Rick Ramos was born in Santa Monica, lived in Venice Beach, and has been in Idaho for three years. He was the youngest of three; his father married three times and had a child with each wife. He grew up in a beach town community, where his mother worked as a hairdresser and his father worked on a loading dock. He was never attracted to women and he came out to his mother when she asked if he was gay. Ramos discusses sexuality in the pre-AIDS era, homophobic employers in California, and his involvement and mentoring with the United Church of Christ. He describes the differences in gay culture and life between California and Idaho.
Steve Martin was born in California in 1966. He moved to Caldwell for high school. He self-identifies as a gay man and came out twice, at ages 23 and 26. In the mid- to late-1990s, Martin became involved in LGBTQ activities and organizations. Preferring the word "advocate" over "activist," he was part of The Community Center, and Your Family, Friends and Neighbors. He discusses plays and activities of Spontaneous Productions, a gay community theatre group. He works for the Pride Foundation.
Theron Wayne McGriff was born on July 14th, 1963 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and grew up on a farm in nearby Star City. He went through a difficult and precedent setting court case for custody of his two children, Callan and Payton. At the time of the interview, he had no relationship with his one older sister due to her behavior during the custody case. Theron met, dated and quickly married his ex-wife, Shawn, in their late twenties. She divorced him after they moved to Idaho Falls and one year later he started dating his partner, Nick Case. He has since had a significant impact on his community. Along with some friends, he started an HIV/AIDS black tie fundraising event. He became the first president of the resulting event organization, Breaking Boundaries. His work with Breaking Boundaries, Pride Foundation, the precedent setting court case and his support of people going through similar cases across the country, have led to a great deal of deserved recognition. This ranges from the mayor’s choice award for their 4th of July Breaking Boundaries parade float to the President’s Call to Service Award and the National LGBT Bar Association and the Lavender Law Association’s Pioneering LGBT Parents Award. He feels that, “You don’t need to explain who and what you are. If people have an issue with it, it’s that, it’s their issue.” The background noise throughout the interview is the breaking down of the previous night’s 10th anniversary Breaking Boundaries event which drew 400 people and raised approximately $35,000. His relationship with his daughters, Nick and the impact of the custody case are woven throughout the interview.
This Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) Oral History Project began as a key component of a cross-listed Boise State University course, Intro to LGBTQ Studies (GEN 380, HIS 381, SOC 497). Dr. Riley Caldwell-O’Keefe taught the course and designed the project as an interactive learning tool to help students understand LGBTQ history, with special emphasis on Idaho history, and the impacts of this history on local individuals. In addition to this history and context, students learned interviewing techniques throughout the semester. We discussed ethical considerations and obtained Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the project. Throughout the process, we worked with Boise State Special Collections librarians, Alan Virta and Cheryl Oestreicher. The culmination and digital release of the collection would have been impossible without them. We are thrilled and honored to offer these first-person insights which help provide a more well-rounded and comprehensive story of Idaho history.
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