Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Timothea Branham, April 14, 2011

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Differences between Pike County, Kentucky and Lexington / why she moved to Lexington

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Partial Transcript: Alright this is, uh, Zach Pence and I am interviewing, uh, Timothea Branham--

Segment Synopsis: Timothea Branham talks about growing up in Pike County, Kentucky and moving to Lexington due to her father's arrest for sodomy. She talks about why she feels more at ease in Pike County.

Keywords: Extended families; Fast-paced; Fathers; Gay lifestyle; Home; John's Creek (Pikeville, Ky.); Morehead State University; Newspapers; Relaxed; Rural areas; Sodomy charges; Traffic; Working

Subjects: Closeted gays.; Gay parents.; Gays--Family relationships.; Homosexuality--Law and legislation.; Lesbians--Family relationships.; Lexington (Ky.)--Social conditions; Mass media and gays; Parents of gays.; Pike County (Ky.)--Social life and customs; Rural families; Sexual minorities' families.; Sexual minority parents.

GPS: Pikeville (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.477222, -82.53
00:04:50 - Realization of being gay and coming out to her mother

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Partial Transcript: When did you first realize that you were a l--maybe, you know, different?

Segment Synopsis: Branham talks about realizing she was attracted to girls and coming out to her mother shortly after her father's arrest. She talks about how her mother reacted and how her reaction was shaped by her father's arrest and her family's religion. She talks more about the Pike County community's reactions to her father's arrest.

Keywords: Attraction; Being open; Betrayal; Community reactions; Cousins; Crushes; Fathers; Lexington (Ky.); Mothers; Reactions; Realizing; Reporters; Safety; Sisters; Sodomy charges; Southern Baptist

Subjects: Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay parents.; Gays--Family relationships.; Homosexuality--Law and legislation.; Homosexuality--Religious aspects.; Lesbians--Family relationships. Closeted gays.; Mass media and gays; Parents of gays.; Pike County (Ky.)--Social life and customs; Rural families; Sexual minorities' families.; Sexual minority parents.

GPS: Pike County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.47, -82.39
00:11:55 - Feeling of freedom in college / lesbian identity

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Partial Transcript: So you went off to college?

Segment Synopsis: Branham talks about the feeling of freedom and the opportunities for exploration that came with going to college away from her hometown. She talks about why she never developed an identity based mainly upon being a lesbian. She talks about the difference between her own generation and her father's.

Keywords: Appearance; College; Concerns; Exploration; Family ties; Fathers; Freedom; Generations; Image; Morehead State University; Mothers

Subjects: Gay culture.; Gay parents.; Gays--Family relationships.; Lesbians--Family relationships.; Lesbians--Identity.; Parents of gays.; Sexual minorities' families.; Sexual minorities--Identity.; Sexual minority college students; Sexual minority parents.

GPS: Morehead State University (Morehead, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.189322, -83.431247
00:16:27 - Differences between stigma for gay men and gay women

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Partial Transcript: And based on what you've observed and having experience with a father--

Segment Synopsis: Branham talks about why some gay people living in rural areas may choose to hide their sexuality. She talks about the differences between the social stigmas against gay men and gay women, especially in communities dominated by stereotypically masculine industries like coal mining. She talks about whether she knows of any couples who live together but do not acknowledge their relationship publicly and why some people may choose to stay in rural areas despite the challenges.

Keywords: Cousins; Differences; Families; Fathers; Girl friends; Hidden couples; Hiding; Image; Language; Masculinity; Names; Risks; Rural areas; Safety; School; Slurs; Sports; Staying; Stigma; Threatened

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Closeted gays.; Coal miners; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay men--Relations with heterosexuals; Gay men--United States--Social conditions.; Homosexuality in the workplace.; Lesbians--Relations with heterosexuals; Lesbians--United States--Social conditions.

GPS: Pike County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.47, -82.39
00:26:57 - Relationships / more on stigma in Eastern Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: When did you develop, uh, your first--what you would consider your first like serious lesbian relationship?

Segment Synopsis: Branham talks about her longterm relationship and the support she received during the time of her father's arrest. She talks more about the stigma against gay men in rural areas like Eastern Kentucky. She discusses how this stigma can lead to not practicing safe sex and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. She talks more about stigma in male-dominated industries and the stereotypes of gay people that make men in those industries feel threatened.

Keywords: AIDS Volunteers of Lexington (AVOL); Bible; College; Death; Eastern Kentucky; Fathers; Feminine; Impoverished; Male-dominated industries; Masculinity; Mothers; Partners; Publicity; Relationships; Religion; Rural areas; Safe sex practices; School; Self-esteem; Self-respect; Sisters; Small communities; Small towns; Stigma; Support; Threatening; Weakness; Women

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Closeted gays.; Coal miners; Gay couples.; Gay men--Relations with heterosexuals; Gay men--United States--Social conditions.; Gay parents.; Hepatitis; Homosexuality--Religious aspects.; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Mass media and gays; Sexual minority parents.; Stereotypes (Social psychology)

00:38:40 - Moving to Lexington / fears involved with being gay

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Partial Transcript: So you get out of college.

Segment Synopsis: Branham talks more about why she moved to Lexington and becoming involved with the gay community there. She talks about her commitment ceremony with her partner and how various family members reacted. She talks about some of the fears gay people may have, including criminal charges like her father faced. She talks about how the fears have lessened over the years and how the younger generations are different from the ones before them.

Keywords: Arrested; Being out; Changes; Child protection services; Commitment ceremonies; Criminal charges; Drag queens; Drag shows; Fathers; Fears; Fitting in; Friends; Sodomy laws; The Bar Complex (Lexington, Ky.); Working; Younger generations

Subjects: Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay bars; Gay community; Gay couples.; Gays--Family relationships.; Homosexuality--Law and legislation.; Lesbians--Family relationships.; Lexington (Ky.).; Parents of gays.; Sexual minorities' families.

GPS: Lexington (Ky.).
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
00:47:11 - Barriers to coming out

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Partial Transcript: Did you find yourself, um, moving in circles with other people from Eastern Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Branham talks about making friends with other gay people in college and after moving to Lexington because they have similar experiences. She talks about the difficulty of coming out during the time around her father's arrest. She talks about how his outing caused more self-hatred instead of freeing him.

Keywords: Barriers; Eastern Kentucky; Fathers; Fears; Friends; Internalized homophobia; Isolation; Leaving home; Mothers; Resentment; Resistance; Self-hatred; Subcultures; Understanding

Subjects: Closeted gays.; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay parents.; Gays--Family relationships.; Lesbians--Family relationships.; Lexington (Ky.).; Parents of gays.; Sexual minorities' families.; Sexual minority parents.

GPS: Lexington (Ky.).
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
00:53:28 - Resentment between herself and her father

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Partial Transcript: And there seems to be like this, you know, religious theme that pretty much blames--like when someone gets a disease--

Segment Synopsis: Branham talks about religion and homosexuality and the idea of disease as a punishment for sins. She talks about feeling resentment towards her father because she felt like she was paying the price for his actions. She talks about whether her father may have resented her for coming out and the freedom she gained. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Betrayal; Diseases; Fatalism; Fathers; Hiding; Leaving home; Mistakes; Mothers; Religion; Resentment; Sins

Subjects: Closeted gays.; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay parents.; Gays--Family relationships.; Gays--Mental health.; Homosexuality--Religious aspects.; Lesbians--Family relationships.; Parents of gays.; Sexual minorities' families.; Sexual minority parents.