Title: Oral History Interview with Bill Hull, June 21, 2001. Interview K-0844.
Interviewer: McGinnis, Chris
Interviewee: Hull, Bill
Abstract: Because he and all of his siblings were gay men, Bill Hull felt his sexuality was not unusual. Nonetheless, discretion was vital to southern gay men, say Hull. Public acknowledgement of homosexuality could result in economic recrimination or physical violence. He describes his coming-out experience as a teenager and the impact the liberating Chapel Hill atmosphere had on gay males. His experiences at the University of North Carolina and his participation in the local civil rights movement further awakened his sexual and social consciousness. Hull explains how the civil rights movement served as the basis for the later gay rights movement. He points to dominant gay personalities in Chapel Hill and the pivotal role early gay bars had on his sexual identity. The interview illuminates the public safe sexual havens on the UNC's campus. He describes the fear of HIV and AIDS within the gay community in the early 1980s. Hull argues that the subsequent conservative backlash against gay culture negatively impacted the openness of the Chapel Hill gay community.