Gabby Hochfeld, July 29, 2020

Dublin Core

Title

Gabby Hochfeld, July 29, 2020

Subject

COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
COVID-19 (Disease)

Description

Gabby Hochfeld discusses her life experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic including the ways in which it has effected her mental health, work life, and social interactions.

Publisher

Special Collections and Archives, Trexler Library, Muhlenberg College

Date

2020-07-29

Contributor

This oral history recording 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.

Rights

Copyright for this oral history recording is held by the interview subject.

This oral history is made available with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). The public can access and share the interview for educational, research, and other noncommercial purposes as long as they identify the original source.

Relation

40 Years of Public Health Experiences in the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community

Format

video

Language

English

Type

Movingimage

Identifier

PH40_03

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Kristen Leipert

Interviewee

Gabby Hochfeld

Original Format

video/mpeg

Duration

48:24

OHMS Object Text

5.4 July 29, 2020 Gabby Hochfeld, July 29, 2020 PH40_03 00:48:24 LVLGBT40 40 Years of Public Health Experiences in the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Muhlenberg College: Trexler Library Oral History Repository This oral history recording 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. COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020- COVID-19 (Disease) Gabby Hochfeld Kristen Leipert video/mpeg HochfeldGabby_20200729_video.mp4 1:|11(8)|36(1)|53(12)|63(1)|73(7)|86(14)|98(15)|114(6)|124(1)|137(7)|152(6)|167(4)|177(11)|189(10)|199(13)|210(14)|223(10)|237(12)|253(11)|262(7)|278(14)|290(7)|305(3)|312(20)|325(13)|338(5)|349(6)|360(12)|372(5)|388(4)|399(10)|413(13)|425(9)|436(2)|450(5)|461(14)|472(2)|483(13)|494(3)|504(9)|517(12)|527(6)|539(7)|552(15)|566(9)|584(7)|597(12)|633(7) 0 https://youtu.be/agof1WtrGxk YouTube video 0 Interview Introduction KRISTEN LEIPERT: My name is Kristen Leipert, and I am here with Gabby Hochfield to talk about her experience in the Lehigh Valley LGBT community during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archive. Our project has funding from the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium, and we are meeting on Zoom on July 29th, 2020. Thank you so much for your willingness to speak with us today. To start, can you please state your full name and spell it for me? GABBY HOCHFELD: Like legal first name and everything? Okay. Gabrielle Sarah Hochfield. G-A-B-R-I-E-L-L-E. Sarah, S-A-R-A-H. Hochfield, H-O-C-H-F-E-L-D. (laughs) 156 TRIGGER WARNING: Pandemic affecting work life, family life, and mental health GH: Okay. I’ll start with work, because I think that the pandemic quarantine situation started out affecting work, which in turn affected my family life. So, we moved at Bradbury-Sullivan to remote work, and before I lived an hour away from where I worked. I lived in the Poconos, in Monroe County. And I lived with my mom and my sister and my brother. And I barely saw them because I was constantly traveling for work. My job forced me to go to all of southeastern PA, minus Philly. So I’d very often have to drive to like Westchester. 470 Working as Bradbury-Sullivan Center's Southeastern Pennsylvania Health Outreach Coordinator during the pandemic GH: So I wasn’t really scared to lose my job, but I was like, how is this going to work? But mainly just telling gay people, stop smoking, stop vaping, please, thank you. Because it hurts us all. KL: Yeah. And have you been doing any of that work over Zoom? I mean, outreach with people. GH: Yeah. So, stuff that I've been doing that was able to stay the same pretty much was worksite policy implementation. 634 Living with roommates/More on mental health GH: Yeah. I do have two roommates who are also Lehigh students. I’m not a Lehigh student, but they’re Lehigh students that are international students that were able to stay. I don’t really talk to them too much. We had a couple board game nights, but it kind of just was like, eh, we don’t really have a lot in common, okay. 765 Realizations caused by the pandemic GH: There’s definitely some upsides. Before I was travelling way, way too much. I felt like I was a rocket ship and I didn’t have time to think about anything I was doing. I was just doing, doing, doing. And I feel like now I can kind of take a step back and sort of reflect on, again, even though my family situation was bad, I realized that I was not being respected and it made me realize what standard I set for the people in my life and I don’t. 1136 Interviewing in solidarity with domestic abuse survivors/Shaving head during pandemic GH: [...] But I just feel like, I hope that people that are going through domestic abuse situations come forward about this stuff. Because I feel like a lot of people feel very stuck, especially kids, during this time. I feel so bad for little kiddies that just are in a really, really abusive household situation. 1297 Identifying as queer/Thoughts on dating during the pandemic GH: [...] But I don’t know ; it’s also kind of awkward because I had a successful date with somebody that I knew this past weekend, and we hugged, but I was like, I guess I need to be serious or at least make sure that I want to be involved with this person because now we might be spreading germs, so that’s kind of similar to how -- not at all, well, I don’t know. It’s similar to HIV in that way. 1580 Thoughts on school openings GH: Yeah, it’s just not well thought out. What happens if one of the students gets COVID? What happens if the teacher gets COVID? I feel like they’re just like, &quot ; Well, we have to do this because if we don’t, then we lose money or we lose this.” And also obviously school is really important to continue and social -- homeschooled kids are very obvious to the -- you know who those are, versus a public school kid or whatever. But I mean, it’ll be fine. If we’re all homeschooled, then that’s the new norm. 1765 Thoughts on pandemic quarantine GH: It’s just so strange that we couldn’t -- if the answer truly was stay put for two weeks, I guess we can’t do that because there’s people that literally think this is a hoax, but I don’t know. Martial law is not -- if I was the president or dictator at this point, I would be like, “Okay, martial law. Two weeks. Get your groceries. You have a week to get your groceries and stuff, and then do not leave your property.” 1869 Randonauting during the pandemic GH: [...] But I need to be more active. I’ve been doing this thing called Randonauting, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. KL: No, I don’t know what that is. GH: It’s an app where they randomly generate a point on a map, given a parameter, and you’re supposed to “manifest” -- I don’t really like the idea of manifesting because I think it’s a little bit a crock of bullshit, because just because you think good things doesn’t mean good things will happen to you. 2040 Spending pandemic quarantine in a safe/creative way GH: I feel like a lot of people -- not me, because I don’t like alcohol that much -- but I feel like a lot of people are concerning me with their alcohol consumption. Like, I’ll call them and they’ll be like, “Oh yeah, I’m just drinking.” And like, again? 2189 Thoughts on Black Lives Matter/Thoughts on activism GH: [...] I’ve been very passionate about showing up and helping as much as I can. Sometimes it just conflicts with my schedule, but I recently went to the -- I don’t know if you heard about Palmerton’s protest a couple weeks ago. It’s a town over from where I used to live, and my good friends were the organizers. And it went very poorly. 2713 Conclusion GH: Yup. Thank you for doing this. It’s really cool. I’m excited to see what the product of it is, and yeah. I think this is going to be -- it’s cool to be part of a history thing. KL: Yeah, I mean thank you so much for your time. GH: Absolutely. MovingImage Gabby Hochfeld discusses her life experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic including the ways in which it has effected her mental health, work life, and social interactions. Gabby Hochfeld2020-07-29 KRISTEN LEIPERT: Okay, we are now recording. Uh-oh, I&#039 ; m going to do Liz&#039 ; s trick of also recording audio on my phone if I can find it. Nope, not that. Not this. And okay, great. Okay. My name is Kristen Leipert, and I am here with Gabby Hochfield to talk about her experience in the Lehigh Valley LGBT community during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archive. Our project has funding from the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium, and we are meeting on Zoom on July 29th, 2020. Thank you so much for your willingness to speak with us today. To start, can you please state your full name and spell it for me? GABBY HOCHFELD: Like legal first name and everything? Okay. Gabrielle Sarah Hochfield. G-A-B-R-I-E-L-L-E. Sarah, S-A-R-A-H. Hochfield, H-O-C-H-F-E-L-D. (laughs) KL: Thank you. Will you please share your birthdate? GH: My birthday?  KL: Mm-hmm, birthdate. GH: June 25th, 1997. KL: Oh, happy a little bit after your birthday. Okay, so this is the consent portion. So you just need to answer these questions. Do you consent to this interview today? GH: I do, yes. KL: Do you consent to having this interview being transcribed, digitized, and made publicly available online in searchable format? GH: Yes.  KL: Do you consent to the LGBT archive using your interview for educational purposes in other formats including films, articles, websites, presentations, and other formats? GH: Yes. KL: Do you understand that you will have thirty days after the electronic delivery of the transcript to review your interview, identify any parts you would like to delete, and or withdraw our interview from the project? GH: Yes. KL: Okay. This project has been approved by Muhlenberg College&#039 ; s institutional review board, and if you have any questions I can give you the email address of the person you can contact to ask questions to. So, how has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your life? And this could be your work life, personal life, social life, all the things. Anything. Go for it. GH: Okay. I&#039 ; ll start with work, because I think that the pandemic quarantine situation started out affecting work, which in turn affected my family life. So, we moved at Bradbury-Sullivan to remote work, and before I lived an hour away from where I worked. I lived in the Poconos, in Monroe County. And I lived with my mom and my sister and my brother. And I barely saw them because I was constantly traveling for work. My job forced me to go to all of southeastern PA, minus Philly. So I&#039 ; d very often have to drive to like Westchester. Like we&#039 ; d go to work, then go to Westchester, then come back to work, and then go home. So lots of driving, and when the quarantine happened, there was no out-of-county travelling supposed to be happening, so I had to stay in Monroe County. So I was constantly around my family because of this. And my little brother likes to game, and internet was really bad so I was blamed for a lot of it because I had a lot of Zoom meetings instead of in-person meetings, and it created a lot of tension. And something that I think a lot of people talk about is how this quarantine, this pandemic really exposes all the problems that already exist just even more. And my father is an actual diagnosable narcissist, and my counselor likes to say that having a relationship with a narcissist is a relationship of inevitable harm. And when you have a family dynamic underneath a narcissist, there&#039 ; s trauma bondage relationships. There&#039 ; s like all this psychological craziness, and it just came out. And I&#039 ; m the only one in my family that&#039 ; s currently going to counselling. I&#039 ; ve been going for like four years. I&#039 ; ve had a couple different counselors, because moving and stuff like that. But this was the first time I&#039 ; ve been counselled and realized there&#039 ; s a lot of stuff that I needed to figure out. And this quarantine really kind of pushed it to the forefront and kind of felt like I was scapegoated a bit. And I had to end up living with a friend for a little bit, which was really stressful because that took a while. Because I was afraid to go out of the house, really. So for three months I felt like my mental health was so bad. I don&#039 ; t know how, whatever, as long as my name is anonymous, I guess, but I did have suicidal thoughts during quarantine, and that&#039 ; s when I realized I really needed to leave my situation. And I was trying to do my part in the community by staying put and keeping to myself, but I couldn&#039 ; t. So I had to leave. And then I found an apartment where I currently am at, and it&#039 ; s a sublease from a Lehigh student, which wouldn&#039 ; t exist unless all the international students didn&#039 ; t have to go back home. So the person I&#039 ; m subleasing from is from Vietnam, and they had to go back and they can&#039 ; t come back until January. So very fortunate situation for me, but not so much for them. So yeah, it affected my life in every way possible. Some ways it&#039 ; s a blessing in disguise, because it made me realize that a lot of my insecurities come from how I&#039 ; m treated, not how I perceive myself. We don&#039 ; t come out of the womb and immediately start hating ourselves. I don&#039 ; t think that makes any sense, so yeah I just think that everyone&#039 ; s mental health seems like through the roof bad right now. And it just made mine all the much more worse, but also forced me to make me more serious about it in general. And work has been good, though. I mean, very supported through work, but that&#039 ; s not something I can say for everybody. Most of my close friends, they&#039 ; ve been laid off more than once because they&#039 ; re laid off initially then they were back, and then they just got laid off again, or they don&#039 ; t have good COVID policies. One of my friends works for the zoo, and she feels like it&#039 ; s not really safe to work there because of the people that come in and they don&#039 ; t really wear masks and stuff. So I&#039 ; m very, very thankful for where I work, and them taking this seriously. And even making a committee to figure out what the best way to reopen is. So yeah, I don&#039 ; t know if that was too much, but yeah. KL: No, that&#039 ; s great. So, when you talk about work, I know where you work, but would you like to say what you do there? GH: Yeah. So my job title&#039 ; s another mouthful. My name&#039 ; s a mouthful and this is a mouthful. But I&#039 ; m the Southeastern Pennsylvania Health Outreach Coordinator, which most of my job has to do with tobacco prevention and education, because it&#039 ; s the number one health disparity in the LGBT community, fun fact. And we had to take the name tobacco out of my job title because a lot of people don&#039 ; t like that word, for some reason, especially schools. So it&#039 ; s easier for me to get into schools and educate LGBT clubs, like GSAs and stuff like that. I also used to do bar outreach before the quarantine. I would go and bring goodie bags of tobacco prevention information and I&#039 ; d hand them out to people at bars. That&#039 ; s not happening anymore. Pretty much my whole position had to change. I am grant funded by basically, inadvertently or indirectly, the Department of Health. So I wasn&#039 ; t really scared to lose my job, but I was like, how is this going to work? But mainly just telling gay people, stop smoking, stop vaping, please, thank you. Because it hurts us all.  KL: Yeah. And have you been doing any of that work over Zoom? I mean, outreach with people. GH: Yeah. So, stuff that I&#039 ; ve been doing that was able to stay the same pretty much was worksite policy implementation. We&#039 ; re trying to get a bunch of LGBT-run, owned, or allied businesses to update or have a new tobacco policy. A lot of them are smoke-free policies, which don&#039 ; t include things that are still bad for their employees. Or they might not even include vaping, which is more common for younger people, I guess, nowadays. So, that was able to stay. Because it could just be done over email or phone call, and then we promote them on our social media. I used to do -- right now it&#039 ; s the summer, so I&#039 ; m not working at schools really. But we would do after school club stuff over Zoom. Yeah, it&#039 ; s been kind of slow, honestly, but still just doing what I can. Most of it is social media and Zoom-based though.  KL: Good. So, right now you are living in Bethlehem? I&#039 ; m only assuming Bethlehem. GH: Yeah, I live in Bethlehem. I&#039 ; m on south side, walking distance to Tally Ho&#039 ; s. (laughs) KL: Are you alone right now? GH: Yeah. I do have two roommates who are also Lehigh students. I&#039 ; m not a Lehigh student, but they&#039 ; re Lehigh students that are international students that were able to stay. I don&#039 ; t really talk to them too much. We had a couple board game nights, but it kind of just was like, eh, we don&#039 ; t really have a lot in common, okay.  KL: Well, at least you get some people time. I guess. I don&#039 ; t know. GH: It feels like I&#039 ; m alone, which sucks. But I am like that friend that will give a phone call to my friends when I&#039 ; m bored so I still keep in touch and I try not to feel alone even though it is lonely. But yeah. Again, mental health terrible for everybody. So at least if I&#039 ; m feeling alone, I&#039 ; m feeling alone in solidarity with everybody.  KL: Oh my God. So you&#039 ; ve mentioned mental health. So you&#039 ; re making sure you&#039 ; re doing well. GH: I&#039 ; m okay now. I [shouldn&#039 ; t?] have talked about that. I&#039 ; m okay. Just, when I was at my worst, that was like a wakeup call to me because I was like, I&#039 ; ve never let that way and that&#039 ; s not okay. And if I was somebody else -- I&#039 ; ve had a friend from high school who constantly was like, not good, and it was a worry all the time about whether they were going to be alive or not. So I was trying to think of myself as my best friend. What would I do if I heard this from my friend? And I was like, I&#039 ; ve got to make sure I&#039 ; m okay. So I&#039 ; m good. I wasn&#039 ; t good, but now I am. KL: That&#039 ; s great. So has there been anything that&#039 ; s like a positive outcome of this, or things that keep you occupied, how you&#039 ; re making yourself -- I was going to say happy. Sane? (laughs) Satisfied? I don&#039 ; t know. At a calm level. GH: There&#039 ; s definitely some upsides. Before I was travelling way, way too much. I felt like I was a rocket ship and I didn&#039 ; t have time to think about anything I was doing. I was just doing, doing, doing. And I feel like now I can kind of take a step back and sort of reflect on, again, even though my family situation was bad, I realized that I was not being respected and it made me realize what standard I set for the people in my life and I don&#039 ; t. So in that way it was good. I also learned about meditating and stuff, and I think that&#039 ; s really important. I&#039 ; m into astrology and I read cards, and I like crystals, so I&#039 ; m still like, COVID&#039 ; s a real thing. Science is real. And my stuff is probably BS, but it&#039 ; s really fun because it&#039 ; s cathartic. And I also feel like I&#039 ; m able to read for joy more. I feel like I&#039 ; m not wasting a lot of gas anymore. I think that having a more calm life is really, really good for me. And I think for a lot of people, who have been just -- I don&#039 ; t know, we all live under capitalism, and capitalism makes us feel like we need to constantly be doing and constantly be working. And everyone asks, &quot ; What&#039 ; s your dream job?&quot ; Why is that the thing that we need to dream about? Can&#039 ; t we dream about the relationships we have and not necessarily romance, but just what is actually important at the end of the day is not what job we have. Unless you make it important and for me it is important. But it&#039 ; s not because I&#039 ; m making money. It&#039 ; s not because of any of those reasons. I think that we&#039 ; re kind of learning how the world works in a way that treats humans better. But again, this isn&#039 ; t something that&#039 ; s sustainable for everyone. If you were working three jobs before, and you were like a waitress and you have kids and your rent is too much, that&#039 ; s not something that really works for everybody. So I&#039 ; m definitely in a place of privilege where I can say, &quot ; Yeah, I&#039 ; m chilling,&quot ; because of this, but other people are like, it&#039 ; s every day. Just terrible stuff, and I was very, very privileged to be able to walk away from a bad situation. Some people are stuck in domestic abuse situations, and that&#039 ; s definitely not a positive. But for me it was absolutely a positive, just didn&#039 ; t realize it when it was happening. But yeah. And it also kind of, I still work forty hours a week, but I don&#039 ; t work on the weekends anymore. And I kind of have flexibility. We have core hours during our workdays and I can do my personal flex hours, if I want, after dinner. Or really early, so I can have an early day. And that&#039 ; s really helpful for moms and parents in general who, that works really well for after the kid&#039 ; s asleep, they can do their work or whatever. So yeah, I think that there&#039 ; s definitely a lot of good stuff with this. KL: Yeah, and not that this is about me, but there is something nice about -- I have two children -- so it&#039 ; s been nice to be like, &quot ; All right, it&#039 ; s ten o&#039 ; clock in the morning, let&#039 ; s go for a walk.&quot ; You know? And then we can all reset our morning and then I can get back and I can be like, &quot ; Okay, go play video games so I can work for the rest of the day.&quot ; And not feel too guilty. (laughs) That they&#039 ; re just screen time all day. Because I&#039 ; ve just had to make peace with that. But yeah I&#039 ; m like, we can go for a ten o&#039 ; clock walk in the morning can go play outside at three. And then I can go back to work and just get it done before dinner. GH: Yeah. I will say, (inaudible) didn&#039 ; t remember to talk about that, but I do feel like I&#039 ; m constantly in front of a screen, which is not good. And humans are social creatures, so it&#039 ; s tough to like -- so I&#039 ; m absolutely a thousand percent, wear a mask. But it is tough to kind of just see this [covers lower half of face with hand] because I&#039 ; ll smile at somebody in public and they won&#039 ; t realize I&#039 ; m smiling. So there&#039 ; s a lot of stuff that kind of feels a little bit inhuman about this. But it&#039 ; s for the best. Hopefully we can figure out how to get out of this. KL: I know.   GH: I feel like this is going to be a lot longer than any of us will think it is. Mainly because we don&#039 ; t want to do that two-week strict quarantine, but -- KL: No, so stressful. GH: Also I think there was a study that was done that said that only half of the population that was surveyed about whether they get a vaccine or not would actually get a vaccine, so even if we do develop a vaccine, will it be taken seriously? That&#039 ; s tough. That&#039 ; s a personal thing ; that&#039 ; s just me kind of talking, so I hope that&#039 ; s usable. I don&#039 ; t know if it is. KL: I mean, it is. That&#039 ; s the thing, right? If someone in 30 years, who&#039 ; s going to know what happens, what the outcome of this is, can look back on it and be like, &quot ; Oh, that&#039 ; s what it was like to be living in it.&quot ; Everyone has a story, and they all say something. You know?  GH: Yeah. So the reason why I wanted to do this -- and I&#039 ; m sorry I forgot about it for a while -- but I really think that my story is an important one, because -- and I am queer, but my family is just, that&#039 ; s not even something I can even talk about really. But I just feel like, I hope that people that are going through domestic abuse situations come forward about this stuff. Because I feel like a lot of people feel very stuck, especially kids, during this time. I feel so bad for little kiddies that just are in a really, really abusive household situation. Yeah, and I hope that this is something that resonates with people, because it was bad. (laughs) Yeah. And I shaved my head, too, because (laughs) I had a whole, full-blown identity crisis. And what&#039 ; s a better time to shave your head than in a pandemic where you&#039 ; re all inside all day? So check that off my bucket list, move on. KL: Perfect. I did think, &quot ; I should&#039 ; ve colored my hair at the beginning of this.&quot ; GH: You have such fun hair. You have like --  KL: I&#039 ; ve got little nubbies. I call them my nubbies. Again, because I&#039 ; m like, &quot ; Oh, now my hair&#039 ; s too long and I&#039 ; m done with it.&quot ; I&#039 ; ve just gone like this and I just don&#039 ; t even care. (laughs) So you&#039 ; ve shaved your head. That&#039 ; s awesome. GH: (inaudible) Grown out. I used to have a pixie cut, so it wasn&#039 ; t like anything crazy. But it was crazy for me. I just did it because I tried to give myself a haircut and then I was like, &quot ; I want a side shave.&quot ; And then I did that and it didn&#039 ; t look good and I was like, &quot ; Okay, well I guess it&#039 ; s not salvageable, so you&#039 ; ve got to shave it.&quot ; And then I was like crying while I was doing it, but I was also like, &quot ; But this is so satisfying.&quot ; So yeah. And there&#039 ; s some theories about how trauma lives in the hair, so maybe that was a symbolic sort of cleanse. I don&#039 ; t know, but yeah. Everyone kept calling me brave when I shaved it. I was like, &quot ; It&#039 ; s not brave. I kind of just have to deal with it.&quot ; And I bought a wig but it looked terrible, so I was trying not to be brave. Yeah. It&#039 ; s kind of growing now. We&#039 ; re getting there, I don&#039 ; t know. KL: I like it. I know. Okay. So, you identify as queer. GH: Mm-hmm. Yeah, just generally queer. Yeah. I don&#039 ; t really care too -- I guess the closest -- I used to care about the label, because it&#039 ; s helpful to sort of have something to understand and feel connected with people on. Like, are other people experiencing this? And I was resonating with pansexual before. And then I was just like but I don&#039 ; t really know and I don&#039 ; t really care. And so I kind of just say queer or gay. I don&#039 ; t know ; I don&#039 ; t really care. Yeah. Yeah. KL: Is there anything else you want to talk about before I start asking you about obnoxious things like virtual Pride? GH: I don&#039 ; t know.  KL: I&#039 ; m sure you&#039 ; re all in on that.  GH: I actually feel like something else that changed is dating during a pandemic. I&#039 ; m [inherently?] single. I&#039 ; m not mad about it, but I did try to go back on Bumble and stuff. And I did go on a virtual Zoom date and it was terrible. And because it was boring. And yeah, I feel like it&#039 ; s already hard enough to date when you&#039 ; re queer because everyone&#039 ; s dating everybody. I feel like the gay community is like band kids. Like all the band kids would date each other and it was just like, &quot ; What are they doing?&quot ; So it&#039 ; s a challenge, because everyone I know that&#039 ; s gay is already an ex of my friend or something. I&#039 ; m just like, okay. But I don&#039 ; t know ; it&#039 ; s also kind of awkward because I had a successful date with somebody that I knew this past weekend, and we hugged, but I was like, I guess I need to be serious or at least make sure that I want to be involved with this person because now we might be spreading germs, so that&#039 ; s kind of similar to how -- not at all, well, I don&#039 ; t know. It&#039 ; s similar to HIV in that way. Except this affects everybody, so now I guess the straight community has to deal with like, oh, where has their mouth been? Where has their butthole or whatever been? Like, I don&#039 ; t know. So I think that there should be more said about dating in a pandemic. Obviously I think that the right answer is just keep your partners to a minimum because you don&#039 ; t want to spread shit, but is that really feasible? Are people going to listen to that? Obviously not because -- not that I&#039 ; m saying that they shouldn&#039 ; t, I think that they should -- but it&#039 ; s kind of like telling people just not to have sex until they&#039 ; re married. That&#039 ; s not going to happen for most people. So yeah, I don&#039 ; t know if that&#039 ; s relevant, but [I want it to be?]. KL: No, it totally is. And some of the AIDS interviews that Liz has done -- so many people say the same thing, you know? They were active at the time, during the AIDS crisis, they were in their 20s and they were active in talking about safer sex with people and handing out condoms, and then totally being promiscuous on their own and taking none of their own advice and talking about how they did one thing and said a different thing. So I think it&#039 ; s similar, how you can say something and think, &quot ; Okay.&quot ; Even going to the grocery store or whatever, when you&#039 ; re like, &quot ; Okay, I&#039 ; ll stand six feet apart from people.&quot ; But then you&#039 ; re just walking past them because they&#039 ; re in your way. You just got to go. There&#039 ; s something that&#039 ; s human in how you&#039 ; re not used to being far apart from people, no matter what. And I don&#039 ; t know. Like in dating yeah. I mean, how can you just be like, &quot ; What&#039 ; s up? It&#039 ; s nice to meet you.&quot ; And then just -- how do you end that conversation without like, a hug or something?  GH: I just think about how colleges are reopening, and I was gross in college. Like, one of my best friends and I did a make out competition and we had -- first of all, everything was consensual. We had to ask to kiss somebody, whatever. But I made out with twelve people in the course of two weeks. We can&#039 ; t do that right now! We can&#039 ; t do that. That&#039 ; s gross! And also Moravian College just had the mumps outbreak before COVID, so I mean, it&#039 ; s just a lot to think about here. And everyone&#039 ; s just like, &quot ; Nope, we&#039 ; ve got to keep on going because the economy.&quot ; And I was just, &quot ; You can&#039 ; t have an economy if you lose a lot of people.&quot ; And just because it says 1% doesn&#039 ; t mean that&#039 ; s a small number. Obviously comparatively, yeah, that&#039 ; s small. However, 1% of a million is a lot still. And I feel like teachers should be a little bit uncomfortable with reopening if like, &quot ; Well, only one percent of your students might die.&quot ; You shouldn&#039 ; t want that. Anyways, rant over with that. I don&#039 ; t know.  KL: I know. Well, that&#039 ; s all my feelings right now. And again, this isn&#039 ; t about me. But I&#039 ; m on this college end of it, so I&#039 ; m seeing how that college planning is going, and then I&#039 ; ve got these kids in elementary school and I&#039 ; m like, &quot ; I don&#039 ; t want them to go back to school,&quot ; only because I hear all these faculty members -- they&#039 ; re not teaching in class. They don&#039 ; t want to be with students in class, and yeah, college kids are gross. But you know who else is gross? Fourth graders. You know? So it&#039 ; s like, how is -- yeah. Yeah.  GH: Yeah, it&#039 ; s just not well thought out. What happens if one of the students gets COVID? What happens if the teacher gets COVID? I feel like they&#039 ; re just like, &quot ; Well, we have to do this because if we don&#039 ; t, then we lose money or we lose this.&quot ; And also obviously school is really important to continue and social -- homeschooled kids are very obvious to the -- you know who those are, versus a public school kid or whatever. But I mean, it&#039 ; ll be fine. If we&#039 ; re all homeschooled, then that&#039 ; s the new norm. I don&#039 ; t know.  KL: Yeah. Well I know. Some kids need to go to school because they need to learn how to be social with other kids. And I&#039 ; m like, &quot ; Okay, my kids are super social so they don&#039 ; t need that part,&quot ; so I feel like keeping them home for a year. They&#039 ; re going to be fine. I mean, they might not like it because they love other people, but hey, who likes it? I don&#039 ; t like it. I miss everyone I work with, I miss my friends, you know.  GH: It&#039 ; s just so strange that we couldn&#039 ; t -- if the answer truly was stay put for two weeks, I guess we can&#039 ; t do that because there&#039 ; s people that literally think this is a hoax, but I don&#039 ; t know. Martial law is not -- if I was the president or dictator at this point, I would be like, &quot ; Okay, martial law. Two weeks. Get your groceries. You have a week to get your groceries and stuff, and then do not leave your property.&quot ; KL: Yeah, lock everyone in. GH: I would be hated, but I would&#039 ; ve saved the whole world. (laughs) KL: Everyone just do your thing. Binge TV shows for a week, a couple weeks, you&#039 ; re good. Eat and binge TV shows. Work out if you want to. GH: Yeah, and so I feel like a lot of cities aren&#039 ; t necessarily having issues. I feel like it&#039 ; s more left in cities, but where I&#039 ; m from, there&#039 ; s Trump signs everywhere and everyone has a lot of property. So you don&#039 ; t even have to keep it inside. Just go outside and chill. I don&#039 ; t know. But yeah. What was the next question you had? KL: Oh my gosh. I don&#039 ; t -- it&#039 ; s whatever you want to talk about. I&#039 ; ve got social life and personal pursuits, some categories. I have mental and physical health. We talked about dating. GH: Physical health, I guess physical health -- [dings] sorry. I had a gym membership before the quarantine, and I was going like three times a week. So I was trying to be better, and then this happened and I was like, &quot ; Perfect, I don&#039 ; t have to exercise anymore.&quot ; I do have to cancel my gym membership though. But I need to be more active. I&#039 ; ve been doing this thing called Randonauting, I don&#039 ; t know if you&#039 ; ve ever heard of it. KL: No, I don&#039 ; t know what that is. GH: It&#039 ; s an app where they randomly generate a point on a map, given a parameter, and you&#039 ; re supposed to &quot ; manifest&quot ; -- I don&#039 ; t really like the idea of manifesting because I think it&#039 ; s a little bit a crock of bullshit, because just because you think good things doesn&#039 ; t mean good things will happen to you. Obviously having a positive mindset is ideal, but you know, I just think it&#039 ; s a little bit privileged, coming from that. Not everyone can think good thoughts and good things will happen to them. But you&#039 ; re supposed to manifest something, and then the point is generated, and then you go to that point and see what&#039 ; s up. And a lot of people on Reddit and Twitter have been finding really weird stuff. Like there&#039 ; s a lot of articles about people finding -- they&#039 ; ll manifest &quot ; death&quot ; and they&#039 ; ll find a dead body on a beach or something. So I don&#039 ; t do that, but what I do do is, I manifested -- I went with a friend because it kind of can be creepy sometimes, but I manifested a cryptid, which is like Sasquatch or Loch Ness. It&#039 ; s like mythical creatures. I was like, &quot ; I want to see a cryptid.&quot ; And then they generated a point towards a strip mall, which is like, that&#039 ; s interesting. And we saw a groundhog. So it was like a cheeky sort of experience, but it&#039 ; s kind of fun and a lot of the times it&#039 ; ll be in the middle of a forest. So you have to hike, so that&#039 ; s been my sort of physical activity. I&#039 ; ll just go with a friend that I see regularly, because (inaudible) live together. If I have COVID, she has COVID. That&#039 ; s my sort of mental, or the way I work that out in my head. I hope it&#039 ; s not problematic, but if it is, I&#039 ; m okay with it because I literally don&#039 ; t see anybody all day. So -- KL: No, I you know --  GH: I don&#039 ; t go to parties. I don&#039 ; t hang out with a lot of people. It&#039 ; s like three people that I see outside of my house, and that&#039 ; s it. But I guess people should get creative with how to spend their time, if they can&#039 ; t do the things that they were doing before. Yeah.  KL: And like, reaching out to people that you can, I don&#039 ; t know, video chat with. Or be with in your bubble, whatever they&#039 ; re calling it. GH: I feel like a lot of people -- not me, because I don&#039 ; t like alcohol that much -- but I feel like a lot of people are concerning me with their alcohol consumption. Like, I&#039 ; ll call them and they&#039 ; ll be like, &quot ; Oh yeah, I&#039 ; m just drinking.&quot ; And like, again? It&#039 ; s a Tuesday. So I guess that goes along with mental health. But no, I haven&#039 ; t been doing that. Although maybe I should, on a weekend. But I feel like it&#039 ; s like, I don&#039 ; t know, doesn&#039 ; t feel like -- I don&#039 ; t know. KL: That&#039 ; s not the hobby you want to develop right now. GH: No, but I do feel like a lot of people are like, &quot ; Whelp, if I&#039 ; m not going to go out, I guess I&#039 ; m going to drink here,&quot ; and then yeah, so, concerned. I think that there should be a -- if we&#039 ; re going to be doing this for a while, I think that there should be more messaging about how to be a person in this time. Because it seems like they&#039 ; re just telling us what we should be doing and then a lot of people get mad about it, that aren&#039 ; t creative. I don&#039 ; t know. Here&#039 ; s how you should be safe during a pandemic and also in a mental health way. Because not many people are about here with a counselor. So yeah. I think that that should be something that&#039 ; s focused on. I don&#039 ; t see that a lot anywhere, though. KL: Yeah I know, that&#039 ; s really true. I know, I&#039 ; m like so thankful for my friends who I can be sad to every day, or be happy to, or yeah.  GH: Oh, I guess another part is like, Black Lives Matter. I&#039 ; ve been very passionate about showing up and helping as much as I can. Sometimes it just conflicts with my schedule, but I recently went to the -- I don&#039 ; t know if you heard about Palmerton&#039 ; s protest a couple weeks ago. It&#039 ; s a town over from where I used to live, and my good friends were the organizers. And it went very poorly.  KL: Oh, no. GH: Lots of counter protestors. There was a lot of rumors that we were bussing in three hundred people from the Lehigh Valley, which is a very intentional terminology used by a lot of conspiracy theorists who think that George Soros funds this stuff. And there were like maybe 80 people there, and then like over three hundred of the other people there, not wearing masks. They also had guns and were pushing people, so I felt unsafe. I was having some heart palpitations from it, because it was hot out and I felt unsafe. So I left a little early, but it kind of was a wakeup call to me to see that people are really upset on both sides, and it&#039 ; s really hard to communicate. Not for me ; on my social media, I am pretty honest about my beliefs and I&#039 ; ll post something and be like, &quot ; If you want to talk about it, I&#039 ; m absolutely down to talk about it. However, if you&#039 ; re rude, you&#039 ; re not allowed to. And you can absolutely unfriend me if this offends you.&quot ; You know, like I&#039 ; m not going to unfriend people for disagreeing. I will unfollow them if I see racist bullshit. I just don&#039 ; t want to create an echo chamber for myself, but I also don&#039 ; t want to spend time on people who just won&#039 ; t change. So I feel like a lot of people just don&#039 ; t want to have conversations. A lot of the Black Lives Matter protestors actually did want to have conversations, I will say, but I don&#039 ; t think they ever were in debate in high school or understand how to not -- I don&#039 ; t think opening up with, &quot ; That&#039 ; s racist,&quot ; is going to reach people, even if it&#039 ; s true. So I feel like with the Trump presidency and with all these really, really contrasting views, it&#039 ; s just really hard to communicate. And no one&#039 ; s setting a real example, I think. If somebody called me a racist, I would be like, &quot ; Okay, why?&quot ; But I think most people would just be really offended and be like, &quot ; You&#039 ; re an asshole, fuck you.&quot ; And I think there has to be some sort of know your audience, but unfortunately the people that showed up to this protest that were counter protesting it were not interested in listening at all. Because you know, if you showed up to protest a protest, I don&#039 ; t think you&#039 ; re going to listen. So I kind of tried -- I was the person that was trying to kind of reel us all in like hey, just ignore them. The more you do this thing -- you can&#039 ; t tell who&#039 ; s the idiot, if you&#039 ; re arguing with an idiot. So, I think that that was a big mental health thing for people. I&#039 ; m mostly coming from the Black Lives Matter perspective rather than the other side, because that&#039 ; s a whole different sort of thing for me. But a lot of my friends continue to argue on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, and I&#039 ; m out here and I&#039 ; m just like, &quot ; You know what? I need a break. This is a lot.&quot ; And I know that kind of is selfish to take a break when other people can&#039 ; t take a break because this is their everyday life, but I can&#039 ; t continue to do my best and fight for what&#039 ; s right if I&#039 ; m going to be drained and upset, so I&#039 ; m going to educate myself. I took a week to read some Black and queer poetry, and then I talked with friends about it, and tonight I&#039 ; m going to do a city council thing. We&#039 ; re going to do our best. I just don&#039 ; t think that a lot of people are realizing that they can&#039 ; t continue to keep doing the same thing and feel better. They&#039 ; re not going to. I appreciate the fight, though. I appreciate that people have so much passion for it, but I just realized, I&#039 ; m twenty-three. And trying to please everybody has never worked for me. It&#039 ; s only made me want to die, so I&#039 ; m not doing that anymore. I&#039 ; m going to please myself, I&#039 ; m going to try to please other people to the best of my ability, and if it doesn&#039 ; t happen, it doesn&#039 ; t happen. So yeah. But small towns are tough, and I&#039 ; m really glad that Lehigh Valley, at least the police aren&#039 ; t complete trash. They haven&#039 ; t been violent, as far as I can tell. So thankfully there&#039 ; s that, but not the same for the rest of the country, which is also really scary. Just a million different things happening that are completely bogus and crazy, and we&#039 ; re supposed to just be chill? Like no, it&#039 ; s okay to not be chill. Just don&#039 ; t push through that. Actually, we&#039 ; re in a pandemic, we&#039 ; re supposed to be quarantined. Take a second. You can. The fight&#039 ; s still going to be there tomorrow, absolutely. Yeah. I just wish I could tell people to slow down when they&#039 ; re supposed to be slowed down for a sec. And this is advice actually not that I came up with. This is advice from my advisor in college who I am friends with, and she is a really intelligent person. She has done a lot of good social justice work, but she takes breaks because you can&#039 ; t keep -- if it&#039 ; s a marathon, you can&#039 ; t just do that.  KL: Yeah, because then you just can&#039 ; t continue to do it. You can&#039 ; t continue that work, and -- GH: As long as you get back into it. Some people, it is just a trend for some people. That&#039 ; s to be expected, and it doesn&#039 ; t bother me as much as it should, probably, because I&#039 ; m just like, well, the women&#039 ; s march back in 2016, the more people involved, I think the less specific an issue becomes. Obviously it&#039 ; s raising awareness towards something, but I think a lot of the criticisms of the women&#039 ; s march were that it was vague. And it was, but it also showed how intersectional feminism can pretty much encompass every part of our lives, so you know, good and bad with it. But with stuff that is racial, it&#039 ; s probably best for people that aren&#039 ; t going to say the right stuff to let other voices come through more, because some people really are like, &quot ; Yeah, Black Lives Matter, but I&#039 ; m not racist.&quot ; You know what, if you&#039 ; re white, you&#039 ; re probably a little racist at least. KL: Yeah. You can&#039 ; t see that in yourself and admit that.  GH: Yeah. Some of the protests I went to, where they had people like come up and speak about something. I saw some white people go up. I&#039 ; m like, &quot ; Sit back down, sit back down. This isn&#039 ; t your time. Wait until other people go up, oh my gosh.&quot ; So you know, I&#039 ; m not necessarily [in bad?] about it. I mean, obviously the more the merrier that are going to stand in solidarity, but some people&#039 ; s voices do come through when they shouldn&#039 ; t. Just like with TERFs, like JK Rowling. I mean, we don&#039 ; t want her to be talking right now. No thank you. Yup. Yeah. KL: Yeah. Okay. I don&#039 ; t know, I feel like we have a few more minutes. So if you have anything else to say before we wrap it up. GH: Not really. I think I did a good rant sesh.  KL: Me too. It was awesome. GH: Yup. Thank you for doing this. It&#039 ; s really cool. I&#039 ; m excited to see what the product of it is, and yeah. I think this is going to be -- it&#039 ; s cool to be part of a history thing. KL: Yeah, I mean thank you so much for your time.  GH: Absolutely. KL: And it&#039 ; s interesting on -- it&#039 ; s been fun to see everybody. It&#039 ; s been fun to listen to people, and I don&#039 ; t know. I don&#039 ; t know if fun&#039 ; s the right word, but it&#039 ; s been good. And it&#039 ; s, I think, a good -- I don&#039 ; t even know. A good view of all the things.  GH: So, is this an anonymous thing, or not really? KL: Not really. I mean, if you want it to be. GH: So, I guess it&#039 ; s fine. I&#039 ; m comfortable with sharing any of that, but I feel like some people -- I guess with the mental health stuff where I talk about the sensitive stuff, definitely trigger warning for some people. And I want it to be very evident that I am okay, because I don&#039 ; t want people worrying about me. I didn&#039 ; t tell anybody at work that -- they knew that there was stuff going on in my life, because they saw that my environment changed on Zoom. But I didn&#039 ; t tell them that I was that bad. So I guess I&#039 ; m chill with it. I just hope that it&#039 ; s put in a way that doesn&#039 ; t concern my friends and family. Which, it is concerning but I&#039 ; m okay. I don&#039 ; t know. I&#039 ; m cool with whatever, and I&#039 ; m not going to take back anything. KL: Well, I mean, I&#039 ; m still recording by the way. But I mean, you&#039 ; ll get the transcript and you can look through it, and if you want to cut anything out, we can do that. GH: Yeah, okay.  KL: And then, what else? GH: It should be fine.  KL: And Ariel did one of these, too. GH: Ariel? KL: Mm-hmm. He did that. He did one. GH: Ollie also told me he did one. KL: Oh, did he?  GH: I think so. Do you know Ollie? KL: I do know Ollie. GH: He used to work at the center.  KL: Or, did he, with Liz?  GH: Maybe with Liz. KL: Maybe he hasn&#039 ; t done it yet. Anyway, sorry, I just got [involved?] thinking of all of Liz&#039 ; s (inaudible). GH: You&#039 ; re really good at this. You made me feel very comfortable. Yeah. KL: Good, I&#039 ; m glad. I know. I should stop recording, and then I&#039 ; ll say -- anyway, thank you! I&#039 ; m going to stop recording, and then I&#039 ; ll just talk to you for fun.  GH: Oh, Okay. KL: Hold on. And -- END OF VIDEO FILE  Copyright for this oral history recording is held by the interview subject. video This oral history is made available with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). The public can access and share the interview for educational, research, and other noncommercial purposes as long as they identify the original source 0

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“Gabby Hochfeld, July 29, 2020,” Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archive Oral History Repository, accessed July 23, 2024, https://trexlerworks.muhlenberg.edu/lgbt_oralhistory/items/show/34.