Leather lifestyle



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Oral history interview with Susie Shepherd

This oral history interview with Susie Shepherd was conducted by Erin Sexton and Jamie Walton on November 4, 2000. Sexton and Walton conducted the interview for the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest as part of Professor Ann Mussey's senior capstone class on LGBTQ history at Portland State University. Several of Shepherd's pets were also present and occasionally interrupted the interview.

In this interview, Shepherd discusses her identity as a gay woman. She talks about working with Jerry Weller on the Portland Town Council; about her experiences at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and at Portland State University; and about her life as a lesbian in the 1970s. She speaks at length about coming out to her parents. She then speaks about her activism for gay rights with the Portland Town Council during the 1970s, and talks about some of the people she worked with, politicians they lobbied, and some of the opposition they faced. She also describes coming out on the television show "Town Hall." She discusses her abuse of alcohol in the late 1970s, describes how it affected her life and relationships, and talks about her recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous. She talks about her involvement in the Leather community, including winning the title of International Ms. Leather in 1989, and winning the title of International Master and Slaver with her partner, K.T. Chase, in 1992. She also describes how she parlayed those titles to further her activism for gay rights. She closes the interview by discussing her management of the Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship.

Shepherd, Susie (Susan Mary), 1949-