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LGBTQ Guide: Oral History Interviews

About this Project

The "Making LGBT History at CCBC" project seeks to document the history of LGBT life at Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC). In summer 2022, four student researchers conducted four oral history interviews with past faculty and student leaders of CCBC's LGBT student groups. These four interviews highlight the importance of LGBT student groups as places where students create community and find strength, pride, and purpose in LGBT identities.

 "Making LGBT History at CCBC" is a project of CCBC's Committee for LGBT Advocacy, Support and Inclusion (CLASI) and is made possible thanks to support from CCBC's Humanities for All grant from the Mellon Foundation. Oral history training and interview skills training were provided by Dr. Susan Ferentinos and Prof. Jeremy Caplan. Equipment training was provided by Prof. Beth Baunoch. We would like to thank Emerald Lodgen for in-studio support and Dr. Natasha Cole-Leonard for assistance preparing the proposal for funding. Prof. Jill Burke and Dr. Christine Dubowy were facilitators of this project and lead the CLASI Archive Project subcommittee. Prof. Kid Kidd is a valuable member of the CLASI Archive Project subcommittee. This project was inspired by the ACT UP Oral History Project and the Making Gay History podcast. Our logo is an homage to the Making Gay History podcast.

To learn more about getting involved in the future please contact Prof. Jill Burke and Dr. Christine Dubowy at our CCBC email addresses.

The Fight to Create an LGBT Student Group at Essex Community College in the 1970s: An Interview with Andre Powell by Liv Yates

Setting the Scene: An Oral History Interview with Mr. Andre Powell

Although LGBTQ+ individuals have always existed, they have a long history of being denied equal access and opportunity, and the state of Maryland is no exception. During the 1970s, many same-sex individuals sought licenses to get married, leading some states to outright ban same-sex marriage, with Maryland being the first (The State of Marriage Equality in America). During the 70s, gay liberation activists started encouraging other LGBTQ+ individuals to openly identify as a part of the community to display pride and allow society to see that there are many LGBTQ+ members (Ferentinos). LGBTQ+ groups started forming in Maryland, including Baltimore’s Gay Liberation Front, the Baltimore Gay Alliance, and the Gay Student Alliance at the University of Maryland. Additionally, community centers such as the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore and LGBTQ+ underground newspapers would form. While those groups were coming together in the 70s, Andre Powell was working to form his own LGBTQ+ student group, the Essex Gay Student Union, at the Essex Community College, now the Community College of Baltimore County. I sat down with Andre who explained the origins of the Essex Gay Student Union, which was the first gay student club at Essex, and what it meant to be a gay man in the 70s.  

References

Ferentinos, Susan, Egerman, Benjamin. Maryland LGBTQ Historic Context Study, 2020, https://www.preservationmaryland.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/maryland-lgbtq-historic-context-study-september-2020-full-web.pdf 

Office of the Attorney General. (2015, April). The State of Marriage Equality in America, https://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Reports/The%20State%

20of%20Marriage%20Equality%20in%20America%202015.pdf 

Interview Highlights

A Second Home for CCBC’s Rainbow Club: An Interview with Tami Jackson-Lincoln by Lisen Gottvall

Setting the Scene: An Oral History Interview with Tami Jackson-Lincoln

Dazio, S. (2012, February 24). Same-sex marriage in D.C.: A Timeline. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-same-sex-marriage-in-dc-a-timeline/2012/02/24/gIQAZoFTYR_blog.html 

Creating Spaces where LGBT Students, Faculty, and Staff Can Thrive: An Interview with Dr. Morgan Slusher by Kris Rudolph

Setting the Scene: An Oral History Interview with Dr. Morgan Slusher 

The year is 1995. Dr. Morgan Slusher joins Essex Community College. At the time, federal courts were denying discrimination protection for gay and lesbian persons pertaining to housing, employment, or other matters of concern. Organizations and individuals were encouraged to take their concerns up with local authorities. This same year, lawmakers rejected a gay rights bill in Maryland that would have prohibited discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation.  

It was not until 2001 that Maryland issued statewide protections against discrimination based on an individual's sexual orientation, though it is unclear exactly what those protections covered. Then in 2013, same-sex marriages were finally legalized and went into effect in January. While some LGBTQIA+ laws and protections have changed, there is still a long way to go. LGBTQIA+ history and human rights education is still lacking in most grade schools, as well as many colleges. Formerly Essex Community College, CCBC (Community College of Baltimore County) now offers “Women’s Studies” as well as “Racial and Cultural Minorities,” but they do not offer any LGBTQIA+ centered courses.  

CCBC is dedicated to ensuring that their own history is preserved for future generations. By creating these oral history interviews, we assure that individual pieces of LGBTQIA+ history are preserved for future generations to come. Thanks to the programs, policies, and efforts of Dr. Morgan Slusher both students and faculty can find their community space at CCBC. Please watch Dr. Slusher’s interview to hear about some of the special projects and programs that he has inspired, created, and collaborated on during his time at CCBC.

References

Freedom for All Americans. (2018, February 18). LGBTQ Non-discrimination in the States: Maryland.  Retrieved August 2, 2022, from https://freedomforallamericans.org/category/states/md/ 

Morris, J.A. (1995, March 14). Md. House panel kills gay-rights bill. Baltimore Sun.  https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-1995-03-14-1995073055-story.html 

Slusher, M. P., Mayer, J. C., & Dunkle, R. E., (1996, February 1). Gays and Lesbians Older and Wiser (GLOW): A Support group for older gay people. The Gerontologist, 36(1), 118-123. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/36.1.118 

Interview Highlights

 

Finding Identity and Activism at CCBC: An Interview with Ken Jiretsu by Joie Johnson

Setting the Scene: an Oral History Interview with Mr. Ken Jiretsu

Between the years of 2010 and 2014, when Ken Jiretsu attended CCBC (Community College of Baltimore County), there had been a lot of advancement in the laws surrounding lives of LGBTQ+ citizens in the United States and more specifically Maryland. In 2013 same -sex marriage became legal in Maryland. During this time there was a new deeper understanding of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals. However there was not really an understanding of transgender and nonbinary individuals. In 2017 around 56% of US adults believed that whether someone is a man or a woman is determined by the sex they were assigned at birth (Minkin & Brown 2021). 

 Ken Jiretsu attended CCBC at a time where there was not much support for transgender individuals. This influenced Mr. Jiretsu to commit to a career of advocacy for transgender individuals while also experiencing his own journey of transitioning, starting with his interest in CCBC’s Rainbow Club. Maryland is a state that has particularly supported and improved transgender rights. In 2014 the general assembly of Maryland passed a bill to protect transgender individuals from discrimination by landlords and employers based on their identity (Johnson 2014). Even with these impactful changes there was still so much that needed improvement, which kept Ken on his road to advocacy. In the following interview he discusses his journey, starting his career in advocacy, and the influence his time at CCBC had on finding his passion.  

References

Johnson, J. (2014, March 27). Maryland approves legislation addressing transgender rights. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 5, 2022, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/md-lawmakers-pass-legislation-banning-discrimination-against-transgender-people/2014/03/27/c455b43a-b5e8-11e3-8cb6-284052554d74_story.html  

Minkin, R., & Brown, A. (2021, July 27). Rising shares of U.S. adults know someone who is transgender or goes by gender-neutral pronouns. Pew Research Center. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/07/27/rising-shares-of-u-s-adults-know-someone-who-is-transgender-or-goes-by-gender-neutral-pronouns/  

Learn more about Hearts and Ears, the peer-run LGBTQIA+ mental health, wellness, and recovery center where Ken is currently Executive Director: https://www.heartsandears.org/

Interview Highlights