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Open Access Publications from the University of California

David Kirk: Out in the Redwoods, Documenting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, 1965-2003


I chose to interview Dave Kirk primarily because I believed he possessed a wealth of information waiting to be unleashed, much like how I perceived my own grandfather. I was drawn to the Out in the Redwoods project in spite of my heterosexuality, because I felt, as a Latina woman, the repressed voice and struggles experienced by gay persons which I have witnessed firsthand. I wanted, as an undergraduate anthropology major, to contribute to the historical and present understandings of gays in the community, more specifically, my community at UCSC and in Santa Cruz. Having only lived in California for three years and migrating from the South, I strongly believe that the discursive and pervasive stereotypes surrounding gays are harmful to everyone in society. David has dedicated a large portion of his life to help counteract those stereotypes, and even now in his retirement he is a lifelong contributor supporting gay rights. Dave and I interviewed on the sunny Valentine's Day of 2002 in the parlor of his home warmed by a gas fireplace, and sliding glass doors allowing a peering into the outdoors. I remember the birds jubilantly chirping outside and an overwhelming sense of welcome and peace.

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