Interview with Suzanne Groff, July 31, 2018

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Title:
Interview with Suzanne Groff, July 31, 2018
Interviewer:
Mielcarek, Alexandra
Interviewee:
Groff, Suzanne
Date:
2018-07-31
Description:
Suzanne Groff is an attorney who moved to Charleston in 1995. She begins her interview by contextualizing her growing up in a small conservative community of Lancaster, PA, where she had close family relationships that continue to this day, even though she and her brother and have grown up and now live far apart. The conversation then turns to her coming to terms with her identity and how, initially, she kept her relationships with women secret. As time went on, however, she came out as a lesbian to friends, work, and family. Groff practiced as an attorney in New Hampshire from 1980 to 1995; what prompted her to leave the state was her desire to adopt a child, which was illegal for gay men and women under New Hampshire law. Since South Carolina did allow such adoptions, she and her partner moved here. She found differences between the North and the South arresting, specifically at how unreserved Southerners are in comparison and the personal questions they will ask. While she did have a troubling medical appointment at the Medical University of South Carolina, she found many progressive people in the area, and, despite her fears, her daughter was warmly accepted in public schools despite her difference in having two mothers. Groff describes difficulties she experienced with joining a law firm and the subsequent creation of her own firm and mentions how being a lesbian was once used against her. She was active in the development and growth of Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA) and discusses her legal work here on LGBTQ related issues, such as helping with name changes for transgender clients and her past work in AIDS-related activism in New England. Groff attended the march celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York and reflects on issues such as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and Marriage Equality. The conversation closes on her thoughts on current challenges facing the LGBTQ community.
Collection:
LGBTQ Life in the Lowcountry Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
audio/mpeg
Topical Subject:
Coming out (Sexual orientation), Gay adoption--Law and legislation, Discrimination in employment, Lesbian mothers, Children of gay parents
Geographic Subject:
Lancaster (Pa.), New Hampshire, Charleston (S.C.)
Language:
English
Shelving Locator:
MSS LGBTQ-OH-009
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
audio/mpeg
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Copyright Status Statement:
Copyright © College of Charleston Libraries.
Access Information:
For more information, contact Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries, 66 George Street, Charleston SC 29424.