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.

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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.

Tyler Franklin

Date of Interview: April 24, 2020

Interview Location: Zoom

Pronouns: he/they

Place of Birth: Switzerland

Birth Year: 1974

Occupation: Therapist

Interviewer: Payson Dai

Summary: Tyler talks about their identities, growing up with Transcendental Meditation, joining lesbian separatism, their involvement in the prison abolition and political activism scene, and parenting as trans.

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.

Lucid Thomas

Date of Interview: February 10, 2019

Interview Location: Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA

Place of Birth: Champaign-Urbana, IL

Birth Year: 1995

Occupation: Student

Interviewer: May Kurata

Summary: Lucid Thomas discusses his childhood, teenage years, and how he was often the only “girl” amongst his friends while also trying to “suck” at being a girl. In college, he discusses discomfort with campus queer culture, including being misread as a “straight ally.” Thomas also discusses how he continues to navigate being woke at a small liberal arts college, and being trans, a man, an artist, and an activist.