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Oral history interview with Roy L. Watters III, by Jacqueline Marcotte
- 2007-05-22 (Creation)
online resource (1 audio file (1 hr., 48 min., 54 sec.) + Transcript (1 PDF file)
Name of creator
Roy Watters was born in Seattle, Washington in 1964 and spent his earlier years in Vancouver. Roy spent the early part of his coming out experience in Vancouver, Washington at a time when it was more isolated, before the Interstate 205 bridge was in existence. His early outlet for expressing his gay identity was in the Portland bar scene in the 1970s. He later attended Evergreen University, and moved to San Francisco. It was during this time that the epidemic of AIDS took some of its worst toll, when education was just coming out but the drugs had not caught up to technology. He devoted a significant amount of time to assisting sick and dying friends with their daily needs. At that time, he said gays were, “literally dying in the streets.”
After returning to Portland, Roy continued his work for a non-profit entity, enjoying professional success at the price of having to hide his identity. There were no hard and fast rules that prohibited him from revealing his gay lifestyle, yet he felt it necessary to separate his work and private life. Upon leaving his job, Roy swore to never work in any condition that required him to separate his work and real life.
Roy took up studies at Portland State University (PSU), in Anthropology soon after leaving his work in non-profit. Roy is currently a Masters candidate at PSU, and interns for Intel in Oregon. He now lives with his partner, Tim, and his dog Steve in a house they own in north Portland. When asked about his feelings on the current civil union legislation, he replied that he was excited. He and Tim have registered as domestic partners, and can cover each other on company insurance policies. Roy’s private life is now fully integrated into his academic and professional career, and he enjoys living in Portland where he feels free and safe to live in the manner he chooses. Although having traveled the world, and enjoyed the hospitality of many places, Roy says there is no place that he’d rather live, than in the northwest.
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Content and structure elements
Scope and content
Watters discusses his early life in Vancouver, Washington, life as a young gay man in Portland, Oregon in the 1970s, his experiences during the AIDS epidemic while in San Francisco, California, and feeling the need to hide his sexual orientation to protect his career.
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Creative Commons - Attribution, Non-Commercial, ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
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Immediate source of acquisition
Lib. Acc. 26281
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Existence and location of originals
Oral history interview with Roy L. Watters III, by Jacqueline Marcotte, 2007 May 22, SR 11122, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.