Share Your Story – Classes 1960-1969

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2 thoughts on “Share Your Story – Classes 1960-1969

  1. Devon Clare

    When I was at Oberlin, I didn’t hear much talk about people being gay or lesbian, although there was talk about one of my psychology professors. People used to snicker about her. I don’t know if that was true or not. So I spent much too much time studying at Oberlin. I didn’t know what was going on in the world around me, but I guess I assumed they were straight and tried to act straight. I did have a crush on this male librarian, and I wonder today whether he was a gay guy. He didn’t seem to be interested in doing anything sexual with me, and I guess I wonder about that. But I wish the women’s movement had come sooner; then I wouldn’t have gotten married. I might have found out that I really liked women better. Not too much was going on between 1960 and 1964. Yet, it did seem that the college kind of pushed heterosexuality by having us freshman arrange ourselves around the dining room table — `boy-girl-boy-girl-boy-girl’ – ‘gracious living’ they called it.

  2. Anonymous

    I came to Oberlin in 1960, well before there was any hint of gay liberation in the air. I had been aware of my sexual orientation for only a year and hid it from everybody. I come from a very white, very middle class background. My parents were both college professors, both very liberal, but sex was never, ever mentioned in our house. Homosexuality simply did not exist in my world when I was growing up.

    Looking back now, I see a very opaque, unconscious state of mind with regards to sex. I had a best friend that I met when I was a freshman, and I knew that I wanted to be with him, but I wasn’t sure how. I know that I thought he was very handsome and had a beautiful body, and I wanted to touch it, but I didn’t know what else. Homosexuality, let alone anything more exotic, simply didn’t exist as far as I knew. I was just a sick, disgusting pervert with a horrible secret that I tried mightily to suppress. The word “gay” didn’t exist as far as I knew back then; I never met any other gay people that I knew of, and my only attempts at having sex were with straight friends, which were almost inevitably unsuccessful. Oberlin was liberal when it came to politics and race relations, but homosexuality wasn’t even on the map. Even straight sex was taboo – during my sophomore year, they finally instituted “parietal” hours, which meant that every other Sunday, between 1:30 and 4:00 pm, girls could visit boys in their dorm rooms, provided they: 1. Signed in and signed out 2. The room was clean and the bed was made 3. The door was left open six inches 4. No two people on the same piece of furniture and 5. Three out of four feet on the floor at all times.


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