This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview with Travis Clough was conducted at the Salt Institute in Portland Maine on June 6, 2023 as part of Oral History Summer School. Travis speaks about his experience growing up as a “tomboy” in rural Maine. He describes his friends at that time, listening to New Kids on the Block, finding the theater community, and memories of piling into a minivan and driving to the mall and movie theater in Bangor. He speaks about trying to understand sexuality and gender identity, his deep friendship with his high school boyfriend Tony, and the importance of him in his life. Clough moved from Maine to Boston, to Portland Oregon to San Francisco. He discusses moving to Boston after college and hearing the word queer for the first time, his process of identifying as a lesbian but feeling more attracted to men, and eventually coming out as trans in the early 2000s. Clough classifies his life as Pre Tony and Post Tony, describing his death as his first experience of grief. Clough speaks about the process of grieving this loss and breaking up with his partner in Oregon at the same time and how the loss led him to move back to Maine to be near his parents in 2010. Clough describes arriving back and looking for trans masc. friends on dating apps, and meeting Lex. Slowly becoming romantically interested in Lex, who is now his husband, over the emergence of their friendship and their involvement in the surfing community during the COVID pandemic. He lists the many activities he does with his husband and on his own, including contradancing, playing guitar and banjo, being a registered Maine guide and leading trips for the LGBTQ community, playing outdoor sports such as wind foiling and pickle ball, and teaching quilting classes. He finishes by speaking about the upcoming trans quilting show he is putting together.This interview would be of interest to someone who wants to know more about growing up in a rural place, queer community in Portland, Maine, Culture in the 90s, grief, dynamics of close friendships.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”