Jude Grunder

Date of Interview: February 15, 2020

Interview Location: Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa

Pronouns: They/them

Place of Birth: Champaign, Illinois

Birth Year: 1999

Occupation: Student

Interviewer: Steven Saada

Summary: Jude talks about growing up in small-town Illinois as a multi-racial and gender non-conforming person, their struggles with mental and physical health, and their experiences as a student at Grinnell College.

 

David Graham

Date of Interview: May 2, 2019

Interview Location: David’s Home in Grinnell, IA

Pronouns: he/him

Place of Birth: Hamilton, OH, USA

Birth Year: 1955

Occupation: Designer/Retired

Interviewer: Evan Hurst

Summary: In this interview, David spoke with me about his experiences growing up in Grinnell, IA, during the 60s and 70s, moving around the Midwest as a young adult not in college, navigating his new found freedom in gay spaces, moving to NYC while the AIDS crisis was just starting, and meeting his husband Frank (See Frank Appleton page for his interview) who he’s now retired with back in Grinnell, IA.

 

Esther Hwang

Date of Interview: May 6, 2019

Interview Location: Music Practice Room in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Grinnell College

Pronouns: she/they

Place of Birth: Lubbock, TX

Birth Year: 1997

Occupation: Student

Interviewer: Lydia James

Esther’s Poem:

Meditation on Asexuality

Part 1

My sex has been coopted by TV, porn, and yellow fever

I want my sex back

Asexuality is a sexuality

It’s the sexiest thing

 

To vow to love myself first

To touch myself first

To desire myself first

Before anyone else

I listen to healing meditation while I masturbate

It’s a spiritual experience.

When I’m horny I don’t seek outside of myself.

I choose myself because I can make myself come like no one else can.

What is climax?

Remember that the Western world has confused itself on the importance of penises entering vaginas and has eroticized any high pitched noise that comes out of a woman’s mouth.

Sex is not the only thing.

And what is sex anyway? Masturbation is sex. It’s the best sex when I can make a juicy puddle with two fingers and a vibrator.

I once made myself come 13 times without laying a finger on myself.

The secret was a lot of weed, studio headphones, and some good beats.

 

Answer me this.

How is melting from human to fluid by hearing the sound of my own songs not sex?

How is going on a run for the euphoria of blood rushing through my body not self-pleasure?

How is biting into a juicy lucy and moaning and sobbing into my burger with my friends not a big circle jerk?

How is rolling around in the grass and feeling every nerve brush against Mother Earth not the purest most beautiful form of physical intimacy and release?

 

Part 2

Asexuality is seeing past all of the noise

And feeling

Feeling myself

Asexuality is feeling only myself

It is pleasing myself

It is removing subject and object

And recovering what always was.

 

Part 3

Asexuality is not lack of sexual desire.

It is lack of sexual attraction to others.

 

ASEXUALITY IS SELF-DESIRE.

 

Hannah Dorf

Date of Interview: February 25, 2019

Interview Location: Grinnell, IA

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Place of Birth: Wheaton, Illinois

Birth Year: 1998

Occupation: Student

Interviewer: Lydia James

Summary: In this interview, Hannah discusses growing up in a Chicago suburb, and not having a sense of belonging. As she moved to Grinnell, IA for college, she discusses how she has found her people and no longer feels isolated.