Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Tuesday Meadows, December 11, 2017

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Childhood

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Partial Transcript: So Tuesday, painting with broad strokes, tell us about yourself and your early memories.

Segment Synopsis: Tuesday Meadows is introduced. She talks about her childhood in Kentucky, her early memories regarding gender, and her memories of her brothers' violence in reaction to her feminine characteristics. She talks about her experiences in school in Louisville shortly after integration.

Keywords: Brothers; Catholic communities; Different; Fears; Femininity; Girls; Hair; Harassment; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Scared; Secrets; West End, Louisville (Ky.)

Subjects: Louisville (Ky.)--Social conditions; Race relations; School integration; Sexual minorities' families.; Transgender children.; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender youth.

00:03:04 - Coming out

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Partial Transcript: So, um, we know for many LGBTQ folks, the first time that someone comes out is a significant life milestone.

Segment Synopsis: Meadows talks about why she waited until late in her life to come out and transition, and talks about some of the challenges she faced.

Keywords: Attempts; Attitudes; Challenging; Children; Coming out experiences; Family; Lying; Married; Mind-set; Outlook; Quadruple bypass surgery; Secrets; Transition

Subjects: Gender identity.; Sexual minorities' families.; Transgender people--Identity.

00:05:58 - Coming out--Religious community

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Partial Transcript: So in, um, in those moments of coming out, um, we've talked about protecting your family and, and having, um, you know, some folks act in ways that you wished that they hadn't.

Segment Synopsis: Meadows talks about her church community's negative reaction to her coming out and the struggle she faced finding someone to officiate her wife's funeral after being rejected by their former pastor.

Keywords: Acceptance; Childhood; Churches; Coming out experiences; Congregations; Family; Funerals; Hurt; Methodist; Preachers; Reactions; Rejection; Religious communities; Southern Baptist; Supportive; Wife

Subjects: Discrimination.; Gender identity.; Religion; Sexual minorities' families.; Transgender people--Identity.

00:11:11 - University of Kentucky--Anti-war protests, probation, and encouragement

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Partial Transcript: So, as, a--as influential maybe as religion has been in, in your story, in your, your wonderful life, um, this institution, University of Kentucky, has also played a role, right?

Segment Synopsis: Meadows talks about her first interaction with the University of Kentucky, as a high school student participating in the Vietnam War protests on campus. She talks about being put on probation for various reasons, and talks about being inspired when the dean re-accepted her to the school and gave her encouragement regarding her education. She mentions some of the reasons she previously had struggled with school.

Keywords: 1970; 1971; Academic probation; Administration Building; Anti-war protests; Attention deficit disorder (A.D.D.); Attitudes; Baby boomers; Careers; Deans; Encouragement; Gender dysphoria; Graduate schools; High schools; Inspiration; Jobs; Kent State shootings; Kicked out; Live ammunition; Mind-set; National Guard; Outlook; Public schools; Social probation; The Kroger Company; Wife; Working

Subjects: Anti-war demonstrations; College campuses.; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Student protesters; University of Kentucky; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

00:16:48 - Career with The Kroger Company

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Partial Transcript: So you talked a bit about--or you mentioned your career--

Segment Synopsis: Meadows talks about her long career with the Kroger company, working her way up from bagging groceries to cutting meat to ultimately become a manager. She talks about her role in a strike at the store.

Keywords: Brothers; Careers; Cutting meat; Education; Jobs; Leadership; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Management; Merchandising and advertising; Money; Promotions; The Kroger Company; Wages

Subjects: Employment--Kentucky; Kroger Company.; Labor unions; Occupations; Strikes and lockouts

00:19:48 - Intermingling of the LGBTQ and straight communities in Lexington in the 1970s and how the scene changed in the 1980s

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Partial Transcript: So you, you have spent many years here in Lexington.

Segment Synopsis: Meadows discusses the community of Lexington in the 1970s, which she says was 'wild.' She talks about the 'cocaine scene' and the bar scene which facilitated the intermingling between the LGBTQ and straight populations. She talks about why she thinks that began to change in the 1980s, at least in part due to the AIDS epidemic and the police crackdown on drugs.

Keywords: 'Outlaws'; 1970s; 1978; 1980s; 1983; 1990s; AIDS epidemic; Acceptance; Age; Alienation; Bar scene; Bars; Careers; Changes; Closing; Clubs; Cocaine; Communities; Death; Declines; Discos; Domestic life; Drug use; Drugs; Generations; HIV/AIDS; Interaction; Intermingling; LGBTQ community; Mainstream; Misconceptions; National Championships; Negativity; Neighborhood bars; Older; Police; Sex; The Library (Bar); Two Keys Tavern (Bar); Unique; University of Kentucky; Vietnam War; Wild

Subjects: AIDS (Disease); Drugs, Nonprescription--Utilization; Gay bars; Gay community; Gays--United States--Social conditions.; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Lexington (Ky.)--Social conditions; Lexington (Ky.).

00:30:27 - Coming to understand her transgender identity / Lexington's reputation for acceptance

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Partial Transcript: So the, the finding your own space reminds me of, um--or, or makes me wonder about just the word 'transgender.'

Segment Synopsis: Meadows talks about the lack of transgender role models when she was young, and discusses her realization of her own gender identity. She talks about why she thinks many LGBT people move away from home to come out or transition. She talks about some of the ways the Lexington community was an accepting place, including the University of Kentucky performing gender confirming surgeries. She talks about how the Internet has made it easier for LGBTQ people to find a community.

Keywords: 1970s; 1990s; Acceptance; Attitudes; Communities; Cross dressing; Gender-confirming surgery; Internet; LGBTQ-friendly; Leaving; Mind-set; Moving; New York City (N.Y.); Open; Outlook; Reactions; Realizations; Reputations; Role models; Sweet Evening Breeze (James Herndon); Transition; Understanding; University of Kentucky; Wife

Subjects: Gay community; Gays--United States--Social conditions.; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Lexington (Ky.)--Social conditions; Lexington (Ky.).; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people.

00:38:16 - LGBTQ activism and advocacy

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Partial Transcript: So I imagine the Internet plays into this next question in some, some central ways, too.

Segment Synopsis: Meadows talks about her role as an LGBTQ advocate and activist, including her work with Trans Kentucky, Pride Community Services Organization, Pride Fest, and the UK LGBTQ Resource Center, among others. She talks about how the lack of transgender role models available led her to decide to become a role model herself. She talks about the criticism and push-back she receives and how she deals with it.

Keywords: Activism; Advocacy; Coming out; Criticism; Daughters; Issues; LINQ Magazine; Lexington Fairness; Mentors; Organizations; Out; Pride Cats; Pride Center; Pride Community Services Organization (PCSO); Pride Fest; Push-back; Retired; Role models; Trans Kentucky; Transition; University of Kentucky Office of LGBTQ* Resources; Writing

Subjects: Discrimination.; Leadership; Sexual minorities--Identity.; Sexual minorities.; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people.

00:45:04 - Issues transgender people are currently facing

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Partial Transcript: So you, you mention sort of the current state and especially, you know, what it means to be LGBTQ or, or trans in 2017.

Segment Synopsis: Meadows discusses how she feels about the current climate for marginalized people, especially transgender individuals. She discusses one of the major current issues, bathroom bills, and the scare tactics used by politicians to get them passed. She talks about some of her personal experiences surrounding the bathroom issue, including herself and her young granddaughter being threatened by a man with a gun.

Keywords: 1960s; African Americans; Anger; Angry; Attitudes; Bathroom bills; Children; Embarrassed; Emotions; Fears; Guns; Kentucky; Marginalized people; Mind-set; Outlook; Politicians; Politics; Public restrooms; Scared; Schools; Straw man arguments; Threats; Transition; Treatment; Votes

Subjects: Discrimination.; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people--Legal status, laws, etc.; Transgender people--Violence against; Transgender people.

00:53:32 - Hopes for the future

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Partial Transcript: So as we wrap up, um, what do, what do you wish we'd asked that we haven't?

Segment Synopsis: Meadows talks about her hopes for the future and the role her generation needs to play to end racism, war, and LGBTQ inequality. She talks about her views on businesses denying service to LGBTQ individuals. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Acceptance; Baby boomers; Businesses; Future; Generations; Housing; Jobs; LGBTQ equality; Marriage; Medical care; Racism; State-wide fairness ordinances; Tipping points; Transition; Wars

Subjects: Discrimination.; Transgender people--Identity.; Transgender people--Legal status, laws, etc.; Transgender people--Violence against; Transgender people.