The Vassar LGBTQ Oral History Project is a partnership between the LGBTQ Center, the Women’s Studies Program and the Vassar College Archives that began in the fall of 2012. The goal of the project is to capture the experiences, stories, and reflections of LGBTQ and ally alumnae/i as well as former and current LGBTQA staff members.
Drew Cordes is a transgenderqueer who graduated from Vassar with a degree in English in 2004. Drew was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Drew moved to Saratoga Springs as a baby, moved to Rochester, New York, and finally moved to Glens Falls, New York at 6 years old. Drew formed a grassroots group called Transgender Advocates of the Capital Region, is one of the leaders of human rights group Transgender Advocates of the Capital Region, and has been a Bilerico Project contributor (http://www.bilerico.com/) since October 2010.
Field of study: sociology; current occupation: sex educator. Founder, PleasureMechanics.com; founder, Squirm Magazine, Vassar College (1999). This interview was conducted as part of Spring 2013 Women's Studies Class (WMST 219), "Queering the Archives."
Field of study: neuroscience and behavior. Current occupation: Freshkills Park Manager for Science and Research Development. Born and raised on Long Island; lived in San Francisco briefly after Vassar; moved to Brooklyn. Keywords: LGBTQ;oral history; queer; Long Island; San Francisco; Colgate University, punk music; sailing; EMS; Choice; AIDS activism; Squirm; Hedwig and the Angry Inch; neuroscience; queer prom; visibility; activism; parks; community; marriage.
Eugenio Giusti grew up in Lucca, Italy and was active in gay liberation efforts in Italy.
Went to school at the University of Florence, Italy; received his Ph.D. in Italian Medieval Literature from New York University in 1999.
He has published several articles on Giovanni Boccaccio's representation of women, Christopher Columbus's enterprise,
the novella genre, and contemporary gay movement and culture.
Born in Albany, New York; moved to North Carolina at 8 years old; move back to Albany at 11 years old; moved to Kennesaw, Georgia at 14 years old; graduated from Vassar in 2013; went back to Albany after graduation. Current occupation: Artist.
Harriford is currently Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Vassar College. Harriford grew up in Sioux City Iowa, went to Oberlin and then SUNY Stony Brook, and came to Vassar in 1988. Professor Harriford teaches courses in sex and gender, Black intellectual history, and Black feminism.
Please note: two audio files in this interview were left blank for sound quality purposes and have been placed sequentially after the last audio file that contains sound content.
Field of study: Africana Studies; current occupation: artist, playwright, director, educator. This interview was conducted as part of Spring 2013 Women's Studies Class (WMST 219), "Queering the Archives."
Kiana Moore grew up in Manhattan, New York, and was the first person to self-identify as 'transexual' at Vassar, from which she graduated in 2002 with a degree in Psychology. She is now a transgender rights activist living in Los Angeles where she is a producer on television shows. In 2001, she spoke to the Department of Agriculture concerning their practice of overlooking Male-to-Female (MTF) needs and misrepresentation. She also assisted HIPS (helping individual prostitutes survive) with their MTF outreach program, providing clean needles and condoms to those on the street. She now volunteers her time to GLAAD, and helps with transgender representation.
Field of study: sociology. Current occupation: Associate Dean of the College for Campus Life, Vassar College. Born in North Carolina; moved to Poughkeepsie in mid-1960s. Keywords: LGBTQ, oral history, Vassar, ally, race, Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X, education, higher education, class, athletics, community, activism, student activism, social work, sociology, administration, Campus Life and Diversity, ALANA Center, Intercultural Center, Main Take Over, social justice, All College Day, Westboro Baptist Church.
Lance was born in Bloomington, Illinois and grew up in Decatur, Illinnois. He went to college in Washington, D.C., where he worked on political campaigns on Capitol Hill, and then to the University of Pittsburgh for graduate school. He then worked at the National Gay Task Force, was president of the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, and served on the board and as chair of the Hetrick-Martin Institute. He moved to Chicago and worked at the Windy City Times, moved to Stamford, Connecticut to work as an editor at another newspaper, and finally came to Vassar in April of 2000 as speech writer and letter writer for President Fergusson. Now he is the Director of Development Communications at Vassar and the editor of the Taconic Weekend.
Karen Robertson was born in Alabama, grew up in Kansas and England, went to high school in Boston, and went to college at Barnard before going on to graduate school at Columbia; Robertson is a Senior Lecturer of English and Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Vassar, where she has been since 1982 (31 years). Robertson co-edited Maids and Mistresses, Cousins and Queens : Women's Alliances in Early Modern England.
Field of study: Film and Drama. Current occupation: Retired. Robinson grew up in Los Angeles, California; obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Southern California (USC); lived in California, Kansas, Idaho, and New York. Married in 2011.
Field of study: English; current occupation: professor. Author of six novels, including Sea of Tranquility, The Coming Storm, and The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov, as well as a work of nonfiction, The Gay 100: a Ranking of he Most Influential Gay Men and Lesbians, Past and Present. This interview was conducted as part of Spring 2013 Women's Studies Class (WMST 219), "Queering the Archives."
Field of study: Geology. Current occupation: Professor of Earth Science and Geography. Schneiderman was born in the Bronx, N.Y., grew up in Queens and Long Island. She received her undergraduate degree at Yale University and graduate degree from Harvard University. She moved to Los Angeles, Calif., and worked at Pomona College, moved to Washington, DC, and then moved to Poughkeepsie in 1995.
This interview took place over June 12-13, 2013 and is divided into two parts. Field of study: social work. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan; moved to Cincinnati, Ohio; moved to Dallas, Texas; left home at fifteen years old; went to University of Colorado; transferred to University of Michigan; worked at Quaker summer camp in Vermont called Salt Ash Mountain Camp; moved to New Paltz to work as a counselor at boys home; worked at Floyd Patterson House in New York City; worked at Time Magazine as a copy boy; worked at Albert Einstein College of Medicine; worked as psychologist in Peekskill, New York at Hudson River Psychiatric Center; worked as Director of Blegen House. Keywords: LGBTQ, oral history, Blegen House, segregation, family therapy, family, social work, race, queer, identity politics, LGBT youth, education, Stonewall, Marsha P. Johnson, violence, bullying, journalism, war, belonging, counseling, community, organizing, ALANA Center, writing, Judith Nichols, athletics.
This interview took place over June 12-13, 2013 and is divided into two parts. Field of study: Human Ethology: Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan; moved to Cincinnati, Ohio; then to Dallas, Texas; left home at age fifteen, studied at Universities of Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, New School (NYC); worked at Quaker summer camps in Vermont; moved to Esopus, NY to work as a counselor at Wiltwyck School for Boys; worked at Floyd Patterson House in New York City; worked at Time Magazine as a copy boy and then as reporter for Time-Life News Svc; completed PhD at Union Institute with practicum at Albert Einstein College of Medicine; worked as psychologist at Hudson River Psychiatric Center in Poughkeepsie and NY State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia P&S; worked as Vassar’s Associate Director of Student Counseling Service, retired, then was invited to return to create a student-faculty LGBTQ Center for the Study of Social Change in the old Blegen House on Collegeview Ave. Associate Director of Campus Life. Retired permanently 2006.
Keywords: LGBTQ, oral history, Blegen House, segregation, family therapy, family, social work, race, queer,
identity politics, LGBT youth, education, Stonewall, Marsha P. Johnson, violence, bullying, journalism, war, belonging, counseling, community, organizing, ALANA Center, writing, Judith Nichols, athletics.
Grew up in Portage, Michigan, graduated from Michigan State University, completed Masters program in social work and PhD program in social welfare at University of Wisconsin-Madison, came to Vassar in 2012 as a Sexual Assault Violence Prevention Coordinator.
Born in Newburgh, New York; grew up in Fishkill, New York; worked as dispatcher for Fishkill Police Department; worked as security officer and supervisor at IBM; worked as director of security at Bard College; started working at Vassar in 1996 as Associate Director of Safety and Security.
Grew up in Virginia; went to doctoral program in San Francisco; Interests in community mental health services for LGBTQIA persons, couples, and families, supports for LGBTQ students at Vassar, Psychological counselor and former Vassar College employee.
Field of study: history and library science. Current occupation: Vassar College Archivist. Grew up in Troy, NY; undergraduate at SUNY New Paltz, graduate studies at the University of Maine; worked at Smith College and Cornell University before coming to Vassar. Keywords: LGBTQ, oral history, New York, history, Smith College, Vassar history, women's history, feminism, lesbian fashion, archives, marriage, family dynamics.
Urvashi Vaid was born in New Dehli, India; moved to Potsdam, NY in 1966 at 6 years old; moved to Boston in 1979; and then moved to Provincetown, MA in the early 1990s. Fields of study at Vassar: political science, English. Current occupation: Director of the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia University Law School's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. Keywords: LGBTQ, oral history, India, bisexual, lesbian, political activism, feminism, feminist organizing, Student Faculty Coalition, Women's Center, Feminist Union, music, queer people of color.
Field of study: International Studies (correlate in French); masters in Women's Studies. Current occupation: AIDS United Grant Manager (nonprofit), gender queer activist. This interview was conducted as part of Spring 2013 Women's Studies Class (WMST 219), "Queering the Archives."