

Segment Synopsis: Susan talks about her time at California Baptist University and George Fox University which are both on the West Coast. Additionally she shares that during this time she was realizing her sexuality and having to hide it from her employers was harmful to her emotional health.

Keywords: Academia; Feminism; Religion

00:27:42 - Coming Out

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Partial Transcript: When did you come out? How did your family react?

Segment Synopsis: Susan talks about how a relationship with a woman who was out and proud gave her the courage to do the same. Coming out to her family happened gradually and having a job where she had to hide her sexuality was no longer a healthy option for her.

Keywords: Acceptance; Coming Out; Family; Integrity

00:32:50 - Transition from theology to women's studies

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Segment Synopsis: Susan discusses how she has been able to incorporate her religious background into the courses she teaches today at OSU. She also shares how being involved in this area of academia allows her to stay current on LGBTQ+ issues, language, and intersections of other identities.

00:46:24 - Changes

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Partial Transcript: What changes would you like to see within the LGBTQ+ community?

Segment Synopsis: Susan discusses the importance of intersectionality in the community and not centering whiteness.

00:48:36 - Life Partner

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell us about your life partner, Catherine?

Segment Synopsis: Susan discusses marriage, taxes as a married couple, being the 4th couple in Benton County to gain domestic partnership, and the happiness she shares with Catherine.

Keywords: Domestic Partnership; Marraige; Taxes

00:52:11 - Closing thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Do you have any new dreams or topics that you would like to discuss?

Segment Synopsis: Susan discusses retirement, leading study abroad summer trips with students, ageism in the workplace, and learning how to transition out of career mode.