LGBT Oral History 052: Jon Johnson and Charles Maser

Number of Pages: 
May 8, 2014

Jon Johnson was born in Southern Lancaster county, Pennsylvania and lived on his family’s farm in his early life. Charles (Charlie) Maser was born in Brownstown in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. Jon spent most of his life in Pennsylvania. He went to the York Academy of Arts in York, Pennsylvania and then worked in the Bon Ton department store doing store displays and visual merchandising. Charlie attended dental school in Washington D.C. and then enlisted in the Air Force. He was stationed in Charleston, North Carolina and then later on in Germany, and finally in Madrid. Jon and Charlie met in July of 1975 at a bar called the Fiddler when they were introduced through a mutual friend. In this interview they discuss what it was like to come out in rural Pennsylvania in the 70’s and the challenges of living in an area that was very religious. Charlie also discusses his experience being gay in the military and how surprisingly he did not face much prejudice as a result of his sexuality, especially while in Europe. The couple also reflects on the difficulty of losing friends to AIDS in the 80’s and the type of activism they became involved with during that crisis. In conclusion, Jon and Charlie express that they felt lucky that they had not faced a lot of prejudice in their lives, because of their relationship, and discuss how they feel that there are not a lot of differences between their relationship and a relationship between a straight couple.

Time Period: 
Gift of Jon Johnson and Charles Maser
LGBT Oral History - Johnson, Jon and Charles Maser - 052
Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections