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Title: Oral History Interview with Ian Thomas Palmquist, June 27, 2001. Interview K-0848. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Palmquist, Ian Thomas, interviewee
Interview conducted by McGinnis, Chris
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Kristin Shaffer
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2008
Size of electronic edition: 176 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2008.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2008-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-01-04, Kristin Shaffer finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Ian Thomas Palmquist, June 27, 2001. Interview K-0848. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0848)
Author: Chris McGinnis
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Ian Thomas Palmquist, June 27, 2001. Interview K-0848. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0848)
Author: Ian Thomas Palmquist
Description: 153 Mb
Description: 46 p.
Note: Interview conducted on June 27, 2001, by Chris McGinnis; recorded in Raleigh, North Carolina
Note: Transcribed by Chris McGinnis.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Ian Thomas Palmquist, June 27, 2001.
Interview K-0848. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Palmquist, Ian Thomas, interviewee


Interview Participants

    IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST, interviewee
    CHRIS McGINNIS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
All right, here we go. Hello, this is Chris McGinnis. Today is June the twenty-seventh, 2001 and I am interviewing Mr. Ian Palmquist at Equality PAC NC in Raleigh, North Carolina. This tape is being used to form a gay and lesbian oral history archive, which is now focusing on the history of gay men in Chapel Hill over the twentieth century. This tape will be stored in the Southern Historical Collection, which is located in Wilson Library on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The number for this tape is 06.27.01-IP.1. Here we go. All right Ian, just first off, tell me a little bit about where you were born, where you grew up and how you ended up coming to Chapel Hill.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Sure, I was born in Olympia, Washington actually, but we moved to Raleigh when I was two, so I grew up in North Carolina, here in the Triangle.
I

Page 2
went all the way through high school here in Raleigh. I went to Enloe High School, which is where I got my start in gay activism and from there I went over to Chapel Hill to go to college at UNC.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You mentioned earlier that you were involved in some gay activism early on. Even to start out earlier, when did you realize that you were gay, and that whole thing.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Sure, I really came out to myself during my junior year of high school, right after I had told someone for the first time, in a completely unrelated incident, these anti-gay posters went up all over our school. This happened literally the next day.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So where did you go to high school at again?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Enloe High School in Raleigh. So six of my friends and I did a response to the posters. We did a parody of the poster and then a few essays on why you should be nice to gay people basically.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
[Laughter] What were the reasons?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
General tolerance kind of stuff, pretty generic. I was not even really out to more than a couple of people while I was doing this, and—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were any of these other folks gay or lesbian?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
One of the six was openly gay at the time. I was closeted and the other four are straight.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were they male or female?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
There was one female and the rest were male. I had a really supportive group of friends at that point. So we distributed this response and kind of figured that we had

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done our good deed and that was the end of it. Until we got suspended for distributing it—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
For distributing the parody—?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
For distributing, yeah, the response to the posters. For that we got suspended for three days.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What were the ramifications for the people who put these posters up?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
They ended up getting suspended too, after we had done our response. Before that, the administration had not done anything until after we responded.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What did these posters say?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Something like, it was a called, "A Call to Arms" and it said something like, "Attention all heterosexual students of Enloe! It has come to our attention that there are faggots and dykes in our midst. Tell these sexually immoral people that you don't want them displaying their perversion in public." Something like that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did it have a Christian flair at all?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Not really, it was obviously pretty bigoted, but there was not any specific religious overtone to it. I don't know the guys who did the posters, so I don't know what their background is.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you never found out who they were?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I knew the names of them, but Enloe is a school of 2000 people and I never actually met them.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So it was almost like a small campus.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, yeah it was bigger than a lot of colleges. [Laughter] So we did our response and we got suspended and, naturally, we decided to fight it and went through

Page 4
several levels of appeals through the school, the ACLU of North Carolina got involved, we had a lawyer working with us, we had everything drawn up to file in federal court to block our suspensions when we finally got the school board to overturn the principal's decision. But it was an interesting experience for me because I was gradually coming out to my friends during this whole process, while at the same time, I had the media focusing on gay rights and free speech at Enloe High School.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What exact year was this?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
That was the spring of 1994.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Wow, okay.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
So, relatively early for gay high school stuff, apparently.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, especially for North Carolina.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, we did not really think that we were doing anything particularly groundbreaking or unusual, but then we got all of this attention from people because there were not out gay kids in high schools in North Carolina.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you speak to the media during this ordeal?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Media, people in the gay community starting contacting us and were really shocked that this even happening. That high school kids were talking about these issues.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, I see, you mean that they were shocked that you were standing up for yourselves, not that the homophobic posters had been posted.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, right. [Laughter] They were shocked that we had stood up to it, and not just let it slide like it normally happens, I guess. So that is really how I got my start as an activist. That was a pretty exciting experience. We were organizing other students and we had hundreds of students wearing black armbands in support of our right to free

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speech. So I went from being a really shy person who did not talk to anybody that I did not already know to talking to the media a couple times a week in just a couple of months. So I really got kind of thrown into it, and that is how I got started.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So that was also how you came out.
Did you come out to your parents during this period of time?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Ironically, I was not out to my parents during the whole controversy.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
They just thought that you were a little liberal person—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
As far as they knew I was participating as an ally. My brother was actually one of the other people suspended too and he is straight. I think that they were wondering at that point, but they did not know. I came out to them towards the end of the summer in 1994.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How did they respond to that?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
They were very supportive. My mom went through the usual, "Oh, you are not going to have a happy life. You will be lonely forever," thing. But, we worked through that and she is really, really supportive and is involved with GLYSN now, so she is great. My dad is a much quieter type, but is also pretty cool.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Quietly supportive. [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, quietly supportive. And after that, I was out to everyone in my high school for my senior year.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you openly date then?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I did, I went out with a guy over that summer between junior and senior year and we were pretty out amongst our friends. We broke up by the end of the summer though and the sort of went back into the closet. So, I kind of respected that and didn't

Page 6
out him at school. I went out on a couple of dates in my senior year, but I wish that I had had a boy to take to the prom, but it did not happen. [Laughter] Actually I did go to the prom with a girl and guy as a threesome, so.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, you went as a ménage a trois.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
It was not sexual. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You mean you just took your picture together. [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, we were just fucking with people's minds.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So when did you arrive in Chapel Hill?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I got to Chapel Hill in the fall of 1995, I started as a freshman. At that point I really was not planning on being particularly involved in the gay community or as an activist or anything, I sort of reverted to my more quiet ways, I guess. So I was there my freshman year, that was a pretty quiet year, I did not really find my niche at Carolina that year, so mostly I just went to class, hung out with a few people that I knew, mostly from high school, and kept to myself.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So what got you involved with B-GLAD, which I know you were involved with. I want to discuss the fact that you changed the name, and you restructured things as well. I also want to get your general feel of whether or not Chapel Hill was a very gay place. Did you see a very large gay male community? Or should I say a GLBT friendly space, I know that is the new catch phrase.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I mean, it definitely seems like a pretty accepting place and I did know some gay and lesbian people. But, I did not really find a community immediately I don't think. At least not one that I related to.

Page 7
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you didn't really see a lot of gay men around. There wasn't a bar around in 1995. Did you have a car?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I did not have a car for my first two years there. I was pretty well stuck up there.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you know any gay people around campus?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I knew a few gay people, but they were not really my closest friends or people that I spent a lot of time with, actually in my freshman year.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you didn't really mix in with the crowd?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I mean I kind of went to a couple of B-GLAD events that year with people, and was involved some in Coming Out Day, that sort of thing—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Probably the last year that I was involved, was 1994-ish. So you came on the scene the year after in 1995.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I came on the scene the year of Karen and Dale.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh yeah, Dale [tone of obvious dislike and sarcasm]. [Laughter] So your perception of Chapel Hill was that there were some gay people, but you really didn't have a community. Did you consider Chapel Hill a gay friendly town at all?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, it definitely seemed friendly, I was not worried about being out. I was out to people that I met and out in classes and what not. I was not really particularly worried about wearing some gay-themed shirt or something like that. But, I really did not find a community to lock into.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So what was the impetus that got you involved with B-GLAD in a leadership level?

Page 8
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Actually, I dropped by the B-GLAD office right before class started for my sophomore year and Ken Hewett and Heather Cope were going to be the co-chairs that year and I had met them the year before. And so, I was just kind of stopping by to see if there were any events coming up or whatever, and somehow, they managed to convince me to become treasurer. [Laughter] Basically, they begged and pleaded and I gave in and ended up totally loving it. I became involved in a lot more than just managing finances and that kind of stuff. Yeah, they really did a good job of recruiting me and getting involved. Through doing that I really came to find a group of people that I really enjoyed as friends outside of B-GLAD too. This was great. I actually did apply to transfer, because I was not really thrilled with Carolina my freshman year.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Where were you thinking about transferring?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Berkeley or Stanford. I ended up not applying to Stanford, but I did apply to Berkeley and got in, but by the time I got in, I decided that I liked Carolina pretty well and had kind of found my niche and had no reason to go to some place more expensive. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you had a year as treasurer, then your junior year, you decided to run for the co-chair position?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
It was a really weird election actually, the first time that I ran, because I was treasurer, I mean co-chair my junior and senior year. When I ran at the end of my sophomore year to become co-chair, at that time, we were having a hard time finding a woman to run. Because you are supposed to have one male and one female co-chair. And there was briefly another candidate, his name was Robert (and I cannot remember his last name) who we found shortly before the election was not, in fact, a student.

Page 9
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Had he ever been a student?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
No, he was just this guy who was hanging out and was always on campus and knew people and had said that he was a student.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How old was he?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
He was a fairly normal college age.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He was just a native Chapel Hillian hanging out.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I guess so, and we actually found out right before the election that not only was he not a student, but that he was homeless and had just been arrested for like credit card theft and breaking into somebody's car and that kind of stuff.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, that might disqualify him. [Laughter] God, if I had only had that kind of competitor when I was in B-GLAD. [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
So, he kind of out of the running at that point, and I had been trying to get a friend of mine who had been involved, Lorelei Costa, run for female co-chair and ended up convincing her and so we ran together.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you see any infighting amongst gay males trying to vie for this position? I don't know if you know the history, but in Carolina Gay Association, initially there weren't any women involved, there were very few at least, and if there were co-chairs, they were often both male. Also, a lot of them weren't students initially.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, I had not realized that a lot of them were not students.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
From what I understand, they made a decision in the mid-80s saying, "You know, I think that we should have the students running the show," and that was when they put that clause in the by-laws.

Page 10
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, because I know that when I was there to get funding, you had to have student officers. We did have some non-students involved in the executive committee, like on the executive committee, but all of the officers had to be students.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you know if they actually have archives in the filing cabinets of who was actually in the organization in the beginning—a list? Because that is something that I would like to get a hold of.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
That is something that is a little disappointing, because the records for this only went back to about 1990. I think that most likely that they are somewhere in Wilson Library, the records. Someone told me that someone cleared the office out and took the stuff over there, but I really don't know, so yeah, I think that if you go to John Curtis' office you could find out who were the officers all the way back, at least as long as it was an official club.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Who is John Curtis?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
He is the assistant director of the union. All of the student groups have to register with them.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And he would have what?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
He would have at least the application to be an officially recognized student group every year, which would have the officer's name.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I interviewed the founder of CGA, Dan Leonard. Have you met Dan?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I haven't, I have heard his name.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He lives in Carrboro, he started the organization in 1974. He started it in the Lutheran Student Union and he was a non-student. He had dropped out of the medical school and was the founder.

Page 11
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Wow.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, there has often been this schism in CGA, CGLA, B-GLAD, QNC, where you have this push to be social and this push to be political and what do you think of that?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I think that is the great curse of queer student organizing.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Why do you think that there is that schism? Why don't you see such a clear schism in African American organizations, for instance?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I think that a lot of it is that many African American organizations or Latino organizations—well, those communities already have some sort of social outlets, you know, they have restaurants, family units for that matter. So there is already that kind of built-in social outlets within those communities. So organized groups in those communities are put in to organize some sort of political end or provide some sort of service. With queer students, most places don't have that kind of community, or at least no kind of community outside of the bars. So, I think that there is a drive for gay student groups to have some kind of social outlet that wasn't focused on drinking and hooking up. It was really frustrating because I think that both the social and political aspects are incredibly worthwhile and one of the big challenges for me, the whole time I was there was trying to figure out how on earth could I balance this? What really made it difficult was that it seemed like the body of people who were willing to be involved a little bit and kind of a little bit wanted B-GLAD to be social. The people that were actually willing to do some work and organize something were interested in the political stuff rather than planning a party or a picnic or whatever. So, there was this sort of weird balance between

Page 12
what the leadership and the people actually working on stuff wanted to do didn't necessarily mesh with what the masses wanted.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The inactive masses.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
But none of the masses were going to run for anything.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Seems like when I came in, I don't know if I met you at the end of your term or when you were running. But it seems that the answer to all of this was to set up lots of subcommittees? Why don't you tell me a little bit about this structure, because that was one of the first big changes that I noticed on your watch.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, as treasurer, we theoretically had some committees that would work on things, but really those were never really active and pretty much the four officers worked on deciding what was going to happen and they either worked on doing it themselves or finding somebody and shaking them and begging them to work on it. What Lorelei and I wanted to do was spread the work out a little more and we thought that we could accomplish more that way and we could address both the social and political aspects a little better if we had some people whose job it was to focus on some social opportunities and others who were working on political and visibility projects. I think that really did strengthen the group a lot that year.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did it increase your activity in terms of people who were then willing to do work?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I think that it did. We went from essentially having the four officers running things and having the executive board meetings or whatever to having like 10-14 people on the executive board because we had all of the chairs or the co-chairs of the committees were automatically on the executive board and participated. So, we spread out the work a lot and we did a lot more work that year and we did a lot more that year. I

Page 13
think that we were working towards doing more of that during my sophomore year when I was treasurer.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Some of the foundations were laid and you reaped the benefits?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, and we really got the chance to implement them. When Ken and Heather got together the group practically did not exist. I mean over the course of my freshman year, one of the co-chairs dropped out, the treasurer and secretary quit sometime during the course of the year. Nobody wanted to work in those positions, so Karen was doing everything during the last few months of her term.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you ever resurrect LAMBDA?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, we made some attempts to resurrect LAMBDA. I don't think that it ever turned into a particularly vibrant or stable publication, but we got like three issues out both my Junior and senior year. That was a struggle because I was doing so much with other aspects of the club, I was like, "Look, whoever is going to be the editor of LAMBDA is going to do it. I am not putting my energy into that, we will support it, but that cannot be something that Lorelei and I are going to be devoting all of our time to." So I think that they had some organizational problems getting it together and trying to start it up again, because it had been dead for a couple of years at least.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So what was leadership in terms of co-chairs as far back as you can remember? We have kind of mentioned them, but we have not done this any sort of structured way.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Okay, well, the year before I started was Dawn Prince and Patrick, the year before that was Trey Harris and Summer—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Season—

Page 14
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Season, right, I can never remember her name for some reason.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Season Taylor.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Season Taylor, right, and you were treasurer, that year.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, I was treasurer that year and then I ran for student council and wanted to be head of B-GLAD. I wanted everything. [Laughter] So there was Trey Harris and Season Taylor and before that there was Doug Ferguson and Kathy Staley.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you remember before that?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I don't remember before Doug. After Dawn and Patrick was Dale Kawamura—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So did they have two male co-chairs?—Oh, that was Dawn, D-a-w-n, not D-o-n. Dale's friend Dawn. Okay.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, and then it was Dale Kawamura and Karen Erickson. Dale's last name is K-a-w-a-m-u-r-a and he is now a travel agent in San Francisco.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And who was the female?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Karen Erickson, and I think that she is probably still in the area, she took forever to finish school.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And then of course you took over.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Uh, actually that was Ken Hewett and Heather Cope. [pause]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
C-o-p-e?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
C-o-p-e and then it was me and Lorelei Costa (C-o-s-t-a) and then my senior year it was me and first semester it was Amanda Maris.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
M-a-r-r-i-s?

Page 15
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
M-a-r-i-s just one. Second semester it was Maia Kaplan. M-a-i-a.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh yeah, I remember her, okay, great. So that was the leadership over that stretch of time. Student Congress. When I was in it, we had a lot of problems with Student Congress, how about you?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Student Congress, I think, became a lot more fair-minded by the time that I was there. That was not to say that the budget was not an incredibly painful and frustrating process every year, but I think that it is for most student groups. We had a particularly tough time my sophomore year because the year before, since there essentially had not been a treasurer the second semester the finances had been handled rather badly and they spent out of generated funds instead of Student Congress funds.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That was under Dawn I believe—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Really?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, they had talked about doing it, because they said, "Well, screw Student Congress, we will just go and raise the money ourselves."
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I don't know if they ended up doing that.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I doubt it. It is hard to function without Student Congress money. But Karen had mostly spent the generated funds and then all of the Student Congress funds reverted which naturally meant that student congress said, "Well, all of your funds reverted, why should we give you more money?" We had a bit of a battle to get some more money that year. That went pretty well.

Page 16
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What was your strategy? Did you say, "Well, these people were screw ups and we are not?" [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
We basically acknowledged that it wasn't handled well, we recognize that, we have new leadership now, we have been a lot more active this year than we were the year before and, you know, we deserve our fair share of funding. You know, they went for it. You know, it was less than B-GLAD had gotten in previous years, but given what we were working with it wasn't too bad.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So why did you change the name?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
So why did we change the name. [Laughter] That is an interesting question. We changed the name because—this was toward the end of my senior year—because there was a strong consensus among the whole executive board that we wanted to be inclusive of the whole transgender community.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There were not many transgender people around?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
There were not many transgender folks on campus, although there were a couple that we knew, although some had been active in the group before, one was incredibly active before she transitioned and we felt like we should be clear that we are supportive of the transgender community.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This was a male that wanted to become a female?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Female to male. Yeah, sorry.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I can never keep the genders straight.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Pronoun problems, yeah. So, we went through a million different possibilities of names and everything with LGBT in it started to get really clunky. We would end up with these incredibly long names. I had the—

Page 17
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So they did not like be classified as allies?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah. [Laughter] One of the assistant editors at the DTH begged me not to make our name any longer. [Laughter] She was like, "Your name already takes up three lines, don't make it any longer." So, we started making a discussion about whether we should use the word "queer" instead of LGBT or LGBT2-spirited. There was a lot of discussion on it and it finally ended up coming down to choosing between the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Student Alliance and Queer Network for Change—which is a name that I came up with and I was the person that lobbied against it the most, probably.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Against QNC, was it because it sounded like it like shopping network for gay people?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Well, I actually did not think about that at the time, I thought, "QNC, UNC, this is cute." But—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did it come up for a general ballot?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
It did come up for a general ballot and QNC ended up passing unanimously at that meeting, which surprised the hell out of me. I personally love the word "queer." One of the things that I miss about being out of college is being able to use that word so freely, but it is not something that is very welcoming for people that have just come out. A lot of people still find that pretty threatening. I felt like to switch to a name using queer instead of listing everything out, this was essentially admitting that we were not offering many social and support options anymore. Which I did not want to do. I was much more interested in the political stuff.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What kind of political stuff did you do with QNC?

Page 18
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
We did a lot of different kind of projects. Most of our stuff was kind of in the visibility awareness-raising category, we did not have a big—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There were not any big causes?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
There was not any big cause. We weren't working on non-discrimination or anything that big, which was disappointing. I always wanted to launch a big campaign, but there didn't seem to be a big—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, UNC does have one [a non-discrimination clause]. I am not sure, did it come to play under your watch?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
It came in a little earlier, and UNC's non-discrimination policy [concerning gays] is a little strange because it is just a policy memo from the chancellor, it is not an official policy like, "race, gender, blah blah blah." All of those are in the official policy and then there is this little policy memo that says—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
By the way— [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
We are going to treat sexual orientation the same way. So it is not really as firm and lasting as would be best.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What do you think the impetus is for them keeping that policy memo—I mean using that policy memo instead of making it part of the official non-discrimination statement?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
At the time, I think that it was that the university administration was a lot more sympathetic than they Board of Trustees was.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Now Board of Trustees are nominated? Are you talking about the Board of Governors?

Page 19
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
No, the Board of Governors oversees the whole UNC system and then the Board of Trustees just oversees UNC-Chapel Hill. Neither the Board of Governors nor the Board of Trustees were particularly gay friendly at that time. It seems that the Board of Trustees tends to be a little bit more conservative than the administration and certainly the campus climate. That is why it did not go through the Board of Trustees in the first place. While I was there, people did not seem to have the energy to take on that kind of campaign.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Has there ever been any kind of feeling that there may be political ramifications?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Oh, certainly.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
From the legislature.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Exactly, I think that is certainly the concern among some of the Board of Trustees probably would just oppose it outright and others don't think that it is politically feasible and don't want to piss off the legislature.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right. So are you aware of Chapel Hill's non-discrimination policy?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I was kind of shocked that it was passed on September 16, 1975. Twenty-five years—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
A long time ago.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Twenty-six years ago almost. Do you know of any other place—Do many other cities in North Carolina have a non-discrimination clause? They use the term "affectional preference" instead of sexual preference. They thought that the use of the word sexual was too risqué.

Page 20
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, that was very 70s, right. [Laughter] Raleigh does have one that applies to city employees and delivery of city services.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Does Carrboro?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Carrboro does, yeah. Raleigh, Carrboro, Durham and Asheville has a vague one, it does not list any specific categories, but theoretically it can be used—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What does it say? Nobody is subject to discrimination! [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, something like based on group membership, or belonging to a certain class of people or something like that. It is really vague and probably not very enforceable.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And all of these are, of course, only applicable to city employees.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, to require businesses to not discriminate, they would have to get the legislature to okay them doing that, which Durham and Orange County have tried for years and years; and it never passes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Are those the only cities that you know of? Wilmington for instance?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Those are the only ones that I know of right now.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And what is the time frame? Do have a—Well, I guess that each of those cities could be contacting and they could tell—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I have a listing somewhere of the exact policies and that stuff. Yeah, I could find that for you.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Great, great. So I guess, with you coming in during the mid 90s, gays had become kind of trendy in a way. People talked about them a lot, I guess because of the Clinton Administration in general it was part of the national discussion—unlike, for

Page 21
instance in the 70s. I guess, I am going to make the assumption, that you heard gays discussed in the mainstream cultures fairly regularly.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, some—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Whether it was just amongst people on the street or whatever, people were pretty aware that gays existed.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I think that I was aware that gays existed—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, I mean everybody in town whether it was a little old lady—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Or a skateboarding kid on the street, or a hippie, they talked about the gays in town or whatever.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I think so, I didn't actually know any gay people growing up until my junior year of high school.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So the first gay person you ever remember meeting was—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, yeah and I was kind of shocked. I think that is what sort of prompted me to start thinking and going through my own coming out process, it was like it was not something that seemed like a real possibility, like something that happened to real people before that point.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You obviously got kind of involved in the activist scene, there are obviously other venues where gay people interacted. Did you know about any other places where people went? I know that Chapel Hill did not really have that big of a bar scene, but.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I mean, plenty of guys drove on down to Raleigh every weekend to go to Legends, sometimes multiple days of the weekend, and of course there is Café Trios scene which overlapped a lot with the activist community, but not completely.

Page 22
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That was always kind of bizarre to me, Café Trios—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Coffee doesn't seem to be very facilitatory to socializing. Was that just a place where people would hang out?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, Café Trios—I don't drink coffee, actually, but I was there every night for most of my sophomore and junior year. That is just the place that I would go. You never knew exactly which of my friends would be there, but there were always folks around.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did students ever—Did you ever get any kind of pressure, did QNC ever get any kind of pressure about the T-room scene. About those homosexuals have sex in the bathrooms and what did you know about it.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
We—well, I think that everybody hears the rumors and has some idea of which buildings have—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Which ones were rumored when you came?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
God, when I came, actually, when I first came there was a map on the wall in the B-GLAD office that someone had shaded in pink [Laughter] buildings that had that reputation, which amused me and struck me as not exactly being what I would have put on the wall. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Buildings were just kind of highlighted in pink?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
It did not say what they are, there are just these buildings which are highlighted in pink and you look at them and you are like, "What do these buildings have in common?" Hmmm. [Laughter] At that point, I think Bingham, Bingham basement all the way through you would hear stuff about that. Gardner, Dey, although they started

Page 23
locking the bathrooms in Dey, which as someone in the linguistics department with lots of foreign language classes always pissed me off. [Laughter] It was like, "How am I supposed to pee?" I think that those were the main ones.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did anyone ever approach you as the spokesman for the gay community and that they felt like there was a problem and they needed you to handle it?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
No, but I have heard of this in the past.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
In the past people did.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I have heard, you know, nightmares.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, Joe Herzenberg was called to the meetings. [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Susan Erhinghaus. You know there was this overlap between the people who are out and involved in B-GLAD and the people who are in the T-room scene is really minimal.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Usually those folks are really closeted.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, and I don't think, there was nothing B-GLAD could do about it if we wanted to. But no, we really did not get a lot of that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, because I got a speech when I first came to UNC and people said, "If anybody calls and wants to talk to you, fine," because we would get a lot of prank calls. But they would say, "Never talk to anyone about T-rooms." And I was like, "What are T-rooms?" And this lesbian said, she said, "Well, they are places where gay men meet and interact… "It was very PC. So I was picturing something like the Carolina Coffee Shoppe. I was like, God I want to find the T-rooms! [Laughter] They must serve tea and not coffee. [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Funny.

Page 24
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So did you ever hang up any fliers or anything in Bingham, if you though you may be able to attract some people?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Oh yeah, we always made a point of putting LAMBDA out in those places and other stuff because we wanted to let queers, whatever they were involved in, know that they were welcome at B-GLAD events. We kind of made a point of doing that really.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were you very aware of Jordan Lake?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Always heard about it, don't really know much about it.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you think that the students of UNC ever interacted much with the gays in town that were not necessarily tied directly to the university? They may have gone there at one point—and if so which folks those were.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Not— [pause]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, we have mentioned Joe Herzenberg—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Well, I certainly knew of Joe Herzenberg and Mike Nelson and those folks but as far as being really, I don't know there was not a whole lot of overlap between the Chapel Hill community and the UNC community.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Not much interaction.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, and I think that it is a generational thing.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Great, well we have covered a lot here. So obviously the only place that there was really available for people to interact in was Café Trios.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, Café Trios.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So tell me about Glen Grossman, he seems to be kind of the newest personality.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Hmmm, how do I do this—

Page 25
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The next Doug Ferguson.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
[Laughter] Glen is a great, really enthusiastic guy. I don't know that he always has a lot of constituency behind him in what he decides to do. He has accomplished some really great things and he has also alienated a great many people. That would be my assessment. I probably shouldn't be saying all of this.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It is on tape now [jokingly], you can have it sealed. "Sealed until Glen Grossman leaves." [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Terrible.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There is definitely criticism out there, but my God, you have got to be impressed at least in terms of—and I can definitely be known as one of the detractors, but I can't help but support the amazing amount of financial resources that he has been able to command.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, I think that he has done some really amazing things.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What's the story, as far as you know in terms of interacting with—well, how he got Gotham to go along with this?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I actually don't know a lot about the Gotham story, because that was really just starting up as I left, I think. So I don't know exactly how he managed to pull that off. I was definitely around when he got CAMP started.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How did you feel about CAMP? CAMP was for graduate students at UNC. That could have be a competitor for you.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I guess that could have happened after you had left.

Page 26
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Well, that was frustrating. I think that Glen arrived probably around my senior year. That was his first year at UNC. God, he has made an impact really fast. Yeah, he showed up in the office and wanted to know what was available for grad students and you know we had quite a few grad students involved at that time and we were like, "Well, you know, there are no grad student specific thing, but we have been involved." We offered to help through B-GLAD do whatever grad student specific work, sounded reasonable. He chose to create a separate organization, which is fine. I think that it serves an important need for grad students.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did that hurt QNC?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I don't think that it significantly hurt us. It was frustrating because suddenly people thought of QNC as the undergraduate organization rather than just a broad, open to anyone sort of organization. We had had a lot of really involved grad students in the past and actually we still did after CAMP started, but I think we had to really stress that, "No, it is really okay, we are not just undergrads. You are welcome to participate." I think that at that point, QNC was offering some different things than CAMP was. CAMP was primarily social. Glen and, you know, who ever the co-chair was—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Jesse and Mark was involved with it for a while.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, they would use CAMP as sort of a platform for doing some political things with the administration and what not. That was great. But, for opportunities to actually get involved and working on things, I think folks came to QNC more.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, this is the second side of the tape of the interview with Ian Palmquist. The number for this tape is 06.27.01-IP.2. Okay, we were talking about the GLBT—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Resource center. Yeah, I think that that was Glen's brainchild. I think coming from the Northeast and from Tufts he was shocked at what we didn't have. I kind of came to Carolina with a "Wow, we are so much better off than most Southern schools" approach and Glen came with the, "Wow, this isn't as good as what we have in New England" approach.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I think that this is worth a little transition—or moving into another area. Do you see a big difference between gays who come a Southeastern cultural perspective and those who come from a Northeastern?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Possibly. That is a difficult question. I mean, I don't think you can make any real clear generalizations, but I think a lot of people from the Northeast are very used to—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Political correctness can be so difficult.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I know. They are very used to what they have, and a lot of ways, they do have a lot of resources that are more available to them.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you think that Northeasterners because of the greater amount of education, quite frankly, if you look at the poverty that the South is still struggling with—granted there are obviously working-class areas within the northeast, but maybe the climate is even a little more accepting to gays. So, there are a lot of Southern gays who are coming from a more challenged background in terms of not only money or class but also ignorance. The religious right is based in the South.

Page 28
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, well, I really think that that is a factor, I mean, a lot of New England has this libertarian streak to it, which I think is very favorable to gay folks and that is not something that we have as clearly in the South. Yeah, a lot of New England I think is a few years ahead of us in a lot of ways. One interesting switch that I noticed during my time in B-GLAD just during my four years here at Carolina, my freshman year I went to the first meeting. A friend of mine dragged me there. Everyone was shocked that I was already out. Then, by my senior year, the freshmen that came in that year most of the people that came to the meeting anyway were already out. That was a huge shift. I think that that probably happened already a lot earlier in the North. So, you know, at Carolina, B-GLAD really did still need to have some sort of support aspect because, you know, there were a lot people, especially freshmen, that were just kind of coming out for the first time. I think in some more accepting cultures up North that that may have been less of a challenge which gives you more time to accomplish some of these political things and getting administrative support and all of that and, you know, the political climate, most New England states are going to have the kind of legislature to deal with that we have here.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So we were talking about getting this resource center.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Resource center [introspectively].
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So Glen got some folks together, you were obviously on that board, I don't know if it is still around.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, well—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is what inspired me to do this project.

Page 29
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Really, that's good. It's been interesting seeing how that evolved because at the time that I joined the advisory board, the idea was to do a needs assessment to use that as the first step to getting some sort of institutionalized support for LGBT people on campus. Then, I think that Glen talked to the chancellor and the chancellor expressed some support for the idea of having a resource center and the whole needs assessment—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was that Measner?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, Moeser, or something like that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It is hard to announce, it is like Mosnier or something like that.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, and once Glen had the since that the chancellor was supportive I think people just did not really see the need for doing the needs assessment anymore. Which I thought was pretty unfortunate, because I—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
The members of the board felt that, or members of the—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Members of the community, yeah, and the impetus for the members of the board to continue moving forward on stuff just kind of disappeared.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Who were the members of the community? Who were dissenters of that?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Mostly current students, I think.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How would they have anything to say in that? I mean, you just felt that the consensus amongst the GLBT community was that, "Well, we really don't need to do this?"
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I think that people felt like their energy would be better spent sort of lobbying to get the resource center than to do this intermediate step of doing a needs assessment. Which, I really thought was unfortunate. I am not convinced that a resource

Page 30
center is necessarily the best thing for UNC. Down the road, I think that it would be great, but right now I don't think that it should be a priority.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What do you think would be a top priority?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I think that there are some other types of institutional support, you know, I think, some clearer policies. Making the diversity—not diversity policy—the non-discrimination policy a little more clear. I think that working with professors to make the classrooms safe and comfortable place to be gay is worthwhile. Having a center and a staff person dedicated full time is a great goal down the road, but I don't think that it is attainable now and I am not sure that it is the best thing to do immediately?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Why is it not attainable?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Politics. Primarily, with the Board of Trustees to some extent, and then the legislature. If you look at the budget this year, the university is going to take a hit because of the budget crisis anyway.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
A lot of buildings, but nobody to staff them.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, exactly, [Laughter] and they are very hesitant, understandingly, to do anything that would piss off the General Assembly.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So this is basically lost and put on the back burner, in terms of looking for a GLBT resource center.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I have been less involved in it lately, so I really don't know exactly where things are at this point. I do know that some folks are still trying to push on that. I don't know exactly what steps they have been taking as someone out in the community and because of my job, I get asked to be involved everything that comes up. I just decided

Page 31
that I was not going to devote my energy to that right now, and work on some other things.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you ended up graduating and then, you—Was it initially PRIDE PAC when you go involved with it?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
It was already Equality. I had volunteered while it was still PRIDE PAC. My senior year PRIDE PAC, which became Equality during that year, was working on a project called "Equality Begins at Home" which was a week of political activity in all 50 state capitals and in North Carolina, they took it the extra step of doing it in cities all across the state. People were doing different kinds of programs and events that week. As a co-chair of B-GLAD and later QNC, I was involved with that effort in sort of a triangle planning committee. That is how I got involved and how I got to know MK Cohen.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What was his name again?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
MK is she.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Is she still involved?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
She has moved on, she is now—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
She's dead? [Laughter]
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
No, she is the director of public policy for GLYSN nationally.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, before we get to far into the organization, which I want to address it, what are your feelings about people who are activists in terms of QNC. Do you think that people who are active in organization like QNC, do you think that it is more of a liability or a benefit? A liability in terms of—both of us working in those organizations can appreciate the amount of time that it takes out of your schedule when you are supposed to be in school.

Page 32
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, for me, it was incredibly valuable. It was stressful and exhausting and a lot of weeks it was really frustrating, but I thought that it was absolutely worthwhile. I learned so much in terms of really usable skills in life by leading QNC and learned so much about leadership and working with people and politics and all of it. I would not trade it for anything.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But do you think that it impacted your GPA?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Oh sure.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you think that if you had not been involved—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I am sure that I would have done somewhat better in certain classes [Laughter] if I hadn't been spending as much time on it. And that was a choice that I made pretty consciously my junior year when I decided to run again to be co-chair my senior year. I had decided at that point that I was at least somewhat interested in perusing a career in LGBT advocacy. So this was more relevant than my classes [Laughter] in some ways.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So then, it did not seem to be that big of a liability to you.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
No—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And, ultimately these extracurricularrs could help someone…perhaps get into law school.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah. [Laughter] No, I think you can get so much out of taking a leadership role in a student organization. I mean, it definitely came be as much as you make it. You can tell who wants to make a lot out of it, and who doesn't, because some years are a lot stronger than others. But, yeah, I think that they are useful skills and even if I wasn't going into an advocacy kind of profession, that, in terms of business the skills that I learned were incredibly useful. Obviously, I would have to find a pretty friendly

Page 33
business, but yeah, I thought it was great and my grades may have suffered a little bit, but it also kept me motivated.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
[Laughter] Yeah, this was not necessarily about you, it was a general question. I don't want you to feel like, "I've got your GPA right here."
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
No, it was definitely, I think not everyone felt that it was so great. [Laughter] I know that it was really exhausting and frustrating for a lot of people.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, you had peers who were involved in this who said, "Oh my God, we have got to get this thing out and I have three exams."
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, well, my co-chair Amanda, who was co-chair my first semester of my senior year, who is absolutely amazing and still a really good friend of mine, she was trying to do QNC, pursue a music career, and be a student and that was just too much to do. This was really stressful and I am sure it hurt her in terms of grades and stuff sometimes. I think that if you talked to Ken and Heather, I think that they would tell you the same thing as well.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Another thing that I would like to address that I think is kind of interesting to me. Initially, you talked about activism, gay activism—whether you are talking about the Mattachine Society or CGA or whatever. In the beginning there were gay men, there might have been a few lesbians. They tended to be in separate organizations. Now there is this trend, probably, I think that it is fair to say—I think that it may have been happening in the mid 80s in the bigger cities, but probably in the 90s we went to gay and lesbian associations; gay, lesbian and bisexual; now it is gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. Do you think that addressing these issues of multiculturalism can kind of distract gay men from forming their own community because they are so busy in trying to

Page 34
address all of these groups? I think that this is kind of a sticky issue? And even when you are to limit these multicultural issues and come into an organization as a WASP do you feel like you are treated like the non-minority? What are those dynamics? Now, it seems that gay men are almost like the status quo sometimes.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, well, within the movement, often I think we are the status quo, and I think that there is a lot of value in having a group—sort of an umbrella group which appeals to, or works for LGBT/queer all together. I also think that it is worthwhile groups to have just gay men together, or just lesbians, and I think that is something that is valuable. But I think that working together is really important too, I think. Our communities have so much in common and especially when you start talking about politics, our political goals are so much the same, and so intertwined that I don't think that it makes sense to separate that out to me.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So often organizations get formed, I think—Do you feel that there is often a pressure to be all inclusive of all the other queer people?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I think that there is that pressure, certainly and we tried to deal with that, having B-GLAD as a whole open to everyone, but we did do some women only or men only events.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Like what?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
My junior year we did, caucus lunches that we—we didn't call them caucuses. [Laughter] But you know, we would have a bisexual lunch for bisexuals to just get together and hang out or gay men, or lesbians, and I thought that that was really good. There were some programs—It was real interesting, my sophomore year, the political committee, which sort of formed on its own and then became the political committee of

Page 35
B-GLAD was essentially all women. Most of their meetings were all lesbians and I. Which was a really interesting dynamic for me.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I remember once I arranged for a gay camp out and all of the lesbians showed up, and I thought, "This is not going to be any fun." [Laughter] Great to see y'all but…
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, so that was really interesting, but actually I was sort of instrumental in getting that group of lesbians to become the political committee of B-GLAD and to see themselves as part of B-GLAD because the group was pretty male-dominated that year. We seemed to have gay men and three bisexual women and the lesbians were just not part of the group. So, we wanted to try and get women involved as well. It was interesting, because by my senior year there had really been this shift where the group was pretty well dominated by women, and we had a terrible time trying to find a guy to run when I left.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Which, I think was really as first in the history of the organization before—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, and I believe this last year, they actually had a weird system where they had two women the first semester and two men the second semester.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Which, I thought was illegal?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I don't know, they must have changed the bylaws or something. Actually, I think that the bylaws say one man and one woman when possible. So I guess that if nobody runs, then—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So if there is a big pressure whether or not it is a predominantly male or predominantly female organization or gay or lesbian organization and there is this big pressure to have someone of the other gender as the co-chair—We both know that

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there—as with you there are some arm twisting going on to get people active in organizations. Do you think that this ultimately lends to tokenism? This drive to just have someone? Or that purely just symbolic if that person really can't contribute? If you have two people who really want a job who come forward, it is something I have struggled with in organizations, and you have four gay white men who show up who want to do something. What do you do? Do you say no, you can't have leadership roles because you are four white gay men?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I don't think that it is symbolic. I really feel like—I was really committed to having women and men involved in the group. I think that it would be really hard to do that if you did not have the leadership also reflect that. You know, I know that a lot of people don't like that kind of quota or what ever. But, when you get down to it, I think, there is a lot that gay men and lesbians don't have in common and if you have all male leadership or all female leadership it's going to be a challenge to serve both. So, since I do think that it is worthwhile to work together I think that it is worth having a male and female co-chair.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Is it worth having a co-chair even if that co-chair can't do any work?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't want to have someone who really was just a token and was there as a symbol, and not be able to contribute or attend meetings or anything like that. But fortunately, that did not happen. Lorelei took some convincing to run, but she was absolutely fantastic.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
She was committed to the role once she got in.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Oh yeah.

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CHRIS McGINNIS:
So tell me about the history of this organization. We are sitting in this office right now, as I mentioned in the beginning of the tape. Was Joe Herzenberg instrumental in helping form this?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
—and what the time frame of when it started?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
It was founded in late 1990 into early 1991 when it got its start. Basically, the gay community had mobilized to try to defeat Jesse Helms because he was up for election in '90 and, obviously, Helms won. A group of six or seven people got together and said, "We can't wait six years to mobilize again, Helms is not the only enemy here." And they decided that what would be the best way to make an impact was to organize a group to work at the state level rather than the federal level. That group was Joe Herzenberg, Mike Nelson, Mandy Carter—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, Mandy.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
—Jesse White and I am going to forget a couple of other people, but—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Who is Jesse White?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Jesse, actually worked for HRCF at that time, or HRC now. He was involved through them at the time, kind of. So they got the start, they started very small.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Where did they get the money from?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Well, since it was founded as a political action committee, we have really strict guidelines as to where our money comes from. It is often from individuals, we do not get any corporate money or any grant money into the political action committee.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You can have fundraisers?

Page 38
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
You can have fundraisers, yeah. So they would do fundraisers, they would ask individuals for contributions. It did not have staff for the first year or two, I believe. Mike Nelson as the first E.D. actually.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He was the first E.D.?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Executive Director.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, and he had not yet become mayor?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Before he was mayor.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Obviously, that would have been a conflict of interest if you were—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, exactly—so, it was founded basically the goals were to support and elect candidates who are supportive of LGBT issues, or at that time, LG issues. [Laughter] I guess and to lobby the General Assembly on those issues.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How does the General Assembly react to you? When this queer boy comes up to them. You are not particularly effeminate or anything, but—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I do not get over to the general assembly very often. My boss is our lobbyist. I do go over there some—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, are they uncomfortable? These are good old boys that you are talking to. These are people off of a tobacco plantation, and they are not used to talking about sex, much less someone who identifies as a gay individual, a queer individual.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, well one of the things that is really striking, is the program "Equality Begins at Home" which was put together in '99 when I was just volunteering was our lobby day. We went over—about 200 queer folk—went over to the General Assembly.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Two hundred?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Two hundred.

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CHRIS McGINNIS:
Where did these people come from?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Mostly from the Triangle, but from all over the state.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you get them from the business guild?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Just through our membership and—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, so you have a mailing list.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, we have a mailing list that is about 6,000 folks now. We got people to come and go and talk to their legislators themselves and one of the things that was really striking about that was, how many of the legislators—not from the Triangle, but from other parts of the state, would say, "I have never met a gay person before. I did not know that I had any gay people in my district." [Laughter] . It is like you represent tens of thousands of people—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I know, statistically, it has got to come up.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
There has got to be a few, but—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But that is the mindset that you are dealing with, they don't think that they know gay people, and those are the people that you see marching and dying of AIDS in San Francisco, those aren't—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, the impression that a lot of them have, is not a very accurate or positive one. But, I think that that has been changing a lot. I mean, when they first started going over there, none of the bills went anywhere at all. I mean, it was like, you could get Ellie Kinnaird to introduce something for you and—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It would die pretty quickly.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Exactly, it would die. You know, we still have not passed a GLBT positive bill, but we are so much closer than we were two years ago. It is tough, because outside

Page 40
looking in first impression, you look at the 1999 hate crimes bill went to a vote in the house.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This was the Matthew Shepard bill?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, this was the first time a piece of pro-gay legislation was voted in by the full house, ever in North Carolina and it lost by ten votes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Amazing.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Some people were crushed, and we were like, victory! We got it to a vote, we got it out of committee and we only have to swing six people to win. Legislative change is frustrating.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
If I remember the rigmarole, you had it tabled then again so it would not die and you could try to pass it at a future date.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, this year, it has been tabled and we may move it to later in the session, more likely it will be moved into the 2002 session.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you feel that you have played any important role in getting certain gay people elected into office in the legislature?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Well, there are no completely, openly gay people in the legislature.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh yeah, I'm sorry, I mean gay friendly, not necessarily gay per se.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, gay friendly. Absolutely, we have worked with campaigns, we have raised money for campaigns, and a lot of people are really turned off by political action committees and giving money to candidates and I think that there are a ton of problems with that system, but that is how the system is now and we have to play that game too. I would personally totally support campaign finance reform, but since we have got this

Page 41
system, them we are going to be giving money to candidates because that is how you get things done.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Are people worried about getting money from you in some cases, because they are worried about the association with gay people?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Some do. We have had candidates who asked us not to endorse them. We usually respect the candidate's wishes on that. They are going to be more useful to us as a quiet ally than someone who is pissed at us for outing them as a supporter in a conservative district. But, I think that we have helped some pro-gay people get elected and I think that we have made a lot of candidates feel a little better about talking about these issues at least. I mean, I think ten years ago a candidate would not even know how to talk about these issues and I think that we have done a lot of education work with candidates and people who win.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do people come to you for advice ever? On issues?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, we definitely build working relationships with legislators, particularly our big supporters. I mean, we—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Who are your big supporters? Ellie Kinnaird? Howard Lee?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Orange and Durham Counties are the big ones obviously—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I guess that it is very fair to say, really that this whole thing, this whole organization, Equality PAC, had its origins definitely in the Triangle, most notably, Mike Nelson and Herzenberg were in Carrboro and Chapel Hill, so this organization definitely has this tie to Chapel Hill.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Oh yeah—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I am just pointing this out for future listeners—

Page 42
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
The office was in Carrboro for the first few years, actually, as they were just getting started. Then they moved down here pretty quickly I guess.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, it is pretty much—because I noticed the person who introduced some recent legislation, if I remember correctly was a black lady from Durham.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, Jeannie Lucas. She is an incredible woman, a big supporter, and we actually wrote the bill that she introduced. You know, it has to go through drafting and get approved and all of that. So we work really closely, it is not just that these bills come out of nowhere. We work to write the bills—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, I introduced a bill on sex education—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Good luck. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh yeah, it died quickly.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I am sure, and try to get them introduced and shepherd them through the committee.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Who were your biggest non-supporters? Are there people in the legislature that—
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Well, there is certainly Russell Capps from Wake County—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh! So Wake?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Wake is a really mixed bag, we have got Brad Miller and Eric Reeves in the Senate and Bob Hensley in the house who are spectacular. Then, you get like Russell Capps and Sam Ellis who are really conservative Republicans. They are about as bad as it gets. So Wake County really has both ends of the spectrum, and not a whole lot in between. It is strange.

Page 43
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So people are either very progressive or very conservative? I guess that there must be more rural areas or suburbanite areas that contribute to this conservatism?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
It is not completely and urban/rural divide. Districts in Cary and North Raleigh are fairly conservative. Kind of the suburban thing. A lot of them are relocated northerners where a New England Republican is not the same as a North Carolina Republican. Many of them are still voting Republican and not—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
William Weld from Massachusetts and Jesse Helms from North Carolina are obviously quite different.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Exactly, but they are still voting Republican, but the kind of Republican that they are getting is really different here than what you would be getting up North. So that is a big factor in Wake County at least. Then we have one semi-closeted representative from Wake County. Who is supportive and votes with us, which is good, but he is not going to be a poster boy.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, that would be a big liability. Do you have any nemesis organization? A nemesis PAC? A Christian Coalition PAC that you have to deal with?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
The Christian Coalition comes up, the Family Policy council, their lobbyist is always the one that shows up and speaks against us at hearings and that kind of thing.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So if you know that there is something like that [gay-oriented legislation] then they are going to be there.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Oh yeah, they are going to be the ones that are there, most likely.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What is your budget here?

Page 44
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Our budget we now have the political action committee, which is Equality NC PAC and then there Equality NC Project which is a 501(c)3 non profit. Our combined budget.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you have a 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 or something like that, if you are politically active?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
The PAC is separate, we may have a (c)4 at some point, but right now we just have a (c)3 and a PAC. (c)3 means you can make tax deductible contributions to it and get grants—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But you cannot be political?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
You can't be political, you can do educational work, and you can do issue organizing, but you cannot support a specific bill and you cannot give money to candidates.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And you certainly couldn't be partisan in any way.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Right, so now our combined budget is about $103,000.00.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And those are entirely from private donations and fundraisers?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
The project is $45,000 of that this year and it does get some money from grants and corporations and the two organizations work really closely together. The project for example this year did educational work on hate crimes and training people how to lobby and then the PAC organized a lobby day and actually had people come and lobby on specific bills. So, they work together really closely, kind of depending on which legal status is better suited for which activity.

Page 45
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Great, well, I guess we are wrapping up, is there anything else that you think that I may have left out? Are there any big changes that you have seen in Chapel Hill?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Big changes in Chapel Hill?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You have not really gotten to form a historical perspective in your life yet.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
I mean, not too much. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You meet people in their sixties who see trends.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Absolutely, one of my favorite things was when I had dinner with Jim Sears and this eighty-year-old guy who was a professor at Carolina.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Is he dead now?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
He is dead now. Bill Gear. The different perspectives of different generations is really amazing. But, I don't know. I don't know if I have seen any really striking changes. Chapel Hill is still a pretty accepting place; I would say the best in North Carolina.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you think that Chapel Hill is kind inaccessible though? I think that if you are looking in the 1960s or 70s there were gays living everywhere. Two reasons that people say that they leave are, first of all HIV and AIDS came out and a lot of people died, at least a lot of the leaders. The second reason that people talked about is that it got so expensive for people to live there. So do you see that as, I mean, it is nice, but it is only nice if you are gay and have the money to live there. The means to do it, I mean, even renting can be.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Chapel Hill's community is definitely very wealthy, very privileged and very white. It is not accessible to everyone. I am very lucky to have come from a privileged

Page 46
background and to have been able to go to Carolina, but yeah, it is not—but it certainly does not reflect the diversity of the state.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well yeah, I guess that it is just a gay person who was not necessarily professional could not come to Chapel Hill like he once could and just stay in a house for $100.00, which was people often rented houses for in Chapel Hill in the 70s.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, it has definitely a lot less accessible.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Its success has been its downfall in subtle ways.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, I was amazed at how much rent went up just while I was a student there, so it has been a lot longer trend than that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well great, thank you so much.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Sure.
END OF INTERVIEW