LGBT Oral History 085: Cathy Nelson

Number of Pages: 
November 11, 2015

Cathy Nelson was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Staten Island, New York, at the age of two with her strict Italian-Swedish family. As a child, Cathy loved music and did well in school. She also participated in Catholic youth group retreats, where she first encountered anti-gay sentiment. Although she knew she was attracted to girls from an early age, Cathy did not act on these feelings until age 22, when she entered her first long-term relationship. Cathy worked as a teacher in Carlisle, PA, but stopped teaching after suffering a head injury that affected her speech. Currently, she does secretarial work for a friend and ally at Goldcrafter’s Corner. Cathy was involved with the Pride planning committee and sang with the Central Pennsylvania Women’s Chorus. In this interview, Cathy discusses the process of coming out to herself, her family, and her friends. She also describes the Harrisburg-area lesbian community in the early 1990s and the problems and successes of the Women’s Chorus throughout her years of involvement. Cathy also discusses the general acceptance of lesbians in mainstream culture, but condemns the exclusion of transgender issues from the LGBT community and the transphobia that she sees as a major issue of the day.

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Gift of Cathy Nelson
LGBT Oral History - Nelson, Cathy - 085
Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections