by April Baik
I really enjoyed my interview with Bob Dailey, a longtime volunteer at AIDS Services of Austin. I wasn’t really nervous to interview him, because I do interview people for my job and have encountered a lot of awkward interviews that did not elicit quality responses. So I was really surprised by how much Bob talked! I was shocked that he could knock out a lot of my questions just from one prompt. I was blessed to talk to someone so engaging and interesting!
My conversation with Bob taught me that we don’t have any excuse for not contributing to our community through service. He worked full-time and still was able to volunteer and help out so many organizations. I also learned that even when you work in a city that is known to be liberal, your workplace can still be very conservative. People may not agree with your sexuality and this can create a hostile work environment. Luckily Bob did not encounter any mistreatment, but from what he has told me, it is important to be aware of your surroundings because comments on any type of sexuality or lifestyle can be hurtful. Bob told me that if he had never spoken up, people would have just assumed he is a heterosexual male. I’ll never forget learning how the AIDS epidemic changed history. Since Bob volunteered at AIDS Services of Austin for so long, he was able to see a lot of positive changes, especially with the government. It was awesome seeing how much his work helped change happen.
I was initially nervous about taking this course because I am heterosexual female, and I didn’t have any friends in the LBGTQ+ community. I am also South Korean. In my family, or among my Korean friends, anything that concerns the LGBTQ+ community is very taboo and not talked about. I felt the need to educate myself and alleviate my ignorance. I refrained from talking much in class, because I wanted to listen and learn from my peers who were more comfortable talking about such topics. I guess I was also afraid of saying something incorrect or maybe even offensive to someone.
Most of us learned a history that doesn’t include significant LGBTQ+ events, so this class really expanded my knowledge of the true history of American Culture. It’s always nice to practice interviewing and I feel that by interviewing older people, I have developed my interviewing skills. I will always take my knowledge from this class as a source to learn more and seek different sources to further educate myself about the LGBTQ+ history of Austin and the world. More importantly, I can use my knowledge to refer my peers to resources and libraries that we used. I understand better the uphill battle the community has faced and how to help out more. I have gained the courage to become a helpful ally. I can use what I have learned from this class to educate anyone that says hurtful things now that I have factual knowledge!
April Baik is an undergraduate student studying biology at the University of Texas at Austin.