Tom Collingsworth

LGBT Oral Histories of Central Iowa Listening Logo

Date of Interview: Sept. 22, 2020

Interview Location: recorded remotely from Grinnell, IA and Shoreham, NY

Pronouns: he/him

Place of Birth: Belmond, IA

Birth Year: 1971

Occupation: Retail assistant manager

Interviewer: Elliot Wesselborg

Summary: In this interview Tom discusses growing up in a small Iowan town and living in group homes as a teenager, his experiences of gay, rural hook-up culture in the 90s, navigating relationships with his husband’s adult children and life as an essential worker during Covid-19.

Michelle Hills

Michelle Hills, centered, sits at a table smiling

 

Date of Interview: July 9th, 2020

Interview Location: Iowa City, Iowa (Zoom)

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Place of Birth: Burlington, Iowa

Birth Year: 1966

Occupation: Teacher

Interviewer: Rylee Dolezal

Summary: Michelle discusses growing up in Burlington, Iowa and navigating stressful relationships before fostering self-growth and meeting her wife, Joan. She also provides various experiences of coming out, whether it be to her family or her students.

Drew O’Leary

 

Date of Interview: April 26, 2020

Interview Location: Iowa (recorded remotely)

Pronouns: he/him

Place of Birth: Cleveland, OH

Birth Year: 1982

Occupation: US Air Force, registered nurse, LGBT veteran care coordinator

Interviewer: Elliot Wesselborg

Summary: Drew talks about growing up in Iowa, coming out while working as a nurse in VA hospitals, providing LGBT-related services to veterans and his experiences dating gay men.

Christine Wagner-Hacht

Date of Interview: May 6, 2020

Interview Location: Zoom

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Place of Birth: Burlington, Iowa

Birth Year: 1963

Occupation: Chaplain

Interviewer: Payson Dai

Summary: Christine talks about her experiences growing up in Iowa, coming out to the United Methodist Church and surrendering her order, clinic work during AIDS pandemic, and the history of her and her wife since adolescence.

Marlu Carolina Abarca

 

Date of Interview: April 14th, 2019

Interview Location: JRC

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Place of Birth: California

Birth Year: 1992

Occupation: Bilingual Services Library Assistant at Des Moines Public Library

Interviewer: Amari

Summary: In this interview, Marlu talks about growing up in California, the cultural differences between her American and Mexican identities, discovering her multiethnic identity and learning to embrace it despite pushback from her peers, coming out to her parents as bisexual, and how she ended up working as a librarian (and how much she loves it).