LGBT Oral History 019: Barbara Darkes

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March 26, 2015

Growing up in the conservative Lebanon County of central PA, Barbara Darkes attended grade school through the beginning of her pre-law college career without experiencing any attraction to women. It was at her summer job at the local YMCA during college that Barbara met and eventually fell in love with her long-term partner, Kathy. This same-sex relationship was the first for both of them, for neither woman had previously identified as a lesbian. Due to the conservative environment of central PA, the two women kept their relationship secret for years, which proved emotionally exhausting for both of them. Fortunately for Barbara, her work environment at McNees Wallace & Nurick, LLC, proved to be accepting and embracing of her intimacy with Kathy, and it became the site of the beginning of their coming out experiences in 2012. Although Barbara and Kathy encountered some painful disapproval during their coming out process, they also found spaces of acceptance that embraced them. The two married privately in Maryland in 2013, and they continue to have a healthy and loving relationship with each other and with Kathy’s kids. Barbara uses her position as a community organizer and as president of the LGBT Center to work towards generating a more accepting environment for LGBT people in the larger central Pennsylvania community.

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Gift of Barbara Darkes
LGBT Oral History - Darkes, Barbara - 019
Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections