Voices of Minnesota

Lesbian Elders Oral History Project


DATE: 1996-1997

INTERVIEWER: Mary R. Weiland

The Lesbian Elders Oral History Project explores the lives of seven women who lived lesbian lives before 1969. Narrators recount many aspects of the their lives during this time: the process of coming out, support networks for lesbians, public places in the lesbian community, language and identity, the process of growing older, and changes in the lesbian community over the years.

Oral history is an important tool for documenting the stories of lesbian elders, particularly since traditional resources such as letters, newspaper accounts, and diaries can be so difficult to locate. This project thus addresses a fundamental issue in gay and lesbian history: visibility. Oral history allows the narrators to fill in the gaps of the historical picture of people who were often forced to live in the shadows.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEWS: 8 hours 24 minutes

TRANSCRIPTS: 142 pages