Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Sara Gelser Oral History Interview, 2016

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

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Partial Transcript: This is Nikki Aman. This is Brett Bishop and we are recording an oral history with senator Sara Gelser for the Queer Archives in the OSU Special Collections Archive. WIll you tell us when and where you were born?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser introduces herself and describes her background, including her childhood, family, and schooling. She also discusses some of the activism and social issues she was interested in during her youth.

00:03:45 - Discussions about LGBTQ+ issues in family and school

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Partial Transcript: In your family or school, were LGBTQ+ issues ever discussed?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser discusses her awareness of LGBTQ+ issues in her youth as well as the conversations taking place in her family and schools about these issues.

Keywords: LGBTQ; family; school; social issues

Subjects: education; family; sexual minorities; social issues

00:05:55 - College life

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Partial Transcript: I understand that you went to college fairly young. What was that like?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser describes her college years and what it was like to attend college at a relatively young age.

Keywords: Education; Quaker; college

Subjects: Colleges and Universities; Education; Quaker

00:07:32 - Interest in politics & activism during college

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Partial Transcript: What got you interested in politics?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser describes how her Quaker roots as well as experiences with raising a disabled child fostered her interest in politics. She also briefly discusses activism during her college years.

Keywords: Politics; Quaker; activism; college; disability; education; social inequality

Subjects: Politics; Quaker; activism; colleges and universities; disability; education; social inequality

00:12:07 - Attending Oregon State University and pursuing interdisciplinary studies

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Partial Transcript: So, I understand you went to OSU briefly. Is that correct? Yes. What was OSU like when you went here and when did you go here?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser describes attending OSU and creating an interdisciplinary program of study that worked for her goals. She also talks about the importance of history and looking at systems of oppression.

Keywords: Oregon State University; college; history; interdisciplinary studies; systems of oppression

Subjects: Oregon State University; colleges and universities; history; interdisciplinary studies; oppression

00:15:47 - Current and past teaching

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Partial Transcript: Have you or are you currently teaching anywhere?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser discusses teaching a parenting class about raising children with special needs.

Keywords: Education; Linn-Benton Community College.; special needs

Subjects: Education; Linn-Benton Community College.; children with disabilities

00:16:15 - Oregon House of Representatives

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Partial Transcript: Could you talk about your time in the Oregon House of Representatives?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser describes her time in the Oregon House of Representatives, including the climate and the types of legislation she was involved in passing.

Keywords: Oregon House of Representatives; legislation

Subjects: Oregon House of Representatives; legislation

00:19:14 - Time as a senator

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Partial Transcript: And, could you talk about your time as a senator?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser describes her time as a senator, with a particular focus on two pieces of legislation that she helped to pass - one related to military benefits for veterans discharged because of their sexual orientation and another related to collecting demographic information at universities.

Keywords: anti-LGBTQ sentiment; demographics; discrimination; military benefits; senate; senator; universities

Subjects: colleges and universities; demographics; discrimination; military; senate; senator

00:23:41 - Legislation supported during career

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Partial Transcript: What pieces of legislation regarding LGBTQ+ issues have you seen or supported in your career?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser describes the different pieces of legislation she has supported throughout her career, ranging from marriage and adoption to bullying.

Keywords: LGBTQ; adoption; bullying; legislation; marriage

Subjects: adoption; bullying; legislation; marriage; sexual minorities

00:30:20 - On Kate Brown

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Partial Transcript: Have you worked with Governor Kate Brown, and, if so, what is that like?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser describes her interactions with Kate Brown, including mentorship, support, and general opinions.

Keywords: Kate Brown; government; politics

Subjects: government; politics

00:34:50 - Upcoming legislation for the LGBTQ+ community

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Partial Transcript: What's next as far as coming legislation for the LGBTQ+ community?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser describes upcoming legislation that she hopes to create to support and protect LGBTQ+ people.

Keywords: LGBTQ; discrimination; exclusion; legislation; politics; segregation; violence

Subjects: discrimination; legislation; politics; segregation; sexual minorities; violence

00:39:24 - Legislation regarding conversion therapy

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Partial Transcript: I'm thinking of a piece of legislation that either passed or is being worked on or something, but it was about conversion therapy in this state. Are you familiar with that? Do you want to talk about that?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser describes a piece of legislation intended to prevent licensed therapists from using conversion therapy on minors. She talks about the resistance to it as well as its purpose.

Keywords: LGBTQ; conversion therapy; minors

00:42:24 - Concluding remarks

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything else that you would like to add or talk about?

Segment Synopsis: Gelser offers some final comments and the interviewers conclude the interview.