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.

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. 

 

Cassidy Christiansen

 

Date of Interview: February 11, 2019

Interview Location: Cassidy’s home, Grinnell, IA

Pronouns: they/them/theirs

Place of Birth: Flagstaff, AZ

Birth Year: 1996

Occupation: student

Interviewer: Lucid Thomas

Summary: Cassidy talks about sex, High School, taking two gap years to travel around the world, and their experiences coming out as a non-binary trans person their first year at Grinnell College.

 

Mya Byrne

Date of Interview: April 17, 2019

Interview Location: The Mills Restaurant in Iowa City

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Occupation: Musician, currently touring with Paisley Fields and Lavender Country

Interviewer: Hannah Dorf and Zamashenge Buthelezi

Summary: Mya is interviewed prior to her performance with Paisley Fields and Lavender Country. She is a musician currently touring with the two bands, and she has produced her own music. She discusses being trans, butch, polyamorous, and being part of the leather community.

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!)