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Title: Oral History Interview with Cecil W. Wooten, July 16, 2001. Interview K-0849. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Wooten, Cecil W., 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 Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 192 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© 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:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-10-03, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Cecil W. Wooten, July 16, 2001. Interview K-0849. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0849)
Author: Chris McGinnis
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Cecil W. Wooten, July 16, 2001. Interview K-0849. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0849)
Author: Cecil W. Wooten
Description: 163 Mb
Description: 52 p.
Note: Interview conducted on July 16, 2001, by Chris McGinnis; recorded in Chapel Hill, 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 Cecil W. Wooten, July 16, 2001.
Interview K-0849. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Wooten, Cecil W., interviewee


Interview Participants

    CECIL W. WOOTEN, interviewee
    CHRIS McGINNIS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Hello, this Chris McGinnis, today is July sixteenth, 2001 and I am interviewing Dr. Cecil Wooten at my apartment, in Stratford Hills Apartments in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This tape is a continuing series of interviews that will contribute to the gay and lesbian southern history project, which is part of the Southern Oral History Program at UNC Chapel Hill. This project is currently 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 07.16.01-CW.1. Here we go. You can tell that I haven't talked all day. [Laughter]
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I haven't either.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, well, we will have to work together here. So, just to start off Cecil, where did you come from and tell me a little bit about you growing up and so forth.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I grew up in Kinston, in Eastern North Carolina.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, I thought that you were from South Carolina.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No, I am from Kinston and I lived there until I was eighteen. My father was a doctor and my family has in fact lived in the same county for about three hundred years. I went to college at Davidson College and then I went to graduate school here.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Wow, so you are a native North Carolinian through and through.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So when did you really realize that you were gay? When did that start surfacing?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Well, although in the early 50s, the term gay did not exist.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Especially in eastern North Carolina.

Page 2
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I realized that I was sexually attracted to men when I was about seven or eight. I first realized it when I would go and see Tarzan movies, and I found Tarzan much more exciting than Jane. Also, as often happened in small southern towns, I had a lot of sex with a first cousin of mine. My grandfather was a tobacconist and he spend July, August and September out of town, so the grandchildren would stay with my grandmother and we slept in this big feather bed and I—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
If I only had cousins. [Laughter]
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It started, as I used to say, "fooling around with my cousin." Actually, we had sex with each other until he was about 21 and I was about 22, he was a year younger than I am. Then, all of a sudden I went to France for a year and came back and he was getting married.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Wow. How did you feel about that?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Fine—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I guess that it was kind of a recreational thing.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, it was recreational and we never talked about it, we never discussed it, it was just purely a physical kind of experience. I also had a friend in high school that I had sex with a lot and I realized that for me, this was what I was interested in. For him, it was sort of a substitute for not having an available woman. Because women were not available in the 50s in eastern North Carolina. He also, the same thing happened, I went off to Europe, returned and he was dating my first cousin. Not the one that I was having sex with, it was a woman. Again, you know, we have never discussed it since then, he lives in Raleigh, it just has never been discussed.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It is a moot point basically.

Page 3
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, I mean, it was, for him, clearly a phase and a substitute for something else. I think that for my cousin it was more than a phase, I think that it was something that he felt very strongly. But, he wanted to live in eastern North Carolina and be a businessman. I think that he realized that you could not live in eastern North Carolina, be a businessman and be gay. So, he got married. I am sure that he is bisexual, but I think that he was more homosexual than my friend. I think that my friend was probably more heterosexual and I was available and girl weren't.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, was there ever any kind of tension that he might have felt guilty because this was happening and you didn't? Did it basically work out fine?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Not that I ever sensed. I sensed that it was something that we both enjoyed and when the time came, he put it aside and I didn't. There, I guess, with both of these people, there was a little bit of awkwardness after we quit having sex with each other and each of them were dating women, and looking as if they were going to get married, but it was not a great amount of awkwardness and there is not awkwardness what so ever now. I see my cousin all of the time now and I see this other guy on occasion and, you know, it is never mentioned, but it is not tense.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, when do you first remember interacting with a person who was openly gay, or people knew was gay, in town or where ever. It might have been after Kinston.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Oh, yeah, it was, I think that it was when I was in graduate school.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Really? So, not in France or anything?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No, not at all, I think that it was when I was a first year graduate student. I had a colleague who was from New York who was openly gay. In fact, we would go to the gay bar in Chapel Hill—

Page 4
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was this the Tempo Room or Pegasus?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It was Pegasus. He was interesting to me, because—and actually interacting with him had an important effect on me. He felt that he had to choose between being a classics professor and being gay. He felt that they were mutually exclusive. This was in 1967.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This was in Chapel Hill.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, in Chapel Hill. He felt that he could not be an academic and be openly gay. So, he went through this big conflict over which was more important to him, and he finally dropped out of graduate school and went to New York and worked as a bank teller, because he decided that him being gay was more important than being a classicist. I realized that—it seemed to me that the conflict that the was feeling was legitimate, and I really wanted to be a classics professor, so consequently, what I did, was that I didn't really ever talk about being gay. It became irrelevant and I devoted all of my time to studying, and I realized though in Chapel Hill, and I think it was the first time that there was a kind of gay community. I mean, for example Murphy, where my office was, was the big T-room on campus
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Exactly. When I finally found out about that, I went down there and the urinals are still down there are the walls
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, yeah, exactly, I know.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
They are probably going to be the last vestiges, which will be ripped apart by the grant, or the gigantic referendum that was passed.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
—And it was a conflict for me, because particularly on the weekends—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You couldn't even go to the bathroom.

Page 5
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I know, it was funny, when we were first in graduate school, the chairman of the department warned us not to go to the bathroom downstairs. [Laughter] I remember, there was this funny feeling of being very excited that this was available, but also being very frightened that if I engaged in that, then my professional career might well be ruined. It's—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, what did it look like down there, I am sure that you must have—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Well, it just looked like a normal bathroom.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There weren't any glory holes.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Oh, yeah there were glory holes
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were there glory holes, or were there peep holes?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
There were peepholes. I must say, that I never went down there that much, because I realized that there was this huge temptation and I didn't want to.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, I guess that another department would have been one thing.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, and I just didn't want to yield to it. Because, I did feel that I had a choice between being gay and being a professional classicist, and I wanted to be a professional classicist, and had been since I had been in the second grade.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were there any professors around that were gay, or that people knew that were gay?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
The only one that I knew of was this man Jacque Aurdre, who was the chairman of the French Department. I wasn't sure about that, it was just rumored that he was gay. He was very professional, he never had sex with students, he was not openly gay on campus, but it was generally known that he lived with another man and he was very sporty. He had a mustang convertible and very elegant. He was French, and I had a

Page 6
class with him. He was a nice man, but I was not friends with him. He did not make any attempt to be a friend of mine, because he basically did not associate or interact with students for reasons that I can understand. So, when I was in graduate school, I think that was the first time that I became aware of the gay community. But, I did not have any part of it, because I—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But, you did mention that you had gone to Pegasus some.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I did go to Pegasus a couple of times with this friend of mine.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Who could not decide, but finally decided to—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Again, it was very exciting, but scary, because I saw then that there was this world that was very tempting, but I saw that as an alternative to a professional career.
It is interesting, the first time that I ever saw gay people acknowledged in a sort of public sense, was that movie, Advise and Consent. Have you ever seen that?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
No, I haven't, but I have heard of it.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Well, I looked at it again last year.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It had a tremendous impact on me. It is a story of a politician in Washington, who has a gay experience when he is in the army, and it looks as if he is going to be blackmailed by the man that he had the gay experience with. So, he goes to New York to see this man, and he has to go to a gay bar to find him, because that is where he happens to be. So, you see a scene in a movie of a gay bar, which at the time I didn't even know things like that existed.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did this come out in the sixties?

Page 7
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I think that it was the early sixties. I believe that I saw it when I was out in college, I am not absolutely sure.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I think that I am going to VisArt. [Laughter, VisArt is a local mainstream video store in Chapel Hill/Carrboro/Durham area that offers movies with Gay and Lesbian themes, pornographic and otherwise]
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It is the same sort of—now don't get discouraged, this doesn't come up until two-thirds of the way through the movie. [Laughter] The interesting thing about it was, I didn't remember anything about the movie, I remember everything about the scene in the gay bar. I remember what the bartender looked like, what he said to the customers, what the people at the bar looked like. It was interesting when I saw the movie again this year, I realized that I did not know anything about the plot, I did not remember anything about the politician, the blackmail, etc. But, my memory of the scene in the gay bar was absolutely perfect. What was interesting to me was that it was a nice bar. All of the patrons looked very respectable, nice looking. In fact, the man in question, who is engaging in blackmail was as fabulous looking guy. A very masculine looking. There again, I think I realized that there was a world out there that would be very exiting and that I would be interested in participating in. But yet, you get a very mixed signal from the movie, you get a very attractive view of a gay bar and a very attractive gay man, but yet, the politician ends up committing suicide, because—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
—And he is getting blackmailed.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And he is getting black mailed. So, you know, there again it was like my experience in graduate school. I saw this situation as if it was either this or that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
To go down that road is a road of destruction.

Page 8
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
That is right, and also, I was a teacher. So, the first three or four years that I taught. I taught at the college of William and Mary.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you only get your masters at UNC?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No, I got my PhD.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You got your PhD.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And then I taught at William and Mary for a few years.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I used to develop these horrible crushes on students. It was a fifth grade kind of a thing. It was not really necessarily sexual. It was just these terrible crushes and I would things like go to the library at night in the hopes that I would bump into one of these students. And if I did, if I had five minutes of conversation with one of these students, I was so excited. It was very painful.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I am sure.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
You know, I couldn't do anything about it. They were probably straight guys, and it was very romantic, it was a romantic crush is what it was. But, it was really, really painful.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Unfortunately, so many gay guys go through that.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, exactly. But, when I went to Indiana in 1974 and was teaching there. That was the first time that I met openly gay faculty members. I realized that the end of my first year there, that most of my friends were gay men, but I didn't realize it. I don't think that I realized it. It was this sort of self-selecting thing in Bloomington. I also realized by the end of the year, that I had been being courted by the chairman of the French Department, who used to invite me to the opera and invite me to dinner and invite

Page 9
me to. I wasn't physically attracted to him, I like him a lot. I guess at the end of that year, he basically asked me if I was gay and said that there was a faculty group on campus called the faculty alliance of gays, with an unfortunate acronym, and asked me if I wanted to participate, and I told him that I was gay, but I didn't really want to get into an organization. I mean, I was an untenured assistant professor living in the Midwest, which was an area that I really didn't understand.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You could have been 'hatcheted' out of the system.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I then came to realize that most of my friends were gay and that was fine with me. I intended to continue to be friends of theirs. But, I did not want to get involved with an official organization. In fact, I did end up going to some of the parties. I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it a lot. It was a tremendously liberating experience to be in a group of people who were gay. I mean, they were much more out than I was, I think.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, it sounds like that was your most positive experience so far.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, it was.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Being in Indiana, Bloomington, you would never think of it.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, exactly. But the thing that I didn't like about it was that all of these people were sort of what we used to call "50s Queens" I mean, they gave 'pissie', 'pissie' dinner parties. They were sort of like the people in Boys in the Band [an early gay movie]. There was bitchy, negative streak. I mean, they were nice people and I liked them, and they were all friends of mine, but it was a kind of social atmosphere that I didn't like particularly. There were these incredibly elegant dinner parties, with this very precious conversation [emphasis added] with this very cynical, negative undertone, and that is one of the reasons that I left Indiana and came here. So, I left there in 1980.

Page 10
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How large was Bloomington?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Bloomington was about fifty thousand actually. But there was no gay bar there, there was no—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But there was a fairly strong gay network.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
There were a fair number of gay faculty members. There was a student gay organization that I don't think was very active, but it existed. I had friends who went to gay bars in Indianapolis, but I never went there myself. But I decided that I wanted—In 1980 I decided that I wanted to be openly gay, but I sort of wanted to be better integrated into my life. Also, I didn't want be a bitch 50s Queen. [Laughter] So, I decided that I was going to come here and I was going to be sort of naturally gay. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
[Laughter] Organically gay!
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It was going to just be a part of my existence, I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it, I was going to make an effort to meet gay people, to make gay friends, to get involved in the gay social life, to get involved to a certain extent in gay political movements. I decided that I sort of wanted to start all over again and be very open from the very beginning.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was it very easy to get back into Chapel Hill? Was that where you planned on going?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It actually came about by chance, I had just gotten tendered in Indiana, and was going to go to Germany for two years on a leave of absence, and in the middle of April, UNC called and offered me a job.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Middle of April, 1980?

Page 11
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
1979. I was kind of taken aback. It was a non-tenured position, it was five-year contract as an associate professor without tenure, so then I would have to give up tenure to do it, but I had come to a point in my life where I really wanted a break. I mean, it was really no so much professional as it was personal. Because all of these people in Indiana, these friends of mine, although there was this gay organization, they were not sort of openly gay, it was something that you sort of giggled about.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was it more social rather than political?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It was much more social and not really political at all, and it was something as I say that you got together at these 'pissie' dinner parties and giggled about cute boys in your classes. It wasn't really the sort of gay life that I wanted.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, I thought that it was only the faculty members, I thought that it was the students as well, who went to those dinner parties.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No, no it was only faculties. They would say, "Oh, you know, I had the cutest boy in my class. . ." [Laughter] It was fine, it just—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
—It just wasn't your style.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I mean, I was thirty-five. It wasn't really my thing.
So, I came back here and I made a point of finding out where the gay bars were and I really tried to meet gay people and I started going to, I guess that it was called CGA [Carolina Gay Association] then, they were called CGA meetings.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, let's take one quick break here.
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Okay.

Page 12
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I told my colleagues that I was gay, and I was very natural about it. If I had a boyfriend, I took him to classic department social functions. You know, I had colleagues to dinner with gay people and I became a faculty advisor to CGLA [Carolina Gay and Lesbian Association, which changed it's name from CGA in 1985].
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That was in 1985-86, right?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
That's right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And that is the same year that it became CGLA?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Right, okay, right. Well, and given the limited amount of free time that I had, I tried to get involved in things as much as I could. I was very happy I was very glad. I felt that it was a very good choice.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Where there many, looking back at 85 and 86, I just had done some research on this and this was a rough draft, but apparently when you came here or became active in CGLA in 85, 86 James Duley was the co-chair. Is he still in the area?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I don't think so, I don't know where he is, but I don't think that he is in the area. Robert Phar was also involved that year, but he is dead now.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, okay, did he die of AIDS?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes. But, I don't think that Jim Duley is around. I think that he lives in Washington, but I am just not sure.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, well describe CGA/CGLA a little bit to me. Was it predominantly male when you got involved?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, it was almost exclusively male. It had a reputation on campus for being a very radical political organization, and to some extent it was. I mean, it was very political. Whether it was radical or not, I do not know. It was radical, I guess, for Chapel Hill in 1985.

Page 13
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Because they were really right in the middle of the AIDS crisis, when it first started. That must have been very hard.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, and it was, there was also a fair amount of opposition from the student body, which seemed to have the effect of radicalizing the people of the group even more.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How would the student body backlash against CGLA?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It mainly took the form of an attempt to defund the organization every year. It was the same tired old crap every year.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That was the same crap that I even had to go through.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I would get so tired of that. I mean, it was the same old stuff, you know, there would be a forum on religion and homosexuality and the same old arguments, and the same old bible thumpers and it was really tiresome. I got so tired of that after about five or six years. You know, reporters from the Daily Tar Heel would call me every year asking me the same questions that they had asked me for the previous seven years. I am glad to say that that has kind of weathered out now. Every year, I advised the group to try to make it somewhat social, because, I think.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That seems to have always been the schism from the beginning.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And you know, you have all of these people coming off of the farms of North Carolina, who were gay, but they did not want to get involved in a radical political group and what it meant was that they really did not have anywhere to turn and I think that the first person who really did that was, what was his name, he lives in Chicago now.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Doug Ferguson?

Page 14
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, Doug Ferguson—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Doug was the first person to do that? I thought that he was the political one?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Well, he actually, well, he tried to do everything. I mean, if my memory serves me correctly, he started having mixers and a little more social kind of things. He was also political, of course. He has always been political to a great extent. But, there was some extent made in the late 80s to make the group more receptive who weren't the radical political types.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Because a lot of people who were coming, like you said, right off of the farm in North Carolina—they were not ready to go [become political] I mean, it was like right out of the frying pan and into the fire. I know that it was that way for me.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I remember at one meeting, I think that it was in the mid 80s, we were all sitting around in a circle and we were supposed to go around and introduce ourselves and say something about ourselves. There was a kid there, he was a freshman, he was extremely nervous, and he just blurted out real fast, "My name is so and so and I am from Gastonia, my momma would kill me if she knew I was here!" [Laughter] You know, it really sort of crystallized, you know, what a frightening experience that it must be.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yes, very difficult.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
But, the group did become—it sort of lost it's edge in the late 80s and early 90s and I think that it was sort of friendlier too—Doug Ferguson was a wonderful co-chair. He managed to do everything. I mean, it was more social, it was more friendly.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He had a lot of energy.

Page 15
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It was more political, it was more effective. It had a huge group. I mean, it had hundreds of people involved in it.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, yeah, I remember a lot of those. Well let's go down the list just a little bit [list of co-chairs for the Gay organization at UNC] Gregory Johnson, do you remember him?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Vaguely, but not real well.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Donald Bryan Suggs?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, I remember him well.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What was he like, did he do anything in particular that stuck out in your mind?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
He was a guy from Eastern North Carolina, I think, who had come out to his parents when he was seventeen. I don't remember anything in particular, but he was a good co-chair. He kept things going.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How about Elizabeth Ann Stiles. According to this list in 1988 and 1989, she was the leader. There was no male co-chair that year?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
[pause]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
In the list that I looked up, there was only one name under co-chair and it was hers. That is why I was curious.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
You know, I just don't remember. I was surprised, because there tended to be a male. And a female every year. Yeah, I remember her, I believe that she went to law school. Yeah, she was good.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, Mark Burniston.

Page 16
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, he was wonderful. In fact, I think that he may have accomplished the most in that he got the chancellor to add sexual orientation to the university non-discrimination policy.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was that when Hardin [UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor from the late 80s to the early 90s] sent out this state which was officially a memo and not a part of the actual non-discrimination ordinance.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, yeah, but it's—Mark came to see me, and he said that that was what he wanted to accomplish, that was to have sexual orientation added to the non-discrimination policy and he wanted to ask me what was the best way to go about doing it. So I talked with people, who were very nice, and everybody recommended just to go and see the chancellor. So, he and I went to see Hardin—and Mark, the research that he had done, he had a file that thick about all schools that had sexual orientation as part of their non-discrimination policy and he was very articulate. I mean, I did not say anything, I just made the appointment with the chancellor and escorted him and he did all of the talking. Hardin did not say very much, this was in April, I think and Hardin asked a few questions, but basically did not say very much and then I saw Hardin at a fundraiser for Harvey Gant in August and he came over and said, "Do you read the Chapel Hill Newspaper?" and I said, "No." and he said, "Well, maybe you should tomorrow morning." And I picked it up and on the front page, it said that he had added sexual orientation to the non-discrimination policy. But, Mark really did a wonderful job. As you say, it is a memo.

Page 17
CHRIS McGINNIS:
—Apparently, it is not the board of governors, but it is the advisory board. There was the potential for political ramifications from the general assembly, so they were scared to make it an official policy.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Right, right—and when they were thinking about making it an official policy, I sent several letters to the chairman of the board of governors, or the board of trustees or whoever it was and they never replied. I sent one very long, four-page letter that was more like a memo, but they never replied.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do they have a reputation of being much more conservative than the faculty or the administration of UNC?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, how do they get—where are they nominated from? Does the legislature—?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I may be wrong about this, I think that about half of them are appointed by the governor and half of them are elected by the legislature.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, okay.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
They are not totally unreasonable people by any means. They are not idiots. In fact, I think that they are quite well intentioned people, but they are more conservative and they are more attuned to the reaction within the state. But, I think that Mark did accomplish something.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, well that is certainly something to be remembered for. How about Patrick Lamerson? Do you remember that guy? Or Keith Peck?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I don't remember Keith Peck. Patrick Lamerson I remember fairly well, but I don't remember anything—

Page 18
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Apparently, he took over in 1989-90 as well. I don't know. There was Patrick Rothwell?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, I remember him.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Svati Sodham? Is that a guy or a girl?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
A girl, she was an Indian girl. And she was close to a disaster. She was a very nice person. She was not very dynamic, she had very few organization skills and the organization almost disappeared. In fact, I remember that in the spring of—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You see, that was in the year right before Doug—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, in the spring of that year, she and I were often the only people at the meetings.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, no!
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
That was why I was so delighted when Doug took over because I think that it would have dried up. Now, I think that everybody up to her had been reasonably effective. I mean, some better than others. But, they kept the group together and they were those that were not always massively effective. But, she was a disaster.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was she was first generation Indian?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, I think so.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Indian culture is often very—I mean I don't that they even recognize that homosexuality even exists.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, she was a really bad choice. And Doug was wonderful, he was the best.

Page 19
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, Doug came in along with Kathy Staly and that is when I got involved with the organization. A lot of the other folks I know, and you just stopped with this organization in 1999-2000.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, I went on leave. I was a visiting professor in Minnesota last year. I told the people that were involved in the other group that I was going to be gone and that Craig Melcher would fill in while I was gone.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Craig Melcher?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, in linguistics.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Is that M-E-L—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
C-H-E-R-T. And I talked to him and he said that he would take over. But, I also told the people in the group that—Oh, good I see that Beth Kivel is the new advisor—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, she was, I hear that she is leaving now.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Oh really?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
She was here for a year and there were some problems.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I told them that I have been doing this a long time. I am happy to do it. I have enjoyed it. I really think that it is time for someone else to do it. And I really think that you need a woman. So, I told that when I came back from Minnesota I would be willing to do it, but I would prefer that they got somebody else.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Why did you go to Minnesota?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I was just invited to be a visiting professor at Fulton College. I had never taught at a small college before, so I thought that it might be interesting and it was and they offered me a huge amount of money.

Page 20
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, that is always nice. [Laughter]
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
So, I am glad—I like Beth Kivel.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, as far as I could tell, just from my initial investigation, you were the longest advisor so far to the group.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, I am sure. I enjoy doing it. I just got to the point where I wasn't terribly interested anymore.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There was a weird time. For the first time in almost—although it did happen in the 70s that we had two women as co-chairs and then after that in the following year, we had two males as co-chairs, so I thought that that was a kind of interesting flip flop in the organization. So, you came to Chapel Hill in the 80s, actually 1980. Did you just tell people in your interview that you were gay when you were going over—how did you come out? I guess that I want to talk about your coming out experience.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
In the interview, the preliminary interview. I told the chairman of the department, and the two people on the selection committee that I was gay that I was openly gay, and it was important to me and if that was a problem, we should just stop the interview right now—and I remember the chairman of the department looking up at me sort of perplexed and said, "Why would that be a problem?"
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is great.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And when I came out, I did not make a big deal of it, I just said that if it came up naturally in conversation, I took boyfriends with me to parties. I just tried to be as natural about it as possible. That worked well. Nobody seemed to have problems whatsoever with it.

Page 21
[text deleted]
Well, I guess that I was the first person who was referred to in the Daily Tarheel as "Openly Gay Professor of X"; and who was referred to in the News and Observer and other papers around the state. I mean, I was quoted a lot and always was cited as—and I told people when they interviewed me. I said, "I want to be referred to as an openly gay professor of classics and I said, "I don't want that to be the thrust of your article, but if you are going to refer to me, that is the way that I want to be referred too." And that was fine; and in that respect, maybe I was the first openly gay person.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But today, there is plenty of—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Oh, yes, there is plenty, there are tons. I mean—but even in the 60s there were people like Jacque Ardre, the chairman of the Romance Language Department. I mean, I think that everybody in Chapel Hill knew that he was gay. Nobody talked about it. He never stood up and said, "I am gay," and he was never referred to in the papers as gay, but he was certainly out. He lived with a man on Mount Bolis Road [a side street in

Page 22
Chapel Hill off of Airport Road, a main artery of transportation coming into Chapel Hill]. They lived together for thirty years.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There was no ambiguity about that situation.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, and on the other hand, I mean in a way—how do you define publicly "out"? I guess, and to me, being publicly out is being referred to publicly as a gay professor, and I don't think that Jacque Ardre ever was.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So when did you come out to your parents and family?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
About 1978, it was when I was moving to Indiana, and as I said, I had all of these gay friends and most of my social life was with gay people. I felt that, "I really shouldn't be doing this unless I told my parents." So, I remember, I called my father one weekend and I said, "There is something important to me that I would like to discuss with you." And he said, "Well, the next time that you are in Kinston, we can talk about it." And I said, "Well, I am flying in from Indianapolis tomorrow night."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you were planning on handling it immediately.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, I just decided that I just felt—I really like my family and my family has always been good to me, and I felt like a hypocrite, I mean, running around with all of these gay people, feeling more and more that I wanted that to be an important and open part of my life. But yet, never having discussed it with my family. So, I flew in, my father picked me up at the airport, and after dinner—he had re-married—he had married a woman with four children and there were all of these people around and after dinner he said, "Would you like to go over to my office?" and I said, "Yeah". It was funny, we sat down, I was in the patient's position and he was in the doctor's position—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did he have an office in his home?

Page 23
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No, it was in a clinic. We went over there, and I started my little preamble and said, "There is something that becoming increasingly important to me. . ." He was looking down the whole time. All of a sudden, he interrupted me and he looked up and he said, do we have to discuss this?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh my God!
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I said, "Yes we do." [said with emphasis]. He then said, "Okay, that is all right." We talked for about two hours. It was perfectly friendly, he was very reasonable, he was not terribly enthusiastic about it, but it seemed to be fine.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, he obviously knew, he just did not want to talk about it.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Well, it was funny, he said to me, "Don't you remember when you were twelve, every night, very visibly was reading this book called "Toward an Understanding of homosexuality? It was about thick" [Laughter, Cecil makes a motion indicating thickness with his hands]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, I see, I thought you meant that the was reading it too you, putting you to sleep. He was just reading it to himself.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
But every time, he would go into the den and read, when I would walk in, it was almost as if he was holding the book up. He told me that that was an invitation for me to talk to him about it. Well, one of my uncles lived with us, and it was very obvious, you know, that he was gay. Back in those days in Eastern North Carolina, people did not go to psychiatrists or therapists and he was talking with my father. I assumed that my father was reading this book for my uncle.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So you uncle was probably the first openly gay person.

Page 24
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Probably, but he was not openly gay, but he had a Harvard Law Degree. He was very cosmopolitan and intelligent and every year, would sort of adopt a high school student, who he sent to college. He would take him to Europe and take him to California, they were up at our house all of the time. They always came from sort of an under privileged background and also good looking. [Laughter] Nobody ever talked about it. But, people in my family have talked about it since then. He killed himself eventually.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh my goodness, how old was he when that happened?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
He was 79.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, he was much older.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It was pretty clear to everybody. I don't know if he had any sexual relations with these boys, I don't know what the nature of it was, and I guess that nobody ever will. But, he was very good to them, he took them to Europe and he sent them to college—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were there any other gay people, or people that you suspected that were gay in your family? [pause]
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No—well, I have a second cousin in Raleigh who is gay, but he is younger than I am. It was, my father told me that this was an invitation for me to talk to him about it. I said, "Look, this was 1957, I was 12 years old," I didn't have a very good relationship him, it wasn't nasty, I mean he worked all of time, I mean, I didn't see him very much. He was very distant and I said, "What do you expect of me? This is just totally unreasonable." But, he was very good about it. At the end of this conversation, he said, "Look, this is fine, I have no problem with this," and then he said in a very

Page 25
condescending sort of way, "You know, your stepmother is not as educated as we are." And he said, "I don't think that she would understand this, so would appreciate it if you would not tell her." I said, "Look your relationship is with her. That is not any of my business, I will do whatever you want me to do." It was interesting, she called me about two months later, and she said, "Your father just told me that you told him that you are gay. And he said that he did not want you to tell me, because he thought that it would make a difference," and she said, "I just want to tell you that it makes no difference whatsoever." It is fascinating because she is a Jesse Helms Republican, but the one issue that she is very liberal on is gays. I have had boyfriends over there at Christmas, I have taken lots of gay friends home, it has never been a problem at all.
In fact, I remember in about 1982 I had the most disastrous boyfriend that I have ever had. A young guy who was a secretary over in the med school who was partially crazy.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, he was partially crazy [Laughter] . He was partially crazy.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I took him home for Christmas. I was 36 then and he was 21 or 22, and we out to a New Year's Eve Party. I said, "Look, this Kinston, North Carolina, I don't live here, you do, I realize that it is a different world. Why don't Joel and I just stay at home? Because if we go to the party, it is going to be obvious what the nature of the relationship is and if anybody asks me, I am not going to deny it." He kind of thought for a minute and he said, "Oh, come on!" And so we went to the party and nobody asked us at all. All of their friends were very nice, and the woman who had the party, who was this big socialite, called, the next morning, which was Christmas Morning and said, "Cecil, I want to tell you, I am glad that you came to the party last night, I am glad that you brought Joel

Page 26
and I am glad that you have decided to be open about 'IT'" [Laughter] She really couldn't say the word, but I really did appreciate the gesture.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, in terms of gay—I was thinking about where gay people obviously interacted in Chapel Hill and on campus, and there were the T-rooms of course, and then there was, initially Wilson Library and Murphy and then later, Bingham, Dey, Gardener and Venable which have almost all been shut down now. So, there were the T-room areas and then of course the gym and then Chapel Hill had a lot of gay bars early on. But, you had only gone to the Pegasus?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I went to the Pegasus, and then I went to the Electric Company. I was gone periodically. I mean, I came to Chapel Hill in 1967, but I was in Europe for two years, and I taught at William and Mary for while, and I taught in Indiana.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
When you returned, club Zen was kind of going on. Did you ever go there?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I don't think that I ever went there.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It was only partially gay, and it was on Franklin.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I do remember it, but I don't think that I ever went there. The first gay bar that I ever went to around here by myself, you know, with the intention of really doing something, was 42nd Street. I went to the Pegasus a couple of times. I went to the Electric Company once. I went to Christopher's Street once. But, they were all with people and it was sort of a mixed crowd and it was not a statement then. Where as when I went the 42nd Street [a bar which later became the Power Company, another gay bar, just a change in names.] I went by myself, with the intention of meeting gay people, and also hopefully with the intention of having sex with one of them. Then of course 42nd Street later became the Power Company.

Page 27
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did it change much from 42nd Street to the Power Company?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Not really, accept it was better managed as 42nd street.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It was better managed. What do you mean by that? You know, the music was better, I thought, the shows were wonderful. There were a lot of drag shows. There were go-go boys and go-go girls and I mean it was big production. I can remember that on either side of the dance floor there were these sort of cat walks that were sort of suspended from the ceiling, and on one side, they had boys who danced and on the other side, they had girls who danced, and then this would be going on during the drag show, I mean, it was a real extravaganza. Where as, with the Power Company, and I don't mean to say this badly managed.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
—But, it didn't have the same flair.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It did not have the same flair and 42nd Street just packed people in. I have never seen so many fabulous people there; it just had tons of energy. Now, that my be a function of the late 70s and early 80s, but later I found that later, the Power Company—and this may be because I was older—it just did not have the same energy and excitement that the old 42nd street had.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Interesting. Well, how about other places beside that? Was there a big dinner party circuit? Did you ever go to the Castle Parties for instance?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, I went to the Castle Parties. I used to go to the Crape Myrtle Festival when it was in Mike Bird's back yard. When I cam back here in 1980 as a faculty member, I met a lot of these people like Jacque Ardre, who was chairman of Romance Languages, [text deleted] , there were a lot of dinner parties, and a lot of cocktail parties. There were gay book clubs and a gay cycling club.

Page 28
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There was a Mary Renault society?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, which I started.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, you started. Someone had told me that Hoagie Gaskins had started it. Well, tell me about how it got off the ground.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Well, I had a colleague who was, I guess bisexual, but he was married and had children, but was interested in associating with gay people. A very prestigious man at the University. He came to me and said that he really wanted to meet gay people, but he really did not feel like he could go to a gay bar, because that was just something that could do. He had gone to Washington one year when he was on leave, and he had visited this group called the Lord Byron Society, which is basically.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
[tape fades in] I would prefer not to.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I understand. Let's see, okay, here we go, we are on side 2 of the interview with Cecil Wooten, the number for this side is 07.16.01-CW.2.
So we were talking about the Mary Renault Society.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, so, he asked me if, this was the first year that I was in Chapel Hill and he asked me in 1980, I guess that it was in 81 because I was in the humanity center the first year, so it was the first year that I as teaching, and he asked me if I would be the sort of front man to organize a group like this and he said that he would write the letter,

Page 29
explaining the concept if I would sign it and distribute it to gay people that I knew, and so I did, and Hoagie Gaskins was one of the people that I distributed it to.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did he live in the castle at that time?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I don't remember. I gave it to him—he ran a bookstore at University Mall—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was it Little Professor Books?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, Little Professor, and I gave it to him down there, and I must say, his initial response was, "Oh, this is silly, you know, this sounds 'pissie' and pretentious."
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
He was blonde, he was nice looking, he was very nice, very dynamic and energetic. He had somewhat of an edge to him. But, I like him—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He had sarcasm?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
He was sarcastic, for example, I remember when I took him this notice about this book club meeting, he sort pruned the whole thing and made some sort of sarcastic comment about 'pissie' queens talking about Oscar Wilde Plays and [Laughter] But I distributed this to about thirty or forty people and we had the first meeting at my apartment, which was at Sharon Heights.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
There were about twenty people there, and some of them I knew and some of them I didn't know, because people I had given this notice too had told other people about it, and everybody sort of agreed that it was a good idea, it was a good opportunity for gay people to meet other people outside of bars and tea rooms and other highly

Page 30
sexually charged environments, but it was more welcoming for older people and people who didn't feel comfortable being very out.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Which in Chapel Hill meant that you were over twenty-one.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
That's right, exactly, it had the possibility of being educational and so we agreed to do it, and then of course, we needed a name and we talked about various things, and I think most of the people there said that the first gay novel they had ever read was by Mary Renault, so we decided that we would call it the Mary Renault Society.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And what did she write?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
The one that I read was called "The Persian Boy" about the King of Persia and his boyfriend whose name was Bogerass I still remember that. [Laughter] But plenty of her novels, "The Charioteer" was a gay theme, many of her novels had gay themes, and she is one of these interesting lesbian women who writes about gay men.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is kind of unusual.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
So, we formed a group and we met once a month and the way we did it, was like many book clubs, somebody would agree to lead a discussion on a book and we would all read it, and I remember the first one that we did was "The Best Little Boy in the World" and the discussion was lead by a therapist by the name of Bill Sims in Durham and it was wonderful, it was very interesting. I mean, it just went beautifully. We got together, and we had drinks, sort of cocktails and food and we all sat around Don Stanford's living room and talked about "The Best Little Boy in the World" and we met for about two years and then it seemed to me to have sort have run it's course. I mean, we were not getting any new people, we had read all of the sort of standard gay books and we had all met a lot of nice people and it did not seem to be of much interest

Page 31
anymore, so I quit going and my colleague who had been responsible for it had quit going and I assumed that it would sort of die eventually, but I think that it may be still going.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I have heard that maybe it is, but I don't know.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
That's how it got started.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Great, great. So, we have covered different venues and, did you ever see any subcultures in the gay community, I mean, I guess beyond the dinner party circuit and cruisers and all of that, did you see separation based on class or race. Did lesbians go to a lot of the same functions traditionally as gay men, did you ever see gay men and lesbians interact much?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, I didn't see a lot of separation.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Probably not.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I mean at Forty Second Street, everybody went. There were gay men, there were Lesbians, there were blacks there were whites, there were leathery types, there were Nellie queens and it seemed to me that everybody got along pretty well. I mean obviously, Forty-Second Street the lesbians tended to stay on one side and gay men on the other, but I never sensed any kind of hostility and you know, if I saw a lesbian that I knew, I would go over and have a drink with her and also at parties, these dinner parties tended to be predominately male, that I went to. But, I went to a lot of cocktail parties where I went to see a lot of men and women. The thing about it is the area is too small to have too much fragmentation and I think people realized that there are just not enough people around to clump yourself out into, and I never really sensed any fragmentation based on class. I used to tell my father, one of the things I really liked about being gay, one of the many things was that it gave me an opportunity to meet all sorts of people that

Page 32
I would have never met otherwise, who were very nice people, but they were plumbers, or people that I would not have met socially or otherwise, but we had something in common, which was being gay, obviously, and I found that many parties that I went to there were University Professors, and air conditioner repairmen and everything. I really liked it a lot. And there were men, and women, blacks and whites, rich people and poor people and you know, as always in the gay world, if you were good looking, you—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That was all that mattered.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
You had an entrée anywhere. And the—Obviously, I did tend to run around mainly with professional people, but I had a lot of friends who were not professionals and I like it.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How about the Little River?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I never went there. People, I didn't know very much about it. [Cecil stammers a little bit while gathering his thoughts] There was somebody killed there, wasn't there?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, there was a guy killed there, I have got the newspaper clippings, who was a married man, who had just had a heart attack. But the person who sticks out in my mind most was another person beaten up, Michael Penny, and he was the one who spoke, and so forth. Do you remember about that being in the news when that guy was beaten up and so forth? Did that make big ripples in the community in 81, 82? That was right when you came back.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
That was right when I—no I don't remember, and also I don't read the local newspapers, I read the New York Times. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Every person that I talk to at UNC says that.

Page 33
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I feel sort of bad about it, because I—local news is important, but I find national news much more interesting. [Laughter] Now, I remember that, but I don't remember much about it, and I don't remember if there was much reaction to it.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, so everybody that I ask, or everybody that I speak too, I ask what their perception was in terms of the Town's perception of gay men whether that was in the 50s, 60s or 70s. You have a pretty good perception of the 80s. When you came here, did people really, I mean, were gay people really recognized as being in the presence of everybody else in Chapel Hill? Was there—the average person on the street would they know that there were gays in Chapel Hill?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I think so. I should preface this by saying that I have a tendency to be kind of naïve and also to be kind of a Pollyanna. I have never sensed any hostility at all in Chapel Hill and—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But people recognized that—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, it was amazing, my oldest friend lives in West Hollywood, and when I moved back to Chapel Hill in the early 80s. He came to visit one weekend and we were walking down Franklin Street and he said, "This is like being in West Hollywood!" And I sad, "What do you mean?" And he said, "Well, there are all of these gay people everywhere and," and he said, "They don't seem to be making any—" I mean, he didn't see any people madly making out on the streets, but I saw men holding hands, women holding hands, men and women kissing each other, they were sort of friendly affectionate kisses, I mean, it wasn't heavy petting. I can remember in 1985, I guess, I had a

Page 34
boyfriend and there was some sort of gay function at Pywacket. Restaurants in town would—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was it a 'Gayla' hosted by the Independent?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No, it was before those, but I think that every spring a restaurant in Chapel Hill would have a fundraiser to raise money for charity and one of the charities, I think was the gay and lesbian health project and so we went to this, and you basically paid fifty dollars for lunch and then they donated the proceeds, and I remember—it was fun to me, because it was wonderful to be in a restaurant, you know in a public space and be able to kiss your boyfriend and have everybody be very supportive. And many of the patrons there were gay people, but not everybody, but this went to breast cancer, and all sorts of gay charities, but everybody there was obviously very supportive and I remember, with my boyfriend, kissing him right in the Pywacket at lunch. [Laughter] Nobody better than I, and I think that Chapel Hill is a place where people do notice, but they think that they shouldn't notice so they try not to notice. It is not like West Hollywood where people really don't notice, but I noticed on the bus, this was about three years ago, I got on the N Bus, and there was a lesbian couple that lived in Estes Park, who sat in the back of the bus at 8:30 in the morning and just really made out. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
At 8:30am!
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I mean, they were really going at it, I thought that they were going to be having full sex. [Laughter] And I was not really interested in that, but I was real

Page 35
interested in the reaction of other people in the bus and with one exception, a woman who was sort of gawking, everyone was trying desperately not to look. Because I am sure that they felt that they shouldn't notice, as Joe Herzenberg used to say to people, "We don't do that in Chapel Hill." [Laughter]
So I never sensed—and also when I came here, Joe Herzenberg was active in politics—I don't know when I came here, but eventually he was active in politics.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, I think he was elected in 85 openly gay.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Oh, well he was a presence, and I never have sensed any hostile feeling, but that may be my naiveté.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Have you ever, well, this kind of goes into that, but have you ever heard any kind of concerted police efforts in the triangle to prevent cruising or any kind of threats that were made to faculty members, or anything like that in Chapel Hill?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No, nothing like that. I don't generally go to T-rooms.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It is not that I disapprove; it is just that I work for the University and I shouldn't do that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is for the married faculty members to do—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
That's right. [Laughter] And, my attitude is that the University has been very good to me, and it just doesn't seem appropriate. I have heard that periodically, I have never heard of anybody being arrested, I have heard that periodically the bathrooms are closed up, or you know, I don't know what they do, doors are taken off stalls, but I do not know of that first hand. But, if that happened, and I can't verify that it did, it has been very sporadic, and I think that also, it hasn't been an attempt to persecute

Page 36
gay people as much as it has been an attempt to protect straight people. Because, I must say, I hear people complain all of the time about being in a bathroom and some guy is slipping you notes. These are straight people, they don't want to be bothered with that. And I have heard people in the gym complain about—because I think that a lot of people who cruise these public spaces, they are not very discriminating.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
They are not very discrete.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
If you are in a gym cruising somebody who is purely gay, that's fine! But to be pursuing a straight man who is clearly not interested, I know this guy who was punched out, the guy broke his jaw.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, yeah, Fulton.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And Fulton is shameless, have seen him, you know, standing next to a straight professor of English, you know, gawking, playing with himself, it is just ridiculous, it is offensive and I don't think that people should do that, and I think if there has been any kind of police effort, it has been because of complaints by straight people who were harassed, who felt that they were being harassed. And I think that most people who cruise places, they don't do that, they don't harass, but some people like Fulton.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
They get a little out there. Everybody knows him.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It is ridiculous, and it is a sensitive thing.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, generally, I remember in us just having this conversation several years ago, that your father was worried about potential discrimination in jobs and so forth and your response was maybe, "To the contrary, I think that it may only be an asset."
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Well, I told him that. I remember when I taught at Indiana, I, this was the year before I came here, but I thought that I was going to stay in Indiana for a long time,

Page 37
but that time I was much more openly gay than I had ever been. I remember going to my chairman. It was a joke actually, I told her, I said, "You know, I think that the gay people in the department are going to form a caucus." She looked at me, and said, "Why are you going to form a caucus?" and I said, "To protect ourselves." And she looked at me again and she said, "In case you haven't noticed, you have us outnumbered." And I started counting, and we did! She said, "In fact, I think that we should start a straight caucus." So, It certainly, clearly was not a problem.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Academia often has a lot of gays.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
None [no problems with gays] whatsoever. I also told my father, as an untenured assistant professor at Indiana University, I was the chairman of the curriculum committee, which is one of the most powerful committees on campus, and it was only because an assistant dean in the college of arts and sciences had met me socially and I think had a crush on me, and so I was in this very becoming. I basically decided what courses were going to be taught and which weren't. I should say that I obviously didn't solely decided, but I was the chairman of the committee who did.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You had a lot of influence.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
You know, I told my father, "It has never been an impediment at all. In fact, I think it has probably been an asset, but it certainly has not been an impediment."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, did you ever see any allies of gay people among the town's elite, whether it was—I don't know if you ever got involved in local politics, but you spoke about people who may be deans or chairs of departments, who were married, or closeted gays or closeted bisexuals, who were gay friendly.

Page 38
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I will give you a very good example. Barry McKittel, who is the faculty advisor to [Carolina Gay Association]. He is a straight guy, and he was the advisor—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Is he around still?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, he is not teaching at the University anymore, but he was for years the faculty advisor to the gay group. He is a straight man, very supportive.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
He was in the law school, what does he do now?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I don't know, I think he just practices law. I shouldn't say just practices law, he practices law.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So there were plenty of folks?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, there were people and [pause] there were all sorts of people that I met that it just didn't make the difference, I mean, it just wasn't an issue, they weren't necessarily people who were going out and marching in the gay pride parade, but it didn't make any difference to them. Particularly older people in Chapel Hill, I mean they were supportive in that they were not hostile.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It is always shocking to me when you run into older people, and in most of the south they are very, they can be very militant, but, in Chapel Hill, sometimes they can be very, very supportive, in quiet ways, but it is shocking.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I think that there are a lot of people around here like that. This man, who's name I gave you; I have met so many straight people at his house. You know, former deans, former provosts, all sorts of people. It is perfectly obvious that they are at a cocktail party given by two gay guys, and it just doesn't seem to make any difference to them, and I am sure that in a very quiet way, these people have always been supportive. So, yeah, I think there are a lot of people.

Page 39
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, have you ever always noticed, or have you noticed here, that there is a fairly large component of gay men, if you would call it large, of gay male society that is married, whether you're anywhere in Chapel Hill or anywhere else?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I have noticed it more here than elsewhere. I have never thought about it, actually. But, I have certainly noticed it more here. Maybe it is just because I have lived here so long.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And you know everybody's little secrets.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
But there are a lot of married men [who are gay or bisexual]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So these people who are married, do they, do you think that they are closeted to their spouses, or do you know any of them? Were some of them open?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
The very few that I know were closeted to their spouses, at least as far as I know. I don't know any of them well, but I do know some of them, and their spouses, and I think their spouses would probably be apoplectic if they knew what their husbands did on campus. It's—I don't—like I said, I don't know any of these people intimately, but I don't get the impression that these spouses are aware.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It isn't like an open relationship or anything.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I may be wrong, but I don't think that the spouses knew.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well, about, another thing that I wanted to talk about. You came here in 1980, that was right when people were figuring out what HIV and AIDS was, I guess it was GRID before that. How do you think that effected the gay community here in Chapel Hill when they—you didn't really see the before—well I guess that you did see the before—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, oh yeah.

Page 40
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And if it changed.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I think that initially it was a joke. I mean, people, of course people didn't know what it was, and there were very few people who were diagnosed, and I think about being at a dinner party in 1981 or 82, in the early 80s in any case and this topic came up, and somebody was saying, "Well, I read an article in the paper that these people who have this disease were having up to fifty sexual partners a day."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
My god!
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And I remember somebody laughing, and saying, "Oh! I am lucky that I only had forty-eight yesterday!" You know and it was that sort of thing.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is crazy. [Laughter]
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
But people didn't—it was something that happened to a couple of people in San Francisco and New York, and I at the time, I was dating a guy who was a graduate student at Chemistry at Duke and he was a member of Triangle Area Gay Scientists [TAGS] and he was very interested in this from sort of a professional point of view. And I remember the first time that I ever really heard much about it was when a doctor at UNC who had been Hoagie Gaskin's doctor, or who was to be Hoagie Gaskin's doctor—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Later on.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I don't know the sequence gave a presentation, I must say I was bored stiff, these were slides of brain cells and things, and I didn't understand what was going on. This other guy who was a hairdresser and I went out in the kitchen and drank, drank beer and chatted. But that was the first time that I had heard about this as a sort of kind of serious issue. And then, I think Hoagie got sick then—

Page 41
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, Hoagie actually died, I misspoke earlier that it was Ned Price who died.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Oh it was horrible, it was just dreadful.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, Hoagie Gaskins was the first person, gay person, or person period to die of AIDS.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, then I think I remember, it was—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How did the town react to that, how did the gay populace deal with that? Did people get a lot more scared? Did you notice?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No I don't, because I think initially the reaction was, and it wasn't condemnatory, but I think the thing was, "Oh, I think he was in and out of the T-rooms all of the time." There was this feeling that the more sex you had, the more likely you were to get this disease, and you had to have huge numbers of sexual partners.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, so you had to have lots and lots.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
So, I don't think that it was judgmental, but I think that the feeling was that he was special, I mean, he was so notorious. He was in and out of T-rooms and going up to the truck stop, the rest stop on highway 85. You know, I think that people sort of thought, "You know, maybe he did have fifty sexual partners a day." So, I think that people looked on him as being exceptional, and consequently not a category that they were in and so I don't think that it had much effect. In fact, when I used to go to Forty-Second Street, and I used to go there three times a week in the early 80s, I mean at 2:00, it was like Noah's Ark, I mean they went out two by two, I mean everybody paired up. It was really, it was very exciting actually—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I am sure.

Page 42
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
You know, but around 1:30 the sexual tension was just—it was like a percolator in there. I mean, people were desperately looking around for sex. And I think lots of people were having lots of sex and I think about, I guess about 1985 I noticed a difference. The atmosphere was not as sexual, you didn't get this feeling that people felt that they had to have a sexual partner to go home with, I saw many fewer people leaving with people that they were going to have sex with. At the bookstores—now I used to go to the bookstore in Durham, the—there were just not many people there anymore. It was different, and the people who were there were not really very attractive. And, I mean, in the early 80s—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This was the one with the arcade?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
There were a lot of them around here, there was Lakewood, there was that place in Raleigh, there was the one on 70
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Aphrodite's
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And I used to go to a lot of them, I thought it was fun, I enjoyed it. And you know, that didn't bother me, because it wasn't university connected. But, all of a sudden, I guess somewhere between 1985 and 1990, it just changed. There were not many people there; the people there weren't very attractive. It did not seem to be very much sexual activity going on. There was lots of walking around. [Laughter] But, in the early 80s, if you went to a place like the Lakewood bookstore, you had the impression that there were at least 20 couples having sex in the booths around you.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
My goodness.

Page 43
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
It was, I knew people who would have four or five sexual experiences, and I did too sometimes. It was really fun and exciting. But that really changed a lot. Yeah, I noticed a big change.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Interesting, interesting.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And people dated more [once the AIDS crisis began]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, do you think that it encouraged monogamy to some degree more, that gays became a lot more mainstream?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think that it encouraged monogamy; I think that it encouraged dating and getting to know people before you had sex with them.
I mean, in the early 80s, I used to go to New York a lot in the late 70s and go to gay places, I mean it was really crazy back then, the atmosphere. People—you know they had these back rooms where you could go back and have sex, and I did too. And they had these little cages you could go get into and have sex so everybody on the dace floors could watch you, and people having lots of sexual partners and no kind of interaction. I remember, actually it was at 42nd Street in I guess 81 or 82, I was on the dance floor and I saw this nice looking guy and he was looking at me, and I thought, "Gosh, maybe he is interested." And so I told the person that I was dancing with, "I am going to go and say hello to this fellow." And I went over and I smiled and I said, "Would you like to dance?" And he looked at me and said, "No, but why don't we go to your place and fuck."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Well I can handle that [Laughter]
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
So, I said, "Okay" and we went back to my place, he did not say a thing, he ripped my shirt off, my favorite Polo shirt [Laughter] But that was the way it was, that

Page 44
was, for me at least, that is a fairly extreme example, I don't remember his name, I don't think we said a word to each other, it was just—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Pure animalistic sex.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And it was fun, it was exciting. But I don't think that that went on much in the late 80s, so many people met, they went out to dinner, they got to know each other, they had sex.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How about the—gosh what is it called—the gay conferences, the Southeastern Gay Conferences. Did you participate in those?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yes, I did. There was one here.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yes, they initially started here. Dan Leonard and other people put them together. I remember Dan doing it because—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
In fact, I had three or four guys from Atlanta staying with me. In one, because we basically put up people, really nice guys, and in fact, you asked me about the atmosphere, I don't remember when that I was, I guess it must have been back in 85—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Yeah, it was the mid 80s
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I remember that there were these three gay guys from Atlanta staying with me, and the first night, there was a married couple who lived next to me. They were good friends of mine, and the three of us went out to Dips to dinner, and I asked these guys to go out with us, and this married couple, I mean there was no question of us being gay, I mean it was just natural as anything and we went out to DIPS, and it was pretty clear, there were four guys and one woman, and nobody looked and you know, some of us were fairly flamboyant and you know nobody looked. I remember these guys said afterwards, "This is amazing, it seems, it just seems so natural to be around here. It

Page 45
doesn't seem to bother people, people don't seem to notice. This is like being in the gay ghetto in Atlanta" I don't know if it was or not, but they were surprised.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
There is not a lot of animosity around. So what were the conferences like, what did they have in them? Were they sort of like little meetings—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
There were workshops about coming out, and there were workshops about coming out, and workshops about dealing with state legislatures.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, activism, socializing.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, yeah, I think that there was a dance one night. And there were workshops on campus. I don't remember, I remember going to a dinner. I think that there was a dance, there was kind of a picnic on the lawn in front of South Building, and I went to a couple of workshops. But, by 1985 I had gone to so many workshops— [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You had been 'gayed' to death. Well, I mean, those are basically my questions that I have. Is there anything that you think that I left out, or anything that you think. Is there anything that has really changed in Chapel Hill at all from when you first arrived in graduate school and the way it is today?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Well, actually, I don't think that it has changed very much.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
It is basically the same.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And maybe I am just naïve, but yeah, I think that is basically the same. I have always felt being an openly gay person in Chapel Hill, and I still do. And I have always felt very comfortable being an openly gay person at the University, at least since I came back in 1980 and I still do. I must say, I have. It may be tokenism to a certain extent, but I have always found the administration very supportive, and I have—and I

Page 46
think that people genuinely—and these are straight people, they are not gay people. I think that they have really bent over backwards to try to, you know, have a larger presence in the curriculum, to take into account the concerns of gay people on campus. A lot of people, mainly students more than faculty complain a lot that the University drags it's feet and it really hasn't done anything, and these are just symbolic gestures, but they don't seem to realize that this is a conservative state and much of what they want the University to do has to be approved by the state legislature and they are not going to approve it, and I think that it is a bunch of wasted energy to spend it on [pause as Cecil reads what I am writing on my notes] I saw you write that down. Glen Grossman is a good example. He is a nice guy, I like him, he rants and raves about domestic partner benefits and health benefits. The university is just not going to do that, and I am not going to waste my time trying to get them, beating my head up against a stone door. I think that the University has all of the good will in the world. I have been on the University benefits committee and they have even proposed dental benefits for example, because that is not part of the state plan, and as far as I know, gay people can get dental benefits for their spouses. They have opened up the gym, the library—I think the library is open to everybody—the gym all of these other facilities [to same sex partners] everything that they can do without getting state approval as far as I can tell, the University is doing.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Because the University does have that over their head at all times.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Absolutely, and the University just cannot do it. The University just cannot, on it's own initiative, add health benefits to partners of gay people. It just doesn't have the right to do that. It is tied in with the whole state health plan and it has to be approved

Page 47
by the state legislature and they are not going to do it. So, I, just to me that is a non-issue that is a waste of time.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What do you think, we obviously have discussed that, you are obviously a native southeasterner and a native North Carolinian, and so you definitely have that perspective as I do. Do you think that there is a big difference between Northeastern gays and Southeastern gays in what they expect and what they see as plausible?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Sure, yeah, absolutely. Because, I think that there is more that is plausible. I mean, a lot of this has to do with religion, I think. The role of religion in the south, which I don't completely understand, but I think that a lot of it goes back. I mean, I don't know if people use religious arguments to justify their basic prejudices or whether religious considerations have created those basic prejudices. I sometimes suspect that it is the former rather than the latter.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Sounds like John Boswell's book.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
But that has a lot to do with it. Religion, that is the thing that I got the most tired of when I was faculty advisor to the gay group, is this constant religious argument. To me, it is a non-issue, because this is a state university, it is not an issue. But, you hear it over and over and over again. And I get so tired of students saying that Homosexuality is immoral and it is against my religion and this and that. But, yeah, I think that there is a difference, because there is not that strong of a religious tradition in the North.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
How do you treat religion yourself? Do you consider yourself an atheist or an agnostic, Episcopalian or a Buddhist?

Page 48
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Culturally, I am an Episcopalian, but I am really an atheist.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That always shocks people when I tell them that too, and they always are taken aback when I say that. It is like I just killed their mother.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I think that religion as a cultural institution has done a lot of good in Western Society, but I think that it has done a lot of bad too. I mean, I am not hostile to the religion, I am just not interested in it.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You were instrumental in doing some work in terms of getting—"Sex and Gender in Antiquity" was the class that you did. Tell me a little bit about—there was some money that was donated? And you were on a board?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
That is a good example of the University being supportive. About 1990, the provost called me and said, "A doctor in San Francisco has died and left the University $200,000.00."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was he a former—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
He had gone to the med school here.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, okay.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
He had left 200,000 to encourage gay lesbian studies on campus. With the stipulation that we have to work out a program for spending the money, and that it is acceptable to the executor of the will, who was a psychologist in San Francisco. And the Provost said to me, "You know, $200,000 is nothing. I mean it is peanuts." [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is so funny.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
"—But, we want to pursue this, because we think that it is a good cause. Would you be willing to put together a committee and draw up a plan for spending the

Page 49
money?" And I said, "Yeah, absolutely." So he gave me a copy of the will, which I read carefully, and then I had a long, long conversation with the executor of the will, who was a very, very nice man. And I drew up a plan for spending this. Basically, the man wanted it spent in such a way that it would have an ongoing impact on the University, so to me, the core of the University is the curriculum and if you want to have an ongoing impact, you have courses that are taught over and over again, and so I decided that the bulk of the money would be spent in course development grants and this went back to partially the early 80s or mid 80s, one of the co-chairs of CGLA came to me and said, "People in the group were really upset because there were no courses taught that deal with gay issues, or even mention gay people." One guy said, "I took a course on Walt Whitman and it was never even mentioned that he was gay." And they said, "We would like to take the initiative to try to encourage people to address issues that are of concern to gay people." I said, "All right, I will draft a letter and send it to all of the department chairs asking them to encourage people in their departments to do this." And I got a lot of good will. A lot of people called me and said, "This is an important issue, we agree with you, we encourage people to do it." But money speaks.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Faculty members are busy they don't have time to develop new courses. So, I thought, "This is a great opportunity, because if you pay somebody $4,000.00, that is an encouragement." It also means, that they don't have to teach any summer school if they normally do.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right, because of that additional income.

Page 50
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
So, we drew up this plan, I put together a committee and there again, tremendous good will. Everybody that I called said, "Absolutely, I will do it." Barbara Harris who is chairman of Women's Studies, I called here and she said, "Absolutely, I will do it, it is a very good issue, I feel very strongly about this." She said, "Gay people are the last group that people can still make jokes about and I think that it is horrible." So, I put together a committee and we've spent—this money was invested in the stock market, so it has made a lot more than $200,000.00. We spent almost—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Who invested it for you?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
The developmental office.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, okay.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
We have spent almost 200,000 dollars now, namely on course development grants. But we also funded little simple symposia and guest lecturers and all sorts of other things. When I agreed to do this, the provost said, "Well, I am going to put you in contact with someone in the development office." It was this straight guy, married, with five children. He couldn't have been nicer and more supportive. I mean, this is nothing to them. They deal with millions and millions of dollars. He couldn't have been more helpful. And, just, I mean, I had a wonderful experience. Everybody that I dealt with at the University has been great. and I would say now there—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So, what are some of the classes? I know of 'Sex and Gender in Antiquity', do you remember some of the other classes?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, there are two or three courses in the English Department on basically gay literature.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Which has become a lot more of a gay department now.

Page 51
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Right. There is a course in the political science department on the politics of sexuality, which is really about gay sexuality. There are two courses in the Spanish Department taught in gay literature from South America and Spain. There is a course in the French Department called, "Gay People in the Ensier Regime." Which is about gay people up until the revolution.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, okay.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
There are two or three courses in the Art Department about, you know artistic representations of gay people. There are about five courses in communications on, you know, representations of gay people in the movies and all sorts of things. There is, oh wait a second, there is one in Women's Studies on Lesbians, and they are the only ones that I can think of.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you think that this will be able to go on, you spent $200,000.00 but it has made more than that. Do you think it can go on? Or is it about out?
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No, it is about out. And the stock market is not doing good anymore, so we—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
So the boom unfortunately is over. But maybe these classes can continue to go—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
And I think some of them certainly will and some of them won't. But, I think.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
And you were actually one of the recipients of—
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
No, no I wasn't, I devised that before this committee started working. The—I was teaching the course actually when the provost called me, and I think that is one of the reasons that he called me.

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CHRIS McGINNIS:
Because you had already started it.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Yeah, and I think that it has had two good effects. First of all there are a fair number of courses that regularly being taught that are address gay and lesbian issues. And secondly, you know, I send out a notice every semester saying, there is this money, apply for grants. It sends the message that this is something the University approves of.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
So, it gives it the cache of University approval. And, I have been very pleased, I think that we have spent the money very well. Mainly because of the committee, but I think that it has been spent very judiciously.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Great, well thanks so much.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
Okay.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I appreciate it.
CECIL W. WOOTEN:
I am going to go and pick up my dogs.
END OF INTERVIEW