Lesley Polek

 

Date of Interview: March 8, 2020

Interview Location: Grinnell, Iowa

Pronouns: She/her

Place of Birth: Vicenza, Italy

Birth Year: 1957

Interviewer: Sieglinde Thetard

Summary: Lesley talks about her life on the east coast, as she navigated dating men and women, factory work, gay bars, and addiction. She then explores her life in Iowa, online dating, and alcoholism in Grinnell.

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.

 

Terry Lowman

Terry (left) with his husband Mark Kassis shortly after their marriage in Ames in 2007

Date of Interview: May 6, 2019

Interview Location: Ames, IA

Pronouns: he/him/his

Place of Birth: Ames, IA

Birth Year: 1947

Occupation: retired restaurateur

Interviewer: Cassidy Christiansen

Summary: Terry describes his life growing up in Ames, his initial marriage to his wife with whom he had two children (who now both identify as LGBT as well), coming out in his late 20’s and subsequent divorce. His husband of 40 plus years, Mark, occasionally adds commentary as Terry discusses adopting two children with Mark in 1990, their various enterprises, and experiences together. Terry also talks about his activism, particularly within his church, the Unitarian Universalist congregations in Ames and in Des Moines. Content Warning: mentions of suicide and death. 

 

Loren Olsen

 

Date of Interview: April 20, 2019

Interview Location: Des Moines, Iowa

Interviewer: Cassidy Christiansen

Summary: Psychiatrist and author Loren Olsen MD describes his life growing up in rural Nebraska, his time in the Navy, marrying and then divorcing his wife with whom he had two children, his coming out in his 40’s and partnership with his husband Doug, whom he married in Iowa in 2009. (Check out his personal website and autobiography at www.lorenaolson.com!)

Gayla Snook and Cindy Pollard

Gayla Snook and Cindy Pollard on their Wedding Day in 2010

Date of Interview: April 2, 2019

Interview Location: Newton, IA

Place of Birth: Both were born in Iowa

Birth Year: Gayla was born in 1962; Cindy was born in 1957

Occupation: Gayla works at Progress Industries and Cindy is a retired Nurse

Interviewer: Hannah Dorf

Summary: Gayla Snook and Cindy Pollard are life-long Iowans. In this interview, Gayla and Cindy tell their story of Iowa legalizing marriage equality in 2009, and the planning of their wedding that occurred a year later. They are active in politics, canvassing for politicians and have met many candidates.

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