Oral History with John Gray Williams, October 28, 2014 (Ms2015-007)

Dublin Core


John Gray Williams is a Career Advisor in Career Services at Virginia Tech. From 2005 to 2008 he also attended Virginia Tech as an undergraduate student in the Bachelor of Arts in Public and Urban Affairs program. He has been active in LGBTQ activism since he first came to Virginia Tech, working on events such as the Freedom to Marry Day, Gay? Fine by Me Rally, and the LGBTA Relay for Life. As a member of the faculty, he has organized a yearly LGBTQ networking reception and has served as a trainer for the SafeZone program. In his role in Career Services, he is a passionate social justice advocate and works to help members of marginalized populations identify discrimination concerns in the job market.

The interview was conducted on October 28, 2014 at John Gray Williams’s home in Blacksburg, VA. The interviewer was Whitney Wright and she was assisted by Damon Kinmond. There was limited time for the interview and there are moments within the interview where discussion of the time and Williams’s evening plans can be heard. The interview lasts almost two hours. It begins with a description of Williams’s family and their social dynamics and proceeds into his early experience and understanding of his sexuality and his motivations for choosing to be closeted. The interview then moves into his time at Tidewater Community College where he was first able to research homosexuality and the history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement. He then discusses his decision to transfer to Virginia Tech to pursue a career in Landscape Architecture and his decision to come out to his family. A significant portion of the interview is concerned with his involvement with the LGBTA at Virginia Tech and the variety of protests and events he participated in while completing his undergraduate degree. Then, he discusses his decision to attend the University of Delaware to pursue student affairs while remaining close enough to Blacksburg to maintain a relationship with a student at Virginia Tech. He then describes his return to Virginia Tech as a faculty member and the work he has done to support the LGBTQ community and other marginalized populations since returning. Finally, he discusses broader issues affecting the LGBTQ community beyond the fight for marriage equality.


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John Gray Williams