OSQA and History Course Collaboration: the OSQA Oral History Project, Part 3

This winter term 2019, the OSU Queer Archives (OSQA) collaborated for the third time with the history class HST 368 Lesbian and Gay Movements in Modern America with Professor Mina Carson. Our first collaboration took place in 2016 and the second in 2017. This year, the HST 368 students continued the project, adding another 8 interviews to the OSQA oral history collection!

THE INTERVIEWS

Bryant Everett Oral History Interview

While this interview was not conducted by the students, it was conducted as part of the class by the OSQA archivist to act as a model interview.

Date: February 6, 2019
Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Length: 2:41:39
Interviewee: Bryant Everett
Interviewers: Natalia Fernandez

Interview Video and Index

Bio: 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.

Summary: 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.

K.B. Oral History Interview

Date: March 2, 2019
Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Length: 0:43:02
Interviewee: K.B.
Interviewers: Tiana Weeks and Hannah Hunicke

Interview Video and Index

Bio: 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.

Summary: 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. 

Historical Context Essay: The Unitarian Universalist Association was founded in 1961 by a merger between the bodies of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America, both Christian denominations. The UUA, however, is a liberal religious group, an amalgamation of “Eastern and Western religions and philosophies,” according to their website. The first of their seven Principles of practice is to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every person. The sources from which they draw inspiration include direct experience of the transcendent dimension of life, words and deeds of prophets, wisdom from world religions, Judeo-Christian teachings of loving thy neighbor, humanist teachings on reason and science, and spiritual teachings centered on nature. The UUA markets themselves as “open-minded, open-hearted spiritual communities [that] help people lead lives of justice, love, learning and hope.” The UUA prides themselves on focusing on love and spirituality. Critics of the UUA have seen the church as a cult-like organization that struggles with opening up to other races and minorities. The staff’s leadership tends to be white men, even with a supposed open and accepting group that allows women ministers. The UUA President Peter Morales resigned amid controversy over hiring practices on March 30th, 2017. Young people within the church are pushing for younger leadership and advocating for a more open, accepting and inclusive environment. The UUA has young adult groups and campus ministries within their congregations. Within the young adult ministry, social justice, spirituality and worship, and multi-generational pastoral care are highlighted.

Kim Kraemer Oral History Interview

Date: March 3, 2019
Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Length: 0:39:32
Interviewee: Kim Kraemer
Interviewers: Jacob Novotny and Chase Sublette

Interview Video and Index

Bio: Kim 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.

Summary: 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.

Historical Context Essay: Kim Kraemer grew up in the second half of the 20th century in the United States. During this period of United States history, society was largely not accepting of individuals with gender identities that did not conform to socially constructed norms of how people were supposed to behave based on their biological sex. As Kraemer notes in the interview, there was not a lot of available information at the time regarding gender identity or the existence of transgender individuals. Those individuals who did openly express their other gender identities were often exposed to discrimination on multiple levels. These individuals were wrongly treated as if they were just sick or perverted, and faced a severe lack of professional health services such as availability of surgical services to alter the body to match their gender identity, hormone treatments or mental health services. Trans people were also routinely denied equal employment opportunities, access to restrooms that matched how they identified and presented themselves, or safe access to public spaces in general. To Kraemer’s benefit, as noted in the interview, in the 1970s when Kraemer was attending Oregon State University, the feminist movement was gaining traction and visibility. This allowed Kraemer to express non-conforming gender acts more freely as it was becoming more and more acceptable for women to break away from traditional gender norms in a variety of ways.   

Minerva Zayas Oral History Interview

Date: March 5, 2019
Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Length: 0:59:41
Interviewee: Minerva Zayas
Interviewers: Hailey Brooks and Grace Brod

Interview Video and Index

Bio: Minerva 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.

Summary: 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.  

Historical Context Essay: Minerva Zayas was born in Riverside, California and she did not see much LGBTQ+ representation in her childhood. She was unaware of any policy changes or national news surrounding the LGBTQ+ community before adulthood. When we look at this period historically, particularly around the years 2000 to 2010, we can see that there was actually quite a lot going on in California in relation to LGBTQ+ rights. For instance, in 2004 the first ever Trans March was held in San Francisco and not even a year later California’s domestic partnership laws were updated to act almost exactly the same as an actual marriage license. During this time, there was a large focus on same-sex marriage, starting with the marriage of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon in 2004. This may seem early, as same-sex marriage was not officially legalized till 2013, but San Francisco’s mayor at the time, Gavin Newsom, briefly gave city hall the ability to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were the first women to jump at the chance. Quite a few years later, when Zayas was fresh out of high school in Washington and preparing to begin her studies at Eastern Washington University, same-sex marriage was officially legalized in California (and Washington), making waves in communities everywhere but Zayas does not remember being directly affected by them. Around 2004 when she would have been in k-12 school, these LGBTQ+ issues were most likely never brought up by educators or school officials, as such topics were still highly debated. Though many adults knew about the issues going on, they most likely went unspoken around children, especially in institutional education settings. Later when Zayas started college, same-sex marriage would have most likely been a ‘hot topic’ on her college campus. This may help explain why Zayas felt she knew more about LGBTQ+ issues during this time than she did during her childhood.

Susan Shaw Oral History Interview

Date: March 5, 2019
Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Length: 0:59:10
Interviewee: Susan Shaw
Interviewers: Sarah Shields and Kelsie Rust

Interview Video and Index

Bio: Susan 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.

Summary: 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.

Historical Context Essay: Growing up in the south during the ‘60s and ’70s would have greatly influenced Shaw’s feminist views. The women’s movement was active during this time but had not quite influenced the South as much as it had, nor was as popular as it was in the rest of the U.S. Looking for gender equality in the Southern Baptist Convention was improbable. Especially during the Controversy that occurred among Southern Baptists during the ‘80s and ‘90s, that led to the Convention becoming more conservative, misogynistic and homophobic. In 1984, the convention was opposed to ordaining women, and in the early 1990s decided to exclude churches that were in acceptance of or implied acceptance of homosexuality. Since the Southern Baptist Convention is not autonomous, small churches were able to get away with opposing these views but most were excluded from the convention. After being ordained, Susan began receiving negative criticism for being a woman and a feminist and, once she started to realize her sexuality being a lesbian. She was an activist in Oregon during the ballot 9 measures, marriage equality and other rights related issues. Throughout her career, she has been an activist, a feminist and an ally and later a member of the LGBTQ community.

Bradley Boovy – Corvallis Queer Films Fest Oral History Interview

Date: March 7, 2019
Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Length: 0:45:46
Interviewee: Bradley Boovy
Interviewers: Eliya Dunmire and Yoo Jin Seol

Interview Video and Index

Bio: Dr. Bradley 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.

Summary: 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.

Historical Context Essay: The main inspiration for Dr. Boovy’s interest and involvement in creating the Corvallis Queer Film Festival comes from the historical prevalence of bars within the LGBTQ+ community. Bars have been a major part of queer history as they have acted as a safe space for queer people to be themselves since the sixties. Queer bars originally started as gay and lesbian focused bars as a place for people to seek refuge from the blatant ignorance and prejudice of the times. Bars have also played a major part in the radical improvement and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in history such as with major events like the Stone Wall riots. They have also played a negative part such as with the club kids scene in the nineties located predominately in New York City, New York and their abuse of drugs. There haven’t been many places for persons under twenty-one to congregate, thus Dr. Boovy decided to create a safe queer space for all ages to gather and both witness and discuss queer stories. Dr. Boovy continues to follow the tradition of Queer film festivals. The festivals originally started in in 1979 on a college campus and then eventually evolved into the 1982 Outfest located in Los Angeles, California focused on creating a space for people to see queer stories. Since then, festivals and showcases have blown up, especially in the nineties and early 2000s, and become a popular place for LGBTQ+ people to promote equality and tell their stories.

Cindy Konrad Oral History Interview

Date: March 8, 2019
Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Length: 0:37:52
Interviewee: Cindy Konrad
Interviewers: Andrew Sunderland and Ryan Rundell

Interview Video and Index

Bio: Cindy 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.

Summary: 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.

Historical Context Essay: The oral history of Cindy Konrad provides some context to a particular set of important years in the history of the LGBTQ+ community in Oregon in particular as well as the United States as a whole.  From the date of recording for the oral history, Konrad has lived in Corvallis for three and a half years from the end of 2015 to the beginning of 2019. During this time, the United States saw the election of President Donald Trump.  With this election, brought a lot of racism and tension between different communities in the country into the spotlight. Elected officials were publicly saying racist, homophobic, transphobic, and all kinds of other bigotry to the entire masses of the United States through tweets and posts on social media.  Konrad’s oral history is able to show what the effect of this climate has had on the State of Oregon. Konrad shares a great amount of information that is based around LGBTQ+ community here in Oregon and how it can compare to the culture in the Midwest.

Trina Hogg Oral History Interview

Date: March 12, 2019
Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Length: 0:23:51
Interviewee: Trina Hogg
Interviewers: John Boileau and Haleigh Sudbeck

Interview Video and Index

Bio: Trina Leah Hogg was born in Ontario, Canada in 1980. Her 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.

Summary: 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.

Historical Context Essay: In the simplest of terms, the story of Trina Hogg is the story of someone providing to their students the accommodations which were missing from their own academic career. As a high school student in the mid-1990s, Trina was not exposed to LGBTQ+ members in her community. This continued in her early years as an undergraduate student at Trinity College in Toronto, where she still felt as if she had not been exposed to an LGBTQ+ community. Now, Dr. Hogg is someone who is making her mark in an era where she feels she has the freedom to interact with, mentor, and create healthy environments for LGBTQ+ students. As she states in her interview, this sort of representation of LGBTQ+ people was not present for Dr. Hogg in her early educational career. Now, as the conversations surround LGBTQ+ rights are more important than ever, Dr. Hogg feels she can provide to her students, whether they be LGBTQ+, allies, or someone who has never interacted with a member of the LGBTQ+ community, with a place where they can feel comfortable discussing these topics. Dr. Hogg also provides a particularly rare view on LGBTQ+ issues as she shares her experiences in multiple cities throughout Canada, the United States, and Africa. As a professor of African History, Dr. Hogg moves the discussion of LGBTQ+ issues outside of North America and the “Western World.” This provides a sense of understanding and analysis of LGBTQ+ issues which incorporates experiences and viewpoints from a variety of lived experiences. The importance of this in a historical context is that Dr. Hogg can compare and contrast change over time in a multitude of geographic and socially diverse locations. By providing these wide-ranging viewpoints on LGBTQ+ issues, Dr. Hogg establishes herself as a voice that must be heard in order to understand how LGBTQ+ issues have developed in academia, and how she wishes to see them continue on their development, from the mid-1990s until present day. 

Mina Carson Oral History Interview

Date: March 15, 2019
Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Length: 01:18:07
Interviewee: Mina Carson
Interviewers: Sarah Carroll and Paige Sim

Interview Video and Index

Bio: Dr. Mina 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.

Summary: 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.

Historical Context Essay: Dr. Mina Carson went to high school in the mid-1960s around the time of President Kennedy’s assassination and the Civil Rights Movement. She spent her higher education on the east coast also in relatively liberal areas before she moved to Missouri. She was active in the After 8 local response to Oregon’s Ballot Measure 8 passed that overturned an executive by Governor Neil Goldschmidt in the late 1980s. The group lobbied locally at county and state levels. Now, Carson is involved with movements in whatever ways she can be – whether that is monetary support, photographing events, or participating in marches. Carson uses photography as a way to stay involved in community events. She documents many of Corvallis’s events and protests as well as loving photography, which she taught herself in college. She talks about how important photography is to her and how it allows her to be in the moment and notice her surroundings. As a member of the Corvallis community for approximately 30 years, Carson shares on the evolution of Corvallis and Oregon State University over the years. She talks about her own experiences of Corvallis as a gay woman, safe spaces, M’s Tea and Coffee House, friendships, alliances, and awareness of others. As an institution, Carson notes that OSU had been generally good about listening to grievances of minorities and in her experience, has been supportive. As an academic and historian, Carson spends some time talking about her concerns with the current political climate. She noted the horrors of the current Presidential Administration of Donald Trump, and what her main concerns are. She stressed that along with climate change, women’s and abortion rights, her greatest fears are corruption of the Supreme Court and fear for the sanctity of the Constitution.

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