WNC LGBTQIA Oral History Library

Displaying 1 - 25 of 47


Matthew Alvarez  

A pansexual queer shares their struggles with stigma and the role that DRAG has played in helping them to discover and express themselves.
Matthew, a pansexual queer, was born on May 28, 1998, on the St. Petersburg military base in Virginia. Matthew is a 1st generation Hispanic college student studying sociology at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Matthew knew from a young age that he felt different in terms of his sexuality and eventually came out at 16 years old to one other person who unfortunately did not keep his secret. As he grew older, Matthew felt ostracized because of his sexuality. During his time in college and living in Cullowhee, he became more connected with the LGBTQIA+ through friends and…
Topics: Military Childhood and Family Names | College and Coming Out Journey | LGBTQ+ Representation at Western Carolina U | Relationship with Rural LGBTQ Community and Existing | High School Stories | Drag Culture in Cullowhee | Drag Inspirations and LGBTQ+ Mentors |

Antiga, Part 1  

Antiga was born in 1932 in the old mission hospital in Asheville, NC. Her father was 25 years older than her mother when she born. Antiga’s upbringing was shaped by her tumultuous relationship with her anti-Semitic father which would build the foundation of her activism. After graduating from Stephen’s Lee High School, she moved to Ohio where she attended Worcester college for two years before transferring to UNC Chapel Hill. At UNC Chapel Hill she met her husband in the school cafeteria to whom she was married to for 22 years. After realizing she preferred women over men, she left…
Topics: Introductions | History of Childhood | Nuclear Family, Was-Band, and Children | Divorce, Relationships, and Coming Out | Politics of Being a Lesbian | Inspiration and Mentors | Back to Asheville | Growing Up with "Two Mothers" | Current Needs of Asheville Lesbians | Politics of Last Names

Antiga, Part 2  

She begins the continuation of her oral history interview by talking about the current state of patriarchy and feminism. As Antiga continues to talk about the feminism movement, she reveals the countless marital and family she has incurred due to her activism in the feminist movement. The most impactful of these costs was the loss of contact between she and her two sons. The focus shifts to women’s suffrage movement, and Antiga’s relationship with it. She reveals her family has a long-standing relationship with the suffrage movement involving her mother and grandmother. Antiga’s activism stretches far beyond just the feminist…
Topics: Politics of Last Names (continuation from previous interview) | The Current State of Feminism | The Cost of Feminism: Family Strife | The Women's Suffrage Movement | Taking on the School Board in Minnesota | The Intersection of Lesbianism and Feminism | Artistic Endeavors | Being a Witch | Co-counseling and Reevaluation Counseling | Antiga's Education, Marriage, and Motherhood | One More Song

Nancy Asch  

Nancy and her wife came to Western North Carolina from Boston in 2005. She was born and raised in the Bronx of New York City where she had a very liberal and socially active upbringing. After graduating high school, Nancy left New York to attend Vassar College in Philadelphia where she continued her socially active ways. After leaving Philadelphia, her passion for music brought her to the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. While in Boston she became a social worker working with HIV/AIDS patients. Nancy also came out as lesbian while living in Boston. Nancy’s work with the…
Topics: Introduction | Moving to Western North Carolina | Living in Boston, Massachusetts | Growing Up in New York City | Practicing Social Work | The Benefits of Political Organizations and Activities in Asheville, North Carolina | Developing a Community and Support Network in Asheville, North Carolina | Girls Rock | Exposure to People of Different Race and Class Backgrounds | Coming Out | Significant Changes and Development | Paving the Road for Future Generations | Race and the Progressive Movement in Asheville, North Carolina

Danny B  

Danny B is a trans-person who moved to Swannanoa in 1996. They were originally from Florida in an area with a heavy latinx culture and had a lot of latinx heritage that they got from their grandmother who moved from Columbia to America when she was 14 to get married to Danny’s grandfather. The move caused them to lose a lot of this culture and heritage since Swannanoa was much more of a southern culture, lacking in any real latinx community making the transition even harder. They always knew they were tans or felt like they were more of a…
Topics: Dan Describes Himself, Born Richmond, KY | Coming Out Journey | Joining LGBTQ+ Community | Developing Self Autonomy, AIDS Rhetoric in Childhood | Leaving Marriage and Then Covid Arrives | A New Relationship | Stand Up Comedy and LGBTQ Gathering Spaces

Dan Baechtold  

Listen to the history of Dan Baechtold, a gay man, as he was talks about how he grew up in Kentucky. Learn how he lived his life for many years as a straight man who was married to a loving wife for 20 plus years and fathering two children. He never felt truly like himself though and when he was in his mid-40’s he decided to be honest with himself and his family and come out as gay. Talking about how he was thankfully than most of his family and friends accepted his truth and were happy to see him…
Topics: Dan Describes Himself, Born Richmond, KY | Coming Out Journey | Joining LGBTQ+ Community | Developing Self Autonomy, AIDS Rhetoric in Childhood | Leaving Marriage and Then Covid Arrives | A New Relationship | Stand Up Comedy and LGBTQ Gathering Spaces |

Barbara Bell  

Meet a nurse and LGBTQ ally who spent much of her life doing something about the HIV/AIDS Crisis
Barbara Bell, a LGBTQIA ally who grew up in White Plains New York, went to nursing school in the 1960’s. Once graduating nursing school, she began working in the VA hospitals in North Carolina finally settling at the VA in Asheville. While working with the VA she began to become concerned with the treatment of many HIV/AIDS patients that came through the VA, especially the LGBTQIA patients and decided something needed to change. After realizing the mistreatment that was taking place, she worked with her boss to have to begin working these patients to provide better services and treatment during…
Topics: History and Passion | Involvement with the LGBT+ population in Western North Carolina | On Being an Ally | Progress of Stigmatization of HIV/AIDS in Asheville, NC | Privilege and More Community Involvement | Inspirational People in the LGBT+ Movement | Modern LGBT+ Biases and Intolerance | Involvement with Blue Ridge Pride | What Can We Do?

Jessica Britton  

Topics: Introduction | Asheville Native | LGBT Environment | LGBT Involvement | Growing Diversity | Impact On LGBT Community | Getting Fired | Getting outed | Experiences of Discrimination | Coming Out | Pride Festival | Trans Veterans | Trans Police Officers | Favorite Memories | Pride Festivals | Phoenix Transgender Support Group | Groups modeled after Phoenix | Impact of Other Individuals | Meaning of Reflection | Local Medical Care | Extreme Right Wing and Native Groups | Childhood Gender Identity | Theater Experience | Contact With Diverse Groups | Being a Trans Christian | Inclusive Religious Community | Work With Preachers | Public Experience | Supporting the LGBT Community | Greatest Satisfaction | Depression in the LGBT Community | Change Over Time | Advice Going Forward | Conclusion

Jim Cavener, Part 1 

Topics: Gay Publications & Journalism | Career and Moving | The Gay Scene in Asheville, Then and Now | Current Efforts To Form Community | Growing Up | Movements in the 50s, 60s, and 70s |

Zeke Christopolous  

Topics: Introduction | Moved to Asheville in 2000 | Changes in Asheville's Reputation as Inclusive and HB 2 | LGBTQ+ Gathering In and Beyond Bar Culture | Future for LGBTQ+ Community in Asheville | Zeke's Young Life | Otherness In Childhood and Wanting to be a Boy | Ancestors and Family in "Two Senses of the Word" | Faith Communities in Asheville and Formative LGBTQ+ Organizations (2001 | Faith Experience in Asheville and Training for LGBTQ+ Inclusion | Healthcare and Health Issues in WNC | Educational History and Search for Identity | Social Activism and Educational LGBTQ+ Advocacy Work | Good and Bad Experiences with Social Services and Housing Insecurities

Roseanna Coates  

Topics: Rosie describes herself and her early days in Asheville (1979-1983) | Rosie Joins the U.S. Army, 1983 | Rosie's Childhood and Musical Abilities | Rosie Realizes She Is A Lesbian in College | Facing Homophobia and Discrimination in College | Early LGBTQ Bars in Asheville (1979 to late 1980s) | Living Closeted / Living Out with Family | Developing Pride and Self Acceptance | Asheville's Early Pride Festivals, 1991 | O'Henry's, A Hub of LGBTQ Support, and Asheville's Bar History | Asheville Lesbians and Building a Downtown Mecca | Transgender Presence in Asheville (1970s / 80s) and Holly Boswell's Legacy | Racial Integration in Asheville's LGBTQ Community | Law Enforcement and LGBTQ Community in Asheville | Evolving Asheville Reputation

Dan Coleman  

Topics: Western North Carolina native | Living Queer in the South, Coming Out Journey | Accepting My Gay Identity; Seeking LGBTQ Resources | Locating Allies in High School and Self- Actualization | LGBTQ Inclusion at UNC Asheville and Building a Queer Family | Rural LGBTQ Identity, Assimilating, and an Evolving Landscape | The Fear of Coming Out to Your Parents; Managing Family Expectations | How Things Have Changed, Teaching in a Private vs Public School Environment | Wishes for Future LGBTQ Community Building

Jerry Conner  

Topics: Coming Out and Finding Gay Identity Later in Life | Local Gay Bars, Organizations, and Bookstores of Past and Present | Asheville Pride in 1980s and 1990s/ Inclusivity of Local Gay Bar Scene | Relationship with Parents | Community Connections/Future for Asheville's Gay Community |

Yvonne Cook-Riley , Part 1 

Topics: Introduction | Childhood | The Transgendered Experience | Coming to Asheville, North Carolina | A Neutral Amount of Life Improvement Since Coming to Asheville | An Interest and Love of the Natural World | The Farm and Femininity | Academic Performance in Grade School | Coming Out | Enlisting in the US Air Force | Marriage and Children | Awareness of the Gay Community | A Coming Out Experience | Experiences and Exposures During the s | Isolated Communities | The Beginning of Her Path

Yvonne Cook-Riley, Part 2  

Topics: The Monastic Experience & Kindred Souls | The Relationship Between the Trans Community & The International Foundation for Gender Education | Stigmatization

Heidi Finemore and Clara Tracy  

Topics: Introductions | Involvement with Local LGBTQ+ Organizations | Building a Support Network in Asheville | Personal Identities | Experiences as a Couple | Frequent Interactions as a Trans Woman | Coming Out Stories | First Time in a Queer Space | Connections Fostered by the LGBTQ Community/ Reflections on Personal Growth and Awareness | Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ Community | Support Needs for Western North Carolina's LGBTQ+ Community | Favorite Stories as a Couple | Finding Satisfaction in Life |

Lorena Russell and Kitty Hancock, Part 1  

Topics: Introduction | Residence in Western, North Carolina | Childhood Memory | Coming Out Narratives | Defining Coming Out | First Gay-related Event | Dating Life Stories | UNC-Asheville | Veterans Affairs LGBTQ Programs | Support Network in Western, North Carolina | LGBTQ Community Activism | Contact with Different People | First Meeting | Favorite Memory Together | LGBTQ Media Representation | Educational Background | Conclusion

Lorena Russell and Kitty Hancock, Part 2  

Topics: Involvement in the Women's Liberation Movement | Intersectionality in the LGBTQ+ Community and Local Groups | Networking with Notable Members of Western North Carolina's LGBTQ+ Community | Homophobic Experiences | The Evolution of Politics | The Importance of Visibility

Michael Harney, Part 1  

Topics: Moving to Western North Carolina and Experiencing Asheville's Growth | Community Work in Asheville | Childhood and Family Relationships | Coming Out | Early Gay Experiences and Events | LGBTQ+ Community Involvement During the 1990s | The Evolution of the AIDS and HIV Epidemic | AIDs Advocacy Work | Local LGBT Activist | Self and Life Satisfaction |

Michael Harney, Part 2  

Topics: Attending Belmont Abbey and Making His Way to Asheville | Choosing a Spanish Degree and Times Abroad in Costa Rica | Gay Scene in Costa Rica, 1986 | Early HIV Awareness and Advocacy | Racial Consciousness and Gay Liberation | Radical Faeries | The Shift From Anonymous to Confidential HIV Testing | Biological Family Relations | Harney's Relationship with Paul | Western NC Aids Project (WNCAP) Work | Changes in LGBTQ+ Community Across Decades | Claiming Your Power |

Kelly Harrison  

Topics: Introduction | Childhood in Hot Springs, NC | Coming Out as Gay | Living a closeted life | LGBT Community and Role Models in Youth | Aids Crisis in High School; First Pride Event | Going to College and Searching for LGBT Community | LGBT Organizations in Asheville C.L.O.S.E.R. and Avoiding the Gay Bar Scene | Gay Bar Scene in Asheville, NC | Mental Health Therapy and Coming Out | HIV Blindness and Health Service Experiences | Social Work Background and Leaving that Field | Spiritual Journey and Welcoming Institutions | Assessing Diversity in Asheville's LGBT Community

Kelly Harrison  

Topics: Introduction | Influence of Elders | Helpful Resources | Urban Gay Society | Rural Culture vs Urban Culture | Loss of Identity | Relationship within LGBTQ Community | Label Changes | Feelings on the term Queer | Self-Care | Conclusion

Beth Heinberg  

Topics: Introduction | Asheville | Boston | Youth Outright | Girls Rock Asheville | Pride Festival | Networking | Lack of Diversity | Coming Out | Stigma v.s. Inclusion | Political Action | Intersection of Race | Lesbian Asheville Today

David Hopes 

Topics: Coming to Asheville, NC | Childhood & Teaching at UNCA | Gay Culture in Asheville | On Being A "Gay Writer" | Coming Out | The Asheville Gay Bar Scene and All Souls Episcopal Church | Experiences with HIV and AIDs |

Cortina Jenelle Caldwell  

Topics: Introduction: Biographical Information | What "Rural" Means to Cortina | Growing Up in Morganton and Going to College | Coming Out Journey | Living Black and Queer, School Experiences | LGBTQ+ Role Models | Leaving / Returning to College, Creating a NonProfit | Artists Designing Evolution Project: Entrepreneurship, Storytelling, Service, Education, and Creative Facilitation | Moving "Back Home," Starting a Business, Early LGBTQ Community Experiences | Listening to LGBTQ Youth and Developing Leadership | Shifts in LGBTQ Gathering, How We Socialize Differently
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