Saralyn Chesnut and Lorraine Fontana
DescriptionLoraine Fontana (62) asks her friend Saralyn Chesnut (62), the first director of Emory’s Office of Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Life. As a child in the 50s and 60s, Saralyn learned to “act like a girl,” but in college she realized instead of falling in love with her boyfriends, she was in love with her best friend Margaret. After graduate school, she moved to Atlanta to “be gay.” She was involved in the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance (ALFA) where she re-embraced her love of softball.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Saralyn Chesnut
- Lorraine Fontana
Recording LocationCharis Books and More
Venue / Recording Kit
- Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance
- Childhood Games
- communal housing
- Community Action Program
- drug counseling
- eating co-ops
- Emory University
- Florida State
- folks singers
- Georgian for the Equal RIght
- graduate school
- Hummingbird Heights
- Julia Penelope
- lesbian feminism
- Red Dyke Theater
- social work
- Southern Baptist
- University of Georgia
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00:05 I'm Lorraine Fontana tomorrow. I'll be 64.
00:10 It's April 12th, 2011 where Charis bookstore? Yay. And I'm a friend of Saraland who I'll be interviewing.
00:22 And I'm Saraland Chestnut. I am 62 years old. This is April 12th 2011 at Charis bookstore and I am Lorraine Sprint as well for a long time.
00:35 Well, I think we were going to start by saying we first met in 73. So can you give me some idea of well your background your family background? And what made you move to Atlanta? Okay, I was born and grew up in a small town in south Georgia Tifton Georgia and I was right. I was born into a Southern Baptist Family very religious family and really the social life in the town then and it may be the same now revolve around the churches. So there wasn't much else to do besides go to school and go to church and there's one movie theater. So want to attend a movie and that was that was it
01:18 And I'm one of five children. My actually don't remember one of my father lived with us because he had hit served in World War II and then he re-enlisted in the Army and my mother what she told us at the time was she thought it was better if we all stayed in one place to grow up rather than be traveling all around like he did. She tell me later when I was an adult that the truth while she and my father weren't getting along but it just sort of what have been the thing to do to get a divorce. So instead they know that was how they worked it out. That's kind of crazy making for me because you know, everybody always always think we have a father you have a father now, he's just not here and I only saw him, you know once a year or something and then he died when I was 11.
02:05 I have a twin sister two older brothers who were both now dead and a younger sister.
02:15 I guess I like playing with my brothers. I was a tomboy and I played with my brothers and their friends a lot. I still remember I used to play football with him tackle football until one time. You know, I tackled one of their little friends and his pants came down and I must do you know, they were old enough by then, I guess that they were embarrassing so they told me I couldn't play football with him anymore really sad while they were embarrassed cuz the kids pants came down and I didn't mean anything to me and when I hit puberty I remember everybody in my family saying to me and I now you have to start acting like a girl you have to choose they said between baseball and boys and I know you said that that yes, they said that cuz I like to play Uno softball.
03:12 And I really knew there wasn't a choice. I mean, you know that I just was before Title Nine. And so there really weren't any organized Sports much for girls. There was a high school basketball team, but that was the one sport that I never really played. So I started trying to act like a girl and it wasn't that I wanted to be a boy. I never have never thought of myself as what we now call transgender. I never wanted to be a boy, but I wanted to be the kind of girl I was and have it not be a problem and it wasn't going to happen. So I remember I did I had no idea really how to act so I asked a friend of mine I said, you know, how do you know how to act when she said well, I just watch everybody else and do what they do and say okay I can do that. So I started watching all the other girls and just trying to act like them and I think you know that
04:07 That's what I'm going to weigh. I went into the closet, you know, I kind of started hiding who I really felt like I was in a way and trying to act like somebody else and
04:21 And didn't feel very good about that cuz I never fought felt like I was doing it, right, you know, being a you know being frou-frou, but I now call a girly girl.
04:34 This was in graduate from high school in 1966. I was born in 1948. So this was in the 50s and 60s. Yeah in south Georgia. And so that's one thing. I think that shaped me and the other was all well and another was growing up in the Baptist church. And then a third was the South was so racially segregated. I went to all white schools or churches were segregated. You know, there was the only black people really I knew were people's Maids. My grandmother had made we had it made for a while and then we couldn't really afford to have one but that was my knowledge and then when I was a senior in high school 3 black students came to the all white high school to integrated and I remember that I and some friends of mine tried to make friends with them because we were they quote, you know, the Liberals and I remember having
05:34 A lot of fights a lot of arguments with other kids about race.
05:43 So and that was one thing to turn me off about the church's was the there was you know, this seems like a plainly an injustice to me and the church's didn't weren't trying to do anything, you know, but one good influence on my life when I was growing up in Tifton was music. I for some reason we had a really good band director when I was in high school. I was in the band. I played the trumpet and I was good. I was the first chair trumpet player and I loved it really good. Yeah, I love that and I sang in the church choir and we had a really good when I called him the minister of Music in the choir director, and he was really good too and he trained our voices and we would sing like Bach cantatas and things like that instead of just him and I was also in Lowell Folk singing group. This was back, you know in the folk music days with Peter Paul and Mary and Joan Baez the Kingston Trio, you know, I just remember I listen
06:43 All that music and we would just sing it like School assemblies. We were really famous or anything. But but if those were like outlets for me where I could get to be myself.
06:56 After I graduate from high school and went to the University of Georgia.
07:00 Glad to get away from Tifton really and
07:07 Dated boys I dated Boys in high school. I know in high school. I was really when I look back. I know it's really in love with one of my friends and I knew she was really important to me of it somehow I didn't put it all together with sex, you know, and then I think it started at dawn on me and in college, I just kept thinking will sooner or later. If I date all these guys I'll fall in love with one of them in this won't be a problem. It just never happened and then I did fall in love with one of my sorority sisters and roommates Margaret and
07:46 That Was Then I need the difference and you know and I knew it would have never happened that way with a dime and had a very nice boyfriend I last two years in college and he was really genuinely a nice person and I cared a lot about him but it just wasn't the same I just don't have those feelings so
08:08 There was no talk, you know of when I was in college. It's so different from now. There was the only mention I think of quote homosexuality was in a class on abnormal psychology. It was still listed in the DSM right is a diagnosis. So and that was just about really about game in and I didn't I didn't identify. Of course they were saying about gay people.
08:36 So that didn't really help and there was just nobody so
08:41 Tell me why I figured out what to do was.
08:44 When we were getting ready to graduate and Bob my boyfriend want to get married and it just occurred to me, you know, okay, if I follow the script, I'll marry Bob and then Margaret will go your own way and I'll never see her again. And I just said that's when it just hit me I had to do something. So I broke up with Bob and I had this little talk with Margaret where I said, you know, I think I know why we want to be around each other cuz we did and I thought she probably felt the same way. You know why we she came over to Atlanta to do some practice teaching for 1/4. We would worse on the quarter system then and she wrote we read each other every day.
09:24 It was before, you know, you had cell phones or course or made long-distance calls, and then we would be together every weekend. So she said I said, I think we're in love. She said well, thank you ride and so we got involved and for the first two years we were together. We didn't tell anybody else. We're just so paranoid about it.
09:49 When Ashley we had one teacher Margaret now, we're both English to majors and we had one Professor who wasn't that much older than we were actually she was still in graduate school in and we got to be really good friends with her. It turned out to be Julia Penelope. Oh at that time. She was Julius Stanley and he shows a bit. I'll die. You know, but for some reason even when I didn't even tell her we didn't even tell her I'm not sure why it just it was just so scary. It was really scary, but we eventually did did tell Julia
10:27 So I can we graduated we stayed in Athens. I mean, I was an English major. I didn't know quite what to do for a living but because I've been pretty political all along I joined up or I got a job in a community action program. This is part of the war on poverty agency. And yeah exactly. I was a community organizer and I would go around and knock on doors and find out about people's incomes and whether they were eligible for any kind of federal program and help them and apply for food stamps or welfare or whatever. It was and Margaret got a job in another part of this community action program. I forget what was even called so we did that and then I decided to go to graduate school.
11:12 Within the first year after we were doing this and decided to go down to Florida State in Tallahassee, or they had a Linguistics program. I was interested in linguistics and went down there eventually Margaret came down there too and got a job teaching at a school down there and then we met I met my first lesbian my age and let you know that I had a lot in common with in one of my classes and Margaret and I got to know her and her partner and that's when we first got involved in the women's movement. We kind of started hearing about it unless we graduated 1970s to Remember That Time magazine or Newsweek or something. The cover was about the women's movement. I still remember that and
11:53 So we got involved in a little group of feminist group in Tallahassee and
12:00 Do you want to ask me anything? Cuz I realize I'm talking for a long time. I'm just trying to get to Atlanta. Yeah, right. Well that talk more about how you got to Atlanta and what happened when you got here. Okay, so I graduate with a master's in English. I still didn't know what to do for a living but I needed to know I was ready to be out of school and and doing something in my brother. My older brother gave got me a job in Savannah where he lived working as a drug counselor in this Methadone Program working or methadone clinic working with heroin addicts because I had that little bit of experience in Athens in the community action program that was considered social work experience. So I was kind of a social worker drug counselor person. And so I move to Atlanta. I mean Savannah Margaret stayed in, Florida.
12:48 And after about six months, I realized I did not know what the hell I was doing counseling heroin addicts. Do you know I smoked a lot of pot and drank, you know, pretty much myself to tell him what you smoke pot and I was not equipped to do that. So and I couldn't find any other lesbians in Savannah got a gay bars. I got to be friends with ask a guy to go to gay bars. That's just a minute. I just could not find any lesbians so friend of mine from Savannah that I got to be friends with their was going to move back up to Atlanta. She's graduated from Emory up here and I decide to move to Atlanta with her who she was straight Ally we were very close but your straight and so we moved up here and Margaret moved back to Atlanta to where she had actually grown up, but by then we decided just to be
13:48 Friends, we no longer call ourselves lovers cuz that was the term we use we did not use the term Partners or anything like that. We're just going to be friends. So we move to Atlanta and J. And the woman I moved up here with our member said we'll all the lesbians live in Little Five Points. That's where I need to go and I wasn't sure how to meet a kind of knew about Alpha but I wasn't sure how to meet anybody. So I started going to meetings of Georgians for the Equal Rights Amendment and Vicki gabriner and Cheryl pants were kind of running that they were both. You know, what does it turned out involved in Alpha the Atlanta lesbian feminist Alliance and so I kind of started getting hooked in with the community and I still remember being at the party somebody's house cuz that was during a period when there was an alpha house and having a conversation with Amy Darden and we were saying we know we should start a softball team Alpha nice to have a softball team.
14:48 And so that happened, you know, and that's when I really got involved. So really I move to Atlanta to be a lesbian, you know just find other problem is softball in the g e r i d e r a what are the kind of stuff in activities? Will you did you get involved in the communal households over near here on Euclid Avenue? There were six of us that lives in that lives in that house. I was the only one that had a full-time job. I got a job at a mental hospital because again, I had the social work experience and my bedroom in the communal household was right by the one bathroom. So I was the only one that had to get up. I had to be at work at 8:00 in the morning and I still remember they would keep me up at all hours people going in and out of the bathroom, you know because they could stay up as late as they wanted. So I did that. I remember being a game of of the hummingbird height hummingbird Heights, okay.
15:50 What are the lesbian feminist Community was part of the counterculture really? You're that kind of an alternative culture and there was an emphasis on living communally not have not certainly not being an upwardly mobile. Like I'm saying I was the only one that had a full-time job and I did not think of it as a career was just a job and really our energy was supposed to go to our political activities and we weren't encouraged to make a lot of money or accumulate a lot of things and you'd kind of just share and share alike in the households are the women came from backgrounds which class related kind of stuff. So that went well that was you know, obviously a away to 22 alternative to the culture of you know, having classes and people that made more money will more important than that. Alpha was we really didn't want to have that structure. We have executive director or president didn't we we avoided all that kind of stuff.
16:50 Yeah, I tried to be a Gala Terrian and I know it worked. It worked out we all got along. I remember being in a poetry writing group at some point. And then I was in Woman song Little Theater group. We wrote skits and performed the second Woman song and it wasn't the original woman that and
17:17 What else I remember coming to Charis during that time going to a lot of the things that the Alpha House the important memory you have of either an event or something you were involved in that you don't miss the most important thing for you. I lie enough the softball team was really important because that always wanted to play sports in and I never got a chance and here it was like great. I was playing with all these other lesbians and we were actually, you know, play as you cuz you were on the team to or playing his out lesbian team in Atlanta City League. It was the first out lesbian team ever in the city late. Yeah.
17:55 Yeah, but to me, it was just having fun. I never even thought of that as political. It was just like what I always wanted to do, you know, and even on the team we had this philosophy, you know, anybody could play it matter whether you were good or not quote good anybody could play and you could play any position you wanted to so I played first base and I remember my little saying was you can always get the first base with me.
18:25 And I remember you know.
18:29 Some of the early the women's music and one of the early concerts it was held at the tower the bar that we kind of took over Alpha women just kind of started going to a lot especially the softball team members. I think it was maybe Meg Christian or Chris Williamson. One of the first times I heard one of the the, you know, her Women's Music performed at a bar. It was real small and I don't know I remember going to a lot here a lot of I remember when Rita Mae Brown came and we know would bring in writers and they would read from their work and then red dock theater the other Theater Company.
19:12 Going to their performances. So everything just revolved around now and then there was a eating coops where we would we'd have like a Monday night eating Co-op where you maybe Six Women and you would take turns, you know, like 1 Monday night. I would cook for the other five and then the next Monday night would be somebody else's turn. And yeah, I kind of took all that for granted just how well it worked and how you know, how
19:37 It was just really a strong community and is looking back now though some disrespective of later. What was
19:46 What was the effect of of the Alva community and having that part of your life on your life in general? What was Heather change your life or effected? I think it changed it tremendously because I went from feeling awful about being a lesbian or feeling just scared of talking about her letting you know, do you know in the lesbian feminist Community the best thing you could possibly be so I developed a real positive identity as a lesbian and
20:20 Yeah, and it didn't seem scary at all to be playing on out lesbian softball team, you know, cuz we were all in it. We were all there together and it is just what we did and it was just fun, you know, it's just fun and
20:37 So did you have other things about Alfie you wanted to say cuz I'm going to ask you more about how you became less involved in Alpha and have that part of your life ended. But did you have something else you want to remember about?
20:51 You know later on in my life when I went back to graduate school again to get my doctorate and I was
21:01 Madrina Rose getting in
21:04 What's really a degree in women's studies at the time but a certificate in women's studies and the lesbian feminist movement kind of got a bad rap for being and you know, there were things we didn't do.
21:19 There were there were areas where where could you know productively be critiqued? Like we were mostly white when we had an anti-racist philosophy or ideology, but still most of us not all but most of us were white
21:36 We weren't.
21:39 Later on. I came to distinguish between and I've been or the enemy and I don't see that so much as the case as you know, it's the way we have have masculinity and femininity Construction in our society that actually press his men to so it's really masculinity as it's constructed in the United States that to me and now is the problem and we didn't but we were living there and there was a lot of theory that came out of it, but it was also just and that's what I like to emphasise. It was really about the way we lift our lives.
22:15 And there were so much riding in the music and the theater groups. There was so much kind of cultural production during the time that it really change the image of the lesbian and I don't think I think young women don't know I'm saying this for the archive to realize there was lesbian feminism because the gay rights movement was dominated by men in the early women's movement didn't welcome lesbians and didn't see lesbianism it a zit or being a lesbian or blessed being rights is a feminist issue believe it or not. So we needed our own space to kind of Define what it meant to be a lesbian and a feminist and that was what was really important to me and I would still consider myself a lesbian feminist.
23:02 No needle strongly about that. Yeah, so hot but headed. This is wonderful community that you have everything right at what happened with gradually becoming less involved. Why are they going back to school for that part of it was
23:20 I got in a relationship, I guess since 74 that lasted look till about 1980 and then I got involved in another relationship but as it turned out lasted for the next twenty one years. I reach my thirties I decided I really wanted a career and I wanted to do something that was meaningful to me by that time. I was working for the welfare department still doing the social work, but it wasn't I just felt like I was not I was not trying to do it. You know Reagan was elected in 1980 and when all the regulations about all those programs were changing and they're so little we could actually do to make people's lives better. It was kind of discouraging in a lot of ways and it always had in the back of my mind that I want to be an academic. So I just decided to go back to school and
24:08 And all I started revolving more around that and my relationship and kind of but I still stay friends with like I'm still friends with you. I still kept the same friends that were Loosely part of this community and and I still kept up with what Alpha was doing, you know, I just went on to another phase of my life, I guess.
24:38 Project Alpha worked on
24:42 Well, we did raise money. I remember when we raise money for Joanne Littles defense. She was a black woman. Who is she she was indicted for murder for killing. Apparently she was raped by an officer while she was in prison. Yeah, she was attacked while she was in Prison Correctional Officer or Sheriff who lets himself don't remember the details.
25:11 Yeah, and it the whole point was that this was a woman who had acted in self-defense in both of racist and sexist you no context of of an attack on her.
25:26 So it was you know, there were cases like that that would cost him to come National kind of organizing campaigns supporters stuff. And so yeah, we would do stuff like that. We would a lot of that in that way Ally work. He talked about doing you know, kind of Ally where y'all look gay pride marches.
25:53 Yeah, just about as you were rude. Sure. Yeah.
25:57 If we were, I mean we didn't do interesting enough.
26:02 We would join other things that were happening in terms of political book like the era were pretty. All right, so we become part of that. I myself did a lot of working with other groups and organizations to work together to do a project some kind of project. We would work with the national anthem Clan net worth when it's so now we work with trying to make a Citywide.
26:33 Gay meaning LGB and an LGBT organization of the various groups that were in the city. We did the gay pride stuff every year we work with you know, whatever we were putting on that particular week. I work with them.
26:51 Black and white men together bwmt to help get the city to pass an ordinance against
27:01 We started because of racism in in the gay bars, but it became a general thing where bars in general couldn't discriminate based on race and some other things and and then we help try to enforce it by doing surveys about what was really happening now in the bars was but people still finding that kind of determination going on with grew out of Elsa. I mean the whole thing about the other lesbian groups that now exists almost everything you could think of started with Alpha women who then decided I want something more specific. I want something about any music. I want something about business women, you know, I want something about that as it may want to score is formed as a woman writes for him to let you know lots of beside the sports. It would like after the first year. They were many softball teams and many other kind of sports events. Now that started having lesbian organized team.
28:00 How to join the legs and remember to that in this. The only public space where you could go and know that you would find other lesbians was a bar until groups like, you know, an alpha now you can you know, there's so many LGBT organizations in Atlanta you would even know where to start but Alpha was really about it. And and if a woman that was the only lesbian that has been on this and we had a we always had a house the first out the house was some of us lived in it and we will use it as our meeting house and out the house and then we decided when we moved we decided to rent half of a duplex. Some people will live on one side and the other side was the out the house where it was where are meeting to occur with her events would occur parties Whitaker and then eventually news unfortunately the end of Alphas life. We actually bought a house.
28:56 So women's only space is is what we created.
29:05 That's kind of why I was talking about men not really being the enemy but lesbian separatism was kind of The Logical extreme of lesbian feminism, I guess and we did think it was really important to have women on my spices and you know, I think women still yeah that's important.
29:22 But anyway, so I went back to college to graduate school at Emory and and was concentrating and women's studies American studies house, building on my English major. So it's been feminist literary criticism in
29:40 American women's literature and history and
29:47 Being in this relationship and as I was getting ready to I was just about to finish my dissertation and then I would have my doctorate in thinking about getting a job. This was like the early 90s by now and I didn't really want to leave Atlanta. My partner at the time was an architect and it had her own practice and she didn't want to move and that's another thing that I think I can affect the community has had on me is that I really consider Atlanta so much my home and and so many of the people are still in my life that it would be hard for me to leave and I know you left and then came back. All right. But anyway just as I was finishing up thinking about again, like what am I going to do for a living now this friend of mine sent me this advertisement for a job at Emory directing the office of the time. It was the office of lesbian gay bisexual life.
30:44 And this was a new I was the plaid and I was tired and I was the first director of this program and our charge was to make him really welcoming environment for LGB and then eventually LGBT people and so it was just perfect and I got a faculty appointment. So here I was able to be an academic and activists know all at the same time. It was just great. I really love that and and we got a lot of the policies at Emory change or that sexual orientation added to the Equal Opportunity policy and eventually before I left so gender identity and gender expression that domestic Partners benefits. We just really the whole campus was gradually Transform Ya was he was one of the Emory and Duke was the only schools in the South that had a program like this at the time.
31:35 Automated of course, they were both private schools that said the Board of Regents of the University of the University system of Georgia. Didn't have to get involved cuz it would never would have happened then and then lesbian gay studies happened. And so what was helping develop some of those first words that start. I mean, I have no sense of one that really first showed up early in the 1990s. Yeah.
32:00 And what was the first school in in Georgia? Do you know that had a probably Emery Emery probably so yeah, I remember teaching course call lesbians and lesbianism in 20th century America notes till the 20th century. Then now I have to call it something different is a women's studies class and I remember one of the students coming to me and saying I want to take this course, but I don't want those words on my transcript, and I are going gray before my parents will see it and I'll get in trouble. I thought okay next time I have to call it something else.
32:37 Actually, I never taught it again. I'm not sure what I would have called it women identified women or so.
32:44 I actually I thought you know, what was Tom your your parents, but I did tell her that.
32:54 But you know we developed and now there's a what's it called studies and sexualities. There's a whole program at Emory and lot of other, you know, not in this study and sexualities that include not only LGBT but some women stuff. Yeah.
33:10 It's it's
33:12 It's not just lesbian and gay studies because you know, when you throw in gender and transgenderism and stuff like that is a little bit brighter and when you look at it in a broader cultural context not every culture define sort of gay and straight the way we do, you know, so it's more of my inclusive but I just you know, I think that that was just a logical progression from you. My days for early days in Atlanta to do in that and they're always interesting ly been a connection between Emory and Alpha. Remember we had students from Emory playing on her softball team. The first Carol Kilpatrick was still a student van and I didn't remember if my lime and his followers were students. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that sounds distorted and some of the other woman's music concerts are held at Emory when back when we had this music production company called lucyna's music and they would use
34:12 Similar kind of little Auditorium spaces at Emory to have concerts and events like that. So there was always some kind of cross pollination going on.
34:25 So I
34:28 Okay, so I
34:31 And that you said some of this before but what other things would you want younger women and one young woman who might listen to some of these historical things and in the lesbian, you know her history. What would you want them to know about lesbian feminism in the in the movement?
34:52 It's really hard. I think from our perspective now to realize how different it was even though it was like 40 years ago.
35:02 That things were so different that you just did not I did not feel that I could go.
35:08 And I could be out at my job that I could tell people. I just knew casually that I was a lesbian. I didn't come out to my family for quite a while.
35:16 And it was so important to have been less than feminism wasn't you know national movement? Cuz another thing that would happen to remember was people would just be coming through town and they crash it one of her Camino households that it was all of a sudden, you know, you could live a life that was just about being a lesbian and a feminist in trying to Define what that was and a lot of the books that were written down the songs ever written a lot of the the artistic or cultural production that came out of that era era was the first time they've been positive representations of lesbians those books some
35:56 By June Arnold and you know, what was the daughter's Incorporated was the press and yeah, it's okay and there was it was really about a lot of in a lot of ways about writing and singing and you know expressing ourselves and what it what it meant to be who we were and I think that changed things really forever before that almost every novel.
36:23 About lesbian, you know there be two women they fall in love on would turn out to be straight and go or go back to man the other would either die or become an alcoholic and it would have an unhappy ending like, you know starting with The Well of Loneliness, you know how it was all that kind of little formula and then all the sudden it was just we were all it was just all over the place and it was it was all about empowering ourselves and you know, you could disagree with what we came up with but it was there, you know to be changed and disagreed with and we kind of feel that cultural Nick at Emory up until you left being a director of the LGBT Life program. Did you really feel like the new students who came in were coming from a totally different place? The reason I'm asking is that I unfortunately get to hear a lot on the help desk Lambda.
37:18 What people are calling from the south and it sounds to me like it is 40 years ago cuz they're experienced and and their fears and where they are. That's it. So it like like start like to me when when I remember that as I'm talking to somebody again.
37:35 Yeah, I did see a difference, but you have to remember a lot of Emory students. Don't come from the South not the majority.
37:42 But all of a sudden we would have students parents visiting the campus and come into our office to make sure Andrew is going to be a good place for their gay son or their lesbian daughter. So yeah, I did see the more I think young people are coming out or knowledge into themselves and others that they're gay or lesbian and transgender ya earlier than ever before. So yeah, I do think I'm sure they're very is especially in small towns and rural areas. I know it's really still hard or if you just happen to be in a really religious family are very strict family, wherever you are. I can be hard but you know
38:24 What's your experience been out?
38:29 It's so much not an issue to be out now. It's just not I just don't think I just don't think about it. I really don't think about it. It's the only time I think about it now, it's interesting cuz I just started working as a tutor for private Tutoring company and sometimes I wonder cuz if you Google my name you would get all that stuff at Emory, you know, you would get would mediately be a parent Elsa lesbian. So I sometimes wonder what if some of those parents decided to check me out and Google me and but you know the company that hired me has a non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation. And so, you know, but personally, I just don't
39:08 Especially in Atlanta is just not this is not an issue and you know people in my hometown even I haven't been down there in a while but people down there started coming around whenever I came and I brought my partner at my mother's funeral this woman who had grown up down the street from me who by then was in her 80s still living in that same house on the street where I grew up came up to me and my partner at my mother's funeral and said, well, I just want you to know I'm glad you have each other and you don't care what anybody says, I think it's great. And you know, I was always different the way I thought about things, you know, so that would never happened. No goodness. No,
39:52 And also any saying any any last thought that you wanted to make sure somebody heard about your life.
40:01 Well, I guess the main thing is I'm really glad to grown up when I did because of all the social movements. I know it was really such an experience to go through all that really didn't even talk about all the other movements but you know the anti-war movement just no such an empowering time and I don't want people to know that I'm really glad I grew up where I when I did and to some extent because it really has a lot to do with who I am. Yeah.
40:29 Well, thanks for asking me to do it with you this wonderful. Yeah, it feels so natural just to be talking to you about this stuff. We've been talking about it since the 1970s. Thanks. Yes, I do.