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.

Erica Barz

Headshot of Erica Barz

 

Date of Interview: May 24, 2020

Interview Location: Des Moines, Iowa (Zoom)

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Place of Birth: La Porte City, Iowa

Birth Year: 1993

Occupation: Community Engagement Associate at ACLU of Iowa

Interviewer: Rylee Dolezal

Summary: Erica discusses growing up in La Porte City and her involvement in non-profit work.

View and Download Erica Barz Interview Transcript (PDF)

View and Download Erica Barz Interview Transcript (.txt)

Richard Gralnek

 

Date of Interview: May 5, 2020

Interview Location: Iowa (recorded remotely)

Pronouns: he/him

Place of Birth: Brooklyn, NY

Birth Year: 1948

Occupation: retired, worked for insurance companies

Interviewer: Elliot Wesselborg

Summary: Rich tells about growing up in Marshalltown, his early experiences dating girls, transitioning in Des Moines in the early 1980’s and his thoughts about aging as a trans person.

View and Download Richard Gralnek Interview Transcript (PDF)

View and Download Richard Gralnek Interview Transcript (.txt)

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.

Ash Bruxvoort and Marti Payseur

Ash and Marti with their dog, Thistle.

Date of Interview: April 27th, 2020

Interview Location: Remote from Mt. Vernon, Iowa and Sammamish, Washington

Pronouns: They/them or she/her (Ash) and she/her (Marti)

Place of Birth:  Colfax, Iowa (Ash) and Des Moines, Iowa (Marti)

Birth Year:  1990

Occupation:  Both co-own Thistle’s Summit Bed & Breakfast and Amethyst Content Marketing. Ash is also the owner of Ash Gravity Astrology Services.

Interviewer: Steven Saada

Summary: Ash and Marti share memories from growing up in Iowa, their work in the non-profit industry, and their decision to start a queer B&B and homestead in small-town Iowa.

View and Download Ash and Marti Interview Transcript (PDF)

View and Download Ash and Marti Interview Transcript (.txt)

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).