LGBT Oral History 020A: Nancy Datres

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June 19, 2013

Nancy Datres was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1948 and moved to Harrisburg to pursue computer science after becoming blacklisted by the Altoona Police Department when she was just 27 years old. Thereafter, Nancy moved through several careers, holding positions such as college professor, journalist, legal writer, and lawyer. In her interview, Nancy discusses the incredible impact of her sexuality on the course of her academic and professional life, which required her to change schools and even careers whenever an environment became too unsafe for her to stay. She illustrates several examples of harassment and discrimination in her life, as well as the inefficiency of local law enforcement, educational institutions, and court systems to help alleviate these injustices. Additionally, Nancy remarks on lesbian bar culture, her difficult financial situation, and her 20-year relationship and engagement with another woman. Although she began identifying as a lesbian as a teenager, Nancy explains her difficulty to fully “come out,” insisting that she does not feel completely “out” in all aspects of her life. She believes that her hardships have impacted her ability to consistently feel comfortable sharing her sexuality with others, but expresses great hope for feeling that freedom someday.

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Gift of Nancy Datres
LGBT Oral History - Datres, Nancy - 020A
Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections