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Brian Parks Oral History Interview

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Brian Parks Oral History Interview


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 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.

During this period 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. At the time of the interview, he owned Bellhop Restaurant in downtown Corvallis, and married to a husband of ten years.


Brian Parks


OSU Queer Archives Oral History Collection (OH 034)


Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries


March 4, 2020


Emelia Paullus and Stephanie Ignacio


Born Digital Video




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Emelia Paullus and Stephanie Ignacio


Brian Parks


The Valley Library, Oregon State University

Original Format

Born Digital Video



OHMS Object

Interview Format


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