LGBT Oral History: Ann Van Dyke

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Number of Pages: 
12
Date: 
July 29, 2014

Ann Van Dyke was born in a farming community in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, where she was raised in a devout Methodist home. After moving to Mechanicsburg to work at the Methodist Home for Children at age 19, Ann was exposed to the more diverse Harrisburg community that challenged the ideals of her upbringing. She went on to study at the Middletown campus of Pennsylvania State University and then moved to Harrisburg to work for the State Human Relations Commission. In this work, Ann offered trainings about hate crimes and organized hate groups, collaborating with several major organizations such as the Community Responders Network and Equality PA as well as with the U.S. Department of Justice until her retirement in 2012. In this interview, Ann discusses her experience identifying and challenging her homophobic beliefs that were engrained during her childhood. Ann describes how she began to identity as a straight ally when several of her close friends, family members, and, eventually, foster son came out as gay. She also describes the legislative difficulties the Commission faced in preventing LGBT hate crimes, especially when sexual orientation and gender identity were added to the state’s list of protected classes, but then were later repealed.

People: 
Location: 
LGBT Oral History - Van Dyke, Ann - 118
Origin: 
Gift of Ann Van Dyke