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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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


John Laird came to UCSC in 1968, and graduated in 1972. In 1983, Laird was elected mayor of Santa Cruz, and became the first openly gay mayor in the United States. He was also a founding member of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project (SCAP). In 2002, Laird was elected to the California State Legislature as one of two of the first openly gay men to be elected to the Assembly. Laird was interviewed on September 13, 2001 in his office at the Santa Cruz County building. The timing of this interview was significant because it took place two days after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

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