LGBT Oral History 116: Joy (Ufema) Counsel

Number of Pages: 
April 29, 2015

Joy (Ufema) Counsel was raised in Altoona, Pennsylvania. After completing high school, Joy began studies to become a nurse at the Altoona Hospital, and later completed a nursing program at Harrisburg Area Community College. Joy worked in numerous hospitals and medical facilities in New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Throughout her career as a nurse, Joy developed an affinity for caring for patients who were terminally ill. Her work in the area of death and dying received considerable media attention.

As a result, she was interviewed on 60 Minutes, a TV movie titled A Matter of Life and Death (1981) was made about her work, she authored numerous publications, and she participated in many speaking engagements across the country. In her interview, Joy discusses her work and experiences during the height of her recognition. She goes on to discuss the AIDS hospice she operated in York, Pennsylvania — elaborating on some of her most memorable patients and her experiences running a non-profit. Joy talks about her family’s reaction to her homosexuality, and her experiences as a lesbian in Central Pennsylvania. In the interview Joy goes on to discuss both challenges and the progress she sees as being significant to the LGBT community. Finally, Joy discusses the role of spirituality in her life.

Time Period: 
Gift of Joy (Ufema) Counsel
LGBT Oral History - Counsel, Joy (Ufema) - 116
Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections