LGBT Oral History 035: John Folby

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March 26, 2014

John Folby was born in Pittsburgh in 1947. He was the oldest of five children in an Irish-Italian Catholic family. He relocated to Harrisburg in 1975 with his partner. John continues to live with his partner in Harrisburg in a relationship lasting more than 44 years. John is well-known for his activism in the LGBT community of Central Pennsylvania. In his younger days, John was involved in a Catholic group for lesbians and gays known as Dignity, and assisted in the Gay Switchboard Hotline. He began a 25-year career in a state government civil service position running a medical drug program for persons with HIV/AIDS. He continues his service to the LGBT community through consulting for the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health which offers the Pennsylvania Mid-Atlantic AIDS Education Training Center. John’s work with HIV/AIDS has been recognized with numerous awards, and the John Folby Award for Excellence is named in his honor. He additionally volunteers for the LGBT Center of Central PA’s History project. In this interview, John not only discusses his extensive activism efforts, but also his family’s reluctance to address and accept his homosexuality, his relationship with his partner, and changes within the LGBT community within his lifetime. He also discusses his and his partner’s decision to have John adopt his partner in order to financially protect themselves and their assets when gay marriage was illegal in Pennsylvanian.

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Gift of John Folby
LGBT Oral History - Folby, John - 035
Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections