Mother So Queer

A Queer History of Wake Forest University


Kevin Furr

Interviewed and conducted by Katie Porter at Wake Forest University.

Transcript of Interview:

Katie: okay, uh, I just wanna let you know that I have turned on the-the voice recorder, uh, just so I can keep track of everything that you’re saying. But basically, just the basic intake questions… what is your birthday?

Kevin: my birthday is july 29th, 1969.

Katie: ok great, where were you born, where were you raised?

Kevin: I was born, I was born in Salzbury, Maryland and, and I was raised just north of there in a small town called Delmar, Maryland. Which is on the Maryland and Delaware line but…

Katie: ok

Kevin: but I grew up on the Maryland side of town

Katie: gotchya, gotchya. Um and where are you currently at?

Kevin: I currently live in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Katie: How long have you been there?

Kevin: I’ve been in ft. Lauderdale for… eight years now actually it will be eight years next month.

Katie: ok and what years were you at Wake Forest?

Kevin: I was at Wake Forest from…1987 until 1992. I actually had an accident-

Katie: oh no!

Kevin: I injured my hand and ended up having to be out a semester when I thought I was going to be finished um so I came out a little later than expected so I was um I was kinda on a five year plan laughs

Katie: yeah, yeah I think a lot of people are still on that one

Kevin: I entered with the class of 1991 and that’s you know kinda had my bond with, with those particular students but you know most of my friends in classes you know were of course older and younger than me but I ended up I graduated in 92

Katie: gotchya. Um and what is your current occupation?

Kevin: I currently work at as a customer service manager for a company called Periodic Products we are a it’s a chemical manufacturer here in south florida and I work um we work in water purification cleanup and management we have a product that removes toxic metals from water sources.

Katie: ok. Ok so I assume – were you a science major at Wake Forest?

Kevin: I was not

Katie: really?

Kevin: laughs no I was not because –actually it’s a little bit interesting I was very much a liberal arts major I majored in politics I just happened upon this job through friends and I um the company is a new company we started it –I say we- it was started ummm two years ago. So two years ago so I was brought aboard kinda um I guess temporary it was temporary to start and I ended up you know on a more permanent basis and it has been very interesting because I am not a science person. However, the gentleman who started the company is a PhD chemist and um I did have to take five classes to learn how everything works and how the product you know um is good for you know whatever uses it may be I, I learned a little more with refreshing um to go back and learn some of that I did remember some of that, some of the information but I have no real you know strong science interest or science background.

Katie: yeah I can understand that being Political Science major laughs

Kevin: yeah I was very much Liberal Arts and then I ended up working in a job you know in the technical field

Katie: ok and now I guess we’re gonna get towards more personal stuff. Do you have any sort of religious identity?

Kevin: I was born and raised United Methodist. I am not a current practicing Methodist. I consider myself still a spiritual person however I haven’t belonged to a United Methodist church in, well, since I moved here to Florida. So in about eight years I um I guess for family reasons I still identify as a United Methodist member I am not a practicing, no, but I do um attend you know some nondenominational services here in Florida.

Katie: ok. Um and do you have any specific kind of racial identity?

Kevin: oh laughs I racially identify as African American. Yeah I have a mixed heritage but African American is my racial identity.

Katie: Alright. Um and now we get to get to the good stuff, um what you consider your sexual orientation?

Kevin: I am a homosexual, I am a gay male.

Katie: ok. And um what about gender identity? Something about pronoun preference?

Kevin: pronoun preference meaning identifying as a man?

Katie: mmhmm

Kevin: yes. I identify as male.

Katie: ok um I get to ask you some kinda open ended questions. Um when did you really start to begin identifying as homosexual, as gay?

Kevin: as gay, I guess self-identification of it ummm when I was around ten to eleven years old um well around that time I grew up in a family that was very open as far as if you have a question if you want to know something then you know don’t be afraid to ask and it’s gonna sound really weird we were watching a television show one night um I was watching it my mother was in the room and they were talking about a person on the show being gay and I didn’t know what that was. So, during a commercial break I ran to the other room, got the dictionary and looked it up and didn’t I saw a definition at the end of the definition I saw “homosexual” but I didn’t have time to look up what homosexual meant laughs I just ran back to the room was watching television and the next break came and I just turned around to my mother and said you know “mom what are they talking about? What’s gay? What is gay?” and my mother without hesitation I can remember said to me “well they are talking when one man likes another man they way, the same way a man can like a woman”. And I you know when she said that I thought “that’s really interesting” because that explains some feelings I had felt you know along the way but umm and I was fairly certain I might be that too but with that in the back of my mind as I grew and developed socially and sexually you know I realized yes, I, you know, I was indeed gay.

Katie: okay so, how would you characterize your family? How did they react to you kind of coming out or-

Kevin: well that’s the other part, I didn’t really come out at that time I haven’t I didn’t officially come out to my family until much, much later. Actually my family really only has know for sure in the last ten years um that I know you that I definitely, that I definitely was it was kind of, I knew that I was I didn’t say I won’t say I didn’t learn um was that I just went along and live my life and there came a time that they stopped asking were there girlfriends in the picture. There came a time when they stopped asking you know if I had a you a female friend and I um later on I just when I had a partner at the time and I you know I told my mother, I told my father you know other relatives and you know people close to me some kinda just found out, some of them kinda just knew but it was nothing that was greatly discussed and it hasn’t really been discussed in recent years and I have been more comfortable with it and obviously when my family members have become more comfortable with it.

Katie: So, your family, do you think they are supportive? Or is there any tension?

Kevin: you know there is no tension this surprised me now my parents are both deceased and when you know when I did tell my father I was very concerned. I just felt that there might be some you know some degree of disappointment and it’s probably a natural reaction to feel that you know because in your mind your parents aren’t…when I came along parents weren’t giving birth to children and saying “if my son is gay, if my son is straight, if my daughter is a lesbian, is my daughter straight, whatever let them be happy” I do see and hear a little more of that now so it was a certain degree of if I do disappoint, if I wasn’t what I thought they had imagined me to be it would be a disappointment however in the end I learned that they were happy that I was living my own life that I was doing well, that I had achieved some success, that I was um just you know I had been a good son and that I had loved and cared for my parents both of them up til the very end and it wasn’t about who I was or what my sexual orientation is, it was more about that’s who I am and even in my family now I have an uncle that I’m very close with, I have a nephew that is close with a sister-in-law. Everyone knows, you know, several cousins, everyone knows, and no one seems to have any degree of issue it’s comes up, I get asked about my personal life, and it’s not a chore when they’re asking, it makes me happy to know that society has dictated a little bit of forward movement as far as that goes. I don’t have any judgment in any way I mean although I do have one sibling who I am not very close with and he does, he has made some negative comments in the past and because of that I have kinda just brushed over them and let them go. You know that is, if there is anyone in my family I don’t discuss any of that with, however his kids all know and they have no problem with it.

Katie: ok, and kinda switching gears a little bit, you mentioned the progress of society and whatnot, what was your experience in the culture, society, whatever you want to term it, at Wake Forest?

Kevin: oh it was really interesting. Laughs… because when I…was looking at colleges I knew that I wanted a college that would be in an area that would give me some separation, some space a period to grow and develop and become my own person and there was a book a long time ago that was a college guide and would write frank things (unintelligible) that weren’t your normal college guide and one of the things in one her books in one of the things that she would cover was gay life at schools and in the Wake… in her book when she mentioned Wake Forest she pretty much mentioned that there was none which I had to think about and say “well is this truly important?” and it was a little bit. When I arrived I knew that yes, there are other gay students, finding other gay students was difficult because the culture wasn’t to be as open, as out. There were a few people that were open and out about it however, it was…because of the select few that were out it put a lot more of a…in the closet because we didn’t want to be affiliated with the other gay students when some of them may have fallen into what was a typical stereotype and as I…when I got there, I didn’t enter Wake as an openly gay student, I didn’t try to pretend either, I didn’t try to pretend to have girlfriends, I didn’t try to do anything like that to throw people off, I just kind of minded my own business. The Gay Student Group at that time was very, very small and I didn’t really become involved in it until, actually until my last two years at the school and that was just because I was more comfortable with who I was and at…I approached someone about speaking in classes, in Sociology and Psychology classes, and sometimes they would cover homosexuality and being a student to walk in and say “hi, I’m a gay student here at Wake Forest” because they had, we had that when I was a freshman and sophomore but it was the same kind of couple of people and not as many people were coming out and I just grew to become aware of the fact that there’s no reason to be silent. I knew a lot of people, had a lot of friends I was certain must of them knew even if I hadn’t said it anything to them so why not go out and do that? And I broached that and I had to go through the Counseling Center of all places they wanted to make sure I was secure, stable in who I was before I was presenting myself to be um in front of other students. I find that so interesting now because in that period of time it was almost as if it was, there was some psychological work that needed to go on to make sure you were okay to say that you were gay in front of other people. And I found that so intriguing and so interesting but I did it and that was when I became more involved in the gay and lesbian groups on campus and that was kinda the beginning and the end of my college career was kind of the beginning of more visibility at Wake Forest the…what eventually, what I don’t know might have evolved into something else but there was something called the Gay-Straight Student Alliance that started forming and that was towards the end of my career which I believe might have evolved into another group, but that was…but again it was still a small group. We would have meetings that the meetings might be maybe eight or nine of us. And we all rightfully knew that they gay student numbers were greater than that even though Wake was not a very large school we just knew there were more than a dozen or so gay students on campus. So, it…but again, there was pressure, in order to conform. In order to feel part of anything and at a school that is a smaller school like Wake I know for many people being alienated could be very, very, very lonely and that was the last thing you wanted to be you wanted to feel more part of A group because there weren’t very many, there weren’t very many groups to be part of to begin with.

Katie: yeah, so along those lines, what was your community? What groups did involve yourself with?

Kevin: well that’s a good question, I, well, my primary groups was, I say “was” I guess you always are, I am a brother of Alpha Phi Omega, the service fraternity and I was also a member of the band, the marching band and then for a short period of time I was active in College Republics and I guess those were my primary groups. Being APO, the band taking up the majority of time I had for extracurricular.

Katie: Okay, well did you find possible to kind of identify other people who were homosexual through these groups or were you able to kind of form connections with people?

Kevin: In…yes, in some instances yes, there were…I did have gay brothers in APO and there were also other gay members of the band and without it happening purposefully I believe that in some ways we were all drawn to one another so eventually yes. The level of comfort was there for us to come out to one another within the group even though we may not have been out to the group. SO you do sort of seek that because there’s a strong sense of people wanting to make sure they don’t feel like they’re the only one. And at that, that helps a lot cause you have somebody that you can be yourself and be your true self with that you aren’t necessarily having to edit a conversation or not say something and at, especially as we were a little older at the end of my time at college, I had many friends who knew I was gay, I knew they were gay, we’d do things together and through my being open and having people outside my immediate circle of friends because I was presenting myself as a gay male to strangers, you know walking into classes, other people would approach me and other people would let me know or they would say, or they’d you know see me sitting in the Pit and they knew me and they’d say “hi” to me and strike up a conversation and it would end up “can I ask you some questions, can I talk to you? I think I’m gay or I’m gay too” and it did happen that way and so I look at it as being healthy for all of us because that’s the hard thing when you’re walking around and it’s almost as if you are carrying this dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty secret and it will be such, there will be such shame associated with letting people know. And that even carried on after school, I mean I had friends that looked me up or found me or I’d run into years down the road that I knew from Wake that could say “hey I’m gay as well.” I live now, you know Ft. Lauderdale is very popular gay travel destination and I will be out and about socially and run into people that I went to college with that I didn’t know, or didn’t know they were gay at the time, but I did know that while we were there, and it will be like I had no idea, or they’ll say “did you ever suspect?” and we can joke about it because we’re a little bit older now but the reality is they may have been in a situation that and they may have been in a circle of friends that they wouldn’t have thought could have been socially, or openly accepting to them and the way that they lived.

Katie: So, in that sense do you think that Wake Forest culture in general made it difficult to be gay or identify as NOT heterosexual?

Kevin: It did somewhat. I guess…you have…when you go onto the campus the most prominent thing that you see is Wait Chapel. And, that Wake Forest has that huge Baptist heritage, Baptists and Southern Baptist, you know that religion wasn’t and hasn’t always been so welcoming to a gay lifestyle. So when you enter a campus, when you enter a school where the largest student organization at the time when I was there was the Baptist Student Union religion plays a big part in making people not so ready and willing to be out and about with who they were. And that was difficult for some because I had a personal experience with coming out to someone and they…a person I thought would be very open and accepting, a person I though would kinda say “that’s great, thank you for telling me” the response was “well, you and I never really discussed this but I am a Christian, I am…I was raised and I believe that homosexuality is wrong” and he kinda made a statement that “although I’m not judging you, I am”. Laughs Because he did say “I appreciate you telling me, I just hope you understand that this may mean we can longer be the friends that we were” and that’s pretty harsh. When I was feeling so comfortable and good about myself, to have that reaction actually happen that wasn’t easy and I was then reminded when I talked with another friend that we did, we said “we’re at Wake Forest, we’re at a school that severed its ties with the Baptist Convention a year before we arrived at the campus” but it’s not like heritage isn’t still there, it is still there. And have to understand that some organized religious are a little less friendly to who we are…so it made it a little easier to get through that but at the same time it was very hard to know who was or wasn’t going to have that kind of reaction because a lot of people on the campus had very strong religious beliefs and they followed them.

Katie: yeah, that’s hard, Did you experience any other kind of negative or hostile experiences in your time at Wake in terms of your sexuality?

Kevin: Now, that was really the most negative that…that one person was…I guess I look at it now and think of it as a kind of a mixed blessing. It was…in the coming out process for me, every time I told somebody and they showed me that I was the same person that they weren’t gonna change the way they thought about me, that was good. And I kind of felt that as I continued to tell people it would help me grow and help me feel better about myself. And even though that one negative experience did make me put the brakes on for a little bit like “oh my gosh I don’t need to be telling everyone” or “oh my gosh I have to be more discreet about who I’m going to give this information, who I’m going to share this part of myself with” it still didn’t…it just made me a little more cautious and I had to think about the people I would share the intimate detail about my life. But I will say, I didn’t personally directed towards me, I kind of got to a point that I made sure I put myself around people that I knew were my friends and I knew would have no issue or problem regardless.

Katie: Okay

Kevin: and the other people just didn’t have to be my friends.

Katie: Okay, and obviously Wake Forest is very, a very homogeneous student body. And so, I would find it interesting for you to share that as an African American or a Black gay man would your experience have been different if you had been white and gay or black and straight. What do you think that impact was?

Kevin: Um, that’s an interesting question, you know I don’t think there would have been a great deal, as an African American Male student on campus and this was on the campus and off the campus and in the community a little bit, the first assumption I had to deal with… I’m tall, I’m 6’2″ and I have a larger build I was asked most often if I was an athlete. So I had to say “no” because I don’t consider myself an athletic person but I had to of course answer that question to folks and the African American males on campus were kind of in two different groups. There were the ones who were the football players, or basketball players or baseball players and whatever and there were the others that were the students. And within the African American community at Wake we did intermingle sometimes but because I wasn’t… there were some I didn’t feel like I had much in common with so, I kinda shied away from, and I definitely would have distanced myself who thought that way. When people looked at me as anybody in the school, any other student I have to say that I was raised, this is really weird, but I was raised to not always be race and I just…people have always been people to me first so I sometimes was not aware if somebody was reacting to me because of my sexual orientation or because of my race or because of whatever because I was wearing this particular shirt, these particular shoes, this particular whatever sometimes I would be a little unaware of that so I don’t think that I saw, or had many instances because I thought because I was African American and gay, I was treated differently or in any way, I wont say discriminated against, but in any way felt left of or left in that culture where everyone is very much the same. I do think that, I am thankful that time has progressed and times do change and circumstances are provided for more people to have the opportunity and for that African Americans student body to grow there may be less of that, I don’t know, when I was there, we’re talking twenty-plus years ago, so yeah things are different. But I never felt any of that at all, and even within my own community at Wake there friends that I had that were the other African American students knew they had no problem with me and they never acted a certain way. Now what they did when I wasn’t there or behind my back I’ll never know and I’ll never really care but I was never treated in any way that was not respectful.

Katie: okay, so I know you briefly mentioned kind of the Winston-Salem community outside of Wake Forest… did you really have much interaction with the Winston-Salem community, as a gay male?

Kevin: uhhh yeah as a gay male I did, even as a student, I was always…part of my being involved in Alpha Phi Omega led us to the chance to do a lot of community service, and I did volunteer work through the fraternity outside the campus that led me to doing volunteer work on my own in the community so on my own I started working with the American Red Cross Blood Center, I worked with the Samaritan Soup Kitchen I did several Habitat for Humanity community projects, as I…once I came out the best social outlet at the time was to go to a gay bar or a gay club. The time I was really coming out and admitting it was during the summer so I was still in Winston-Salem and I had friends there and I also socialized and would meet people that were just part of the Winston-Salem area community and I developed some friendships with them. It was, for a while it was weird because it led to me having almost two lives and I also worked off campus, I also waited tables off campus and that gave me connections outside the [Wake Forest] community as well, and also a couple of the people I worked with were also students but there were a lot of people who weren’t students. So that was a nice break because I could be who I truly am and with these people they don’t care and they don’t know and everything would be fine and I did have interactions outside the community in that way. That was easy and because I meet people and make friends easily that was a healthy thing, and helped me stay a little bit balanced. And you mentioned earlier the homogeneous thing at Wake and that was a hard thing..i don’t know, I can’t speak for present times, the campus was very isolated and there were a lot of people that only came off the campus to go to the store or go to the mall or go to a football or basketball game or maybe occasional meal or dinner out or something but they stayed on the campus. I moved off campus and lived in an apartment, I worked off campus, I was a little more out and involved in the community and I saw that what was really out there and what was really going on from a perspective that a lot of people don’t get.

Katie: okay, so because you were able to go and spend a lot more of your time off campus, were you ever interested or more able to establish maybe romantic relationships with people easier?

Kevin: umm you know, I can’t say that I was. I was still shy in that sense when it came to social and romantic interests because my first boyfriends were all other students at Wake even though I had friends out in some ways there were several that I would meet that didn’t find I had that much in common with but there would be others, there would be guys that I would meet that were students that I would have something in common with and the understanding of that, going through a similar situation and a mutual environment was probably why I dated people who were students. As afar as romantically, no I met people who were… there would be sometimes some interest but on my part a lot of follow through.

Katie: Okay, so I guess transitioning out of Wake Forest to what we like to call the “real world”, how did that impact your identity or your experience as a gay male? What were the big changes that you saw or transitions that you made?

Kevin: well because you know I…because I grew up in a rural area or Maryland, when I finished up school and working I opted to stay in the Winston-Salem area because I felt very comfortable there. For me at that time in my life Winston-Salem was just the right sized city. I had established a very good network for friends, I was comfortable there, I had employment and I was content. So transitioning in the years after college were very easy because the biggest difference was I didn’t have to go to the campus for classes every day or every other day or whatever that might have been but the campus was right there. Right after finishing school I lived down Polo Road so going by Wake Forest was almost a daily occurrence. I kept my post office box on campus a couple years after finishing school so that would bring my over to the campus a couple times a week just to check mail. But the continuity that occurred after me finishing after graduation and transitioning into the real world didn’t feel so different because not a lot changed. I was in a place that I was comfortable I was in a place that I had friends and I was happy then I could also enjoy some of the perks of being right there at Wake Forest because I was right down the road. So my transitioning out of that was very simple and very easy.

Katie: and in terms of your identity as gay, was there much change for you after gradation?

Kevin: No not really, no. It continued as it was. During my last year there I had a roommate and she was also a student and the two of us lived together, we actually entered at the same time and we both graduated later so we had that in common and we both started jobs and careers at the same time and we lived together. She and I ended up being roommates for five years and I was living with a heterosexual female, knew I was gay and had no problem with it. She and I developed liked a brother sister type relationship that kept us there and that was another part of the transition because we lived together for little over a year as students and after we were students we still lived together. So that part of it was really easy because I had somebody that I lived with that was comfortable with my lifestyle and we interacted and intermingled with each other’s friends fine. It was actually comfortable for me, it was comfortable for her, our families were comfortable with the situation and we quite enjoyed it. We stayed together until we both realized it was time for us to separate laughs and kind of go our separate ways and evolve a little more socially because she had goals as far as marriage and family and I had goals that were similar along those lines as well plus I felt the need to be and live independently at that time, so we did.

Katie: ok and now you said that in Ft. Lauderdale, what, reflecting back on Winston-Salem and Wake Forest, what do you think the impact Winston-Salem and Wake had on your identity as homosexual? Were there any kind of defining moments that helped you evolve or anything like that?

Kevin: Nothing really stands out, I don’t think that there were any defining moments. Other than the fact that I have many connections still in that area, people I keep in contact with, people that are important to me, were part of my coming out into the gay world, that still live in that area. And that always holds a special and dear place in my heart even just because I can’t compare it to anywhere else or coming out anywhere else so all I really know is what my experience is, but my experience was really [indiscernible] I have friends and even a community that made it feel good and feel okay, even in a small southern town- or city, excuses me laughs like Winston Salem it still made it feel okay and comfortable and fine to be who I was and I do appreciate that.

Katie: That’s actually really nice to hear!

Kevin: Laughs

Katie: Today, currently, how would you characterize your involvement or participation in a larger gay, homosexual, queer community as a whole?

Kevin: So you just mean in general, like how I participate…

Katie: Yeah, just kind of how you feel like you fit in, in that sense.

Kevin: well, I will say this: when I left Winston-Salem, I moved from Winston-Salem to Charlotte, and lived in Charlotte for three years. And then I moved from Charlotte to Ft. Lauderdale the eight years ago. I selected Ft. Lauderdale because a friend of mine had moved here- just a platonic friend- had moved here and I really enjoyed it when I started visiting. I also felt that it was a great place to be and I wanted to know what it would be like to live here. So, the job that I had at that time when I was in Charlotte, I took a leave of absence and I came down here and lived for two months. And through that, being here non-stop for that eight weeks it gave me a strong sense of community. I felt very comfortable being here because there is such a large concentration of gay men and women and because this particular area is very welcoming and open and they understand that the gay and lesbian population exists and that they contribute as well as it’s a wonderful place for people to visit, that played a very important role in making me decide that I wanted to live here because for me, having a place where when I walk out of my door each day and… who I am, the lifestyle I live or whatever goes on on the other side of my door really doesn’t matter and the people out there they don’t care and I felt that sometimes in Winston-Salem I did not feel that, always, as much as when I moved to Charlotte it was maybe a little more liberal but when I would visit here I got that feeling and when I wanted to move here I said to myself that “it would be a great place to be where you don’t have to think twice about if you’re sitting with another person and they are the same sex, is somebody going to look at you and say ‘oh well there’s the queer guys’ or ‘oh those are two gay guys’ or whatever” where it was really nice to be in a community, be part of a community where being who you are is just that: you are who you are. People could care less. So that was important to me in helping me make a decision to end up here. I did look for that. But I have friends who come here to visit and it’s a little too much for them and it’s so funny because we do become accustomed to whatever our environment dictates and when you’re in an environment where you have to be a little reserved, a little more conservative sometimes, as opposed to an environment where people aren’t going to think twice if they see two guys holding hands, kissing, whatever then it’s…I can see that, I get that, I understand that but for me it did make a difference and it helped me in knowing where I wanted to be and helped me make a decision to be where I am today.

Katie: that sounds like a really good place to be.

Kevin: it is, it is.

Katie: I’m just curious in general, your experience in Winston-Salem and Wake Forest and then to Ft. Lauderdale how would you think that compares to the experience to any of your friends who identify as gay? Their college to real world transition, how would you compare your experience to theirs?

Kevin: You know I consider myself lucky and fortunate when compared to some. And that is because when I do have friends that I’ve communicated with and talked with depending on what they did professionally they didn’t have the opportunity to transition in the same way. And when I say that it may have been because they were worried that knowledge of their sexual orientation would impede their ability to move forward in their career. And I, working in customer service, hospitality, that aspect of most of my career, my sexual orientation didn’t necessarily come into play in any thoughts of me moving forward in my career and becoming more successful. But I had friends who went to have a career in law for example, well they would work for a firm and maybe the firm overall tone was conservative and it was not in their best interest to be their genuine selves around their employers so they didn’t have the same opportunity to be out and open in all aspects of their lives that I did.

Katie: okay, at this point I just would love to know, is there anything I haven’t asked, what you wish I had? Or anything else that you kind of just want to share in general about your experience at Wake as gay?

Kevin: well you know as far as my experiences as gay at Wake goes, every school is going to have…when you think about the age which somebody is coming out, I’m not talking just coming out in their sexuality, just coming out in general and doing a lot of self identification because for many people that 17, 18,19 age period is when your making yourself, youre taking yourself out of living maybe under the watch of mother and father, or whatever guardians you may have, and moving to your own sense of self, your own individuality, and the… we all get to make a certain degree of decisions on our own, but who we are, who we choose to be, that’s just who you are. So in regards to Wake and in regards to the Winston-Salem community even, especially in regards to Wake, its really…I understand its so important for somebody to feel comfortable and by feeling comfortable they feel a need to fit in. So, it was refreshing for me because I was…in Winston-Salem for the first time in almost… a little over 4 years when I was in town in October for homecoming and that was my first time taking some time and spending it on campus and seeing that there was the center there and the center was open and the signage and the people, where we didn’t have to hide, it wasn’t like it was a secret thing and I equate that to today when you talk about people who might be in some type or kind of recovery from addiction and the meetings are held under, they’re discreet , and they have to be because you don’t want people to judge you because you are recovering from a certain drug addiction in the same way we didn’t want people to judge us when I was a student there because of whom we chose, or whom not chose, whom we were sexually attracted to and who we would like to sexually interact with so its refreshing that the school has gotten to the point where its okay to be gay and its wonderful that society has gotten to the point where it is okay to be gay even with the still conservative environment that you see. And some of that will always be there because that’s the kind of the culture of Wake Forest and for those of us for whom it worked, we are going to be the people who seek it out. If every school were exactly the same, it would just be really boring out there. So I think that’s one of the great things, I think every college and university gets to have its own identity and as close as you may think that they are they’re still very, very different and we get to, when I was a student I got to see that, we maybe did parties with people from USCG or did parties from across town at Salem or even Winston Salem State, our experiences were completely different from theirs and I’m certain that even today the experiences are still very, very different and not every environment is going to be great for every person. So, I do, I am happy that society has changed but it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge for some and if in any way moving forward is never an issues and people just come to school and they are who they are and that’s all, I think that would be great.

Katie: yeah, I definitely agree with you on that one!


[end of the interview]

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