Stories from LGBT Older Adults in the Lehigh Valley

Dublin Core


Stories from LGBT Older Adults in the Lehigh Valley


This collection began in 2019 with the initial goal of collecting ten oral histories from older adult LGBT people in the Lehigh Valley. Topics explored include the childhood experiences of LGBT people, experiences within educational and religious institutions, coming out stories, understanding of the gay liberation movement (1960-1980s), experience of the early years of the AIDS epidemic and AIDS activism (1980s-present), and experience with the fight for marriage equality.

The project has been a collaborative effort among faculty and librarians from Cedar Crest College, Lehigh University, Moravian College, Muhlenberg College, and members of the local community, under the direction of Dr. Mary Foltz, Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University and Co-Director of the South Side Initiative.

Processing of the initial ten interviews is nearing completion, and the remaining interviews will be added to this site by the end of 2020. 

The project was sponsored in part by the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium, with generous support provided by a grant to Lafayette College from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Collection Items

Frank Whelan, July 23, 2019
Frank Whelan recounts his life as a gay man, the LGBT organizations he was involved in, his work as a reporter for The Morning Call, and its impact on the Lehigh Valley as well as his life.

Bob Wittman, August 23, 2019
Bob Wittman describes his life growing up gay in Allentown, reporting at The Morning Call, and the LGBT community within the Lehigh Valley.

Don Kohn, May 11, 2020
Don Kohn talks about his involvement with the Eastern PA chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

Nadine Anderson, May 12, 2020
Nadine Anderson recounts her time as an LGBT individual in church, her career in psychology, and how the fields have developed over the years.

Patricia Sullivan, July 19, 2019
Patricia Sullivan talks about her life growing up in Florida, her journey to creating crucial LGBT organizations, and it's impact on the LGBT community.

Joseph Burns (Part 1), October 12, 2019
Joseph Burns talks about his experience of being a gay man in Bethlehem, PA in the 1970s and '80s, namely his involvement with Le-Hi-Ho (Lehigh Valley Homophile Movement).

Joseph Burns (Part 2), October 13, 2019
Joseph Burns shares stories of Le-Hi-Ho, LGBT activism, and personal relationships.
View all 7 items