Ysanne Bethel



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Susan Hopkins is a 53-year-old member of the LGBTQIA community, living in Westbrook, Maine. Susan grew up with her family on the small island of Vinalhaven in Penobscot Bay, hearing tales of her anti-racist bisexual aunt. A self-identified feminist in her adolescence, Susan recognized that she was not straight early on, but did not feel safe to come out in her small community. Going to the University of Maine, Orono, Susan experienced her first lesbian relationship and taste of chosen family. Eventually, Susan found herself at the Howard University School of Law, where she interned at Whitman Walter Clinic in D.C, and immersed herself in ‘queer’ culture. Many years later, Susan was connected with June Harris, a woman she dedicated much of this interview to, and they became close confidants. During their friendship, June introduced Susan to the hidden history of lesbian life in Maine during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Susan is passionate about Maine’s hidden sub-cultures, chosen family, intergenerational friendships, and the right to self-identify.


Please cite as: Querying the Past: LGBTQ Maine Oral History Project Collection, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer+ Collection, Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, University of Southern Maine Libraries.

For more information about the Querying the Past: Maine LGBTQ Oral History Project, please contact Dr. Wendy Chapkis.


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Publication Date

Fall 11-19-2018


University of Southern Maine


Portland, ME


Seacoast Sapphos, Portland Lesbian Coffee House, Chosen Family, Intergeneration Friendships, LGTBQ terminology, Vinalhaven, Burlesque, Bell Telephone, University of Maine Orono, University of Southern Maine, AIDS, Livelong friendships, North Star Café, Artistic Amazon, June Harris, Alcoholism, Socio-psycho stressors of poverty, social support


History of Gender | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Oral History | Women's Studies

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Hopkins, Susan



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