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Oral History Interview with Bill Hull, June 21, 2001. Interview K-0844. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Because he and all of his siblings were gay men, Bill Hull felt his sexuality was not unusual. Nonetheless, discretion was vital to southern gay men, say Hull. Public acknowledgement of homosexuality could result in economic recrimination or physical violence. He describes his coming-out experience as a teenager and the impact the liberating Chapel Hill atmosphere had on gay males. His experiences at the University of North Carolina and his participation in the local civil rights movement further awakened his sexual and social consciousness. Hull explains how the civil rights movement served as the basis for the later gay rights movement. He points to dominant gay personalities in Chapel Hill and the pivotal role early gay bars had on his sexual identity. The interview illuminates the public safe sexual havens on the UNC's campus. He describes the fear of HIV and AIDS within the gay community in the early 1980s. Hull argues that the subsequent conservative backlash against gay culture negatively impacted the openness of the Chapel Hill gay community.
    Excerpts
  • The civil rights movement fed the gay rights movement
  • The gay movement as secretive and private, especially in the South
  • Hull's growing awareness of his sexual identity
  • Southern society's view of homosexuality in the 1950s and 1960s
  • Chapel Hill's liberal reputation
  • Importance of a gay bar in Chapel Hill
  • McCarthyism's impact on gay culture in Chapel Hill
  • Safe spots for gay men in Chapel Hill and at UNC
  • Effect of the influx of women to gay men at UNC
  • Glen Rowan's openly gay bar
  • Impact of HIV and AIDS on homosexuals
  • Changes to Chapel Hill and their impact on gay culture
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  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.