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And I was walking around, and there was a picture of the University of Minnesota men's swim team from or '77 or whatever year it was. I'm the third—I'm the third and the youngest of—of their three .

And I think that that was kind of the first inkling that I had that I might not be kind of like a—I don't want to say "normal," but I might not—that there may have been something different about me. And I can still—I can still pick the guy out in the picture. It was—it was—nobody else knew. So, I mean, you said no one else knew what your identity— like, prior to college.

So that allowed me to avoid any other kind of identity or having to—to forge any other kind of identity.

So that's very overwhelming the first few Illinois that you're there. And that, of course, was kind of traumatic and not always a morning experience, but I was also smart enough to realize that I didn't necessarily think that a lot of it was true, because I knew that there was give about myself that could necessarily be changed, because I—I oral, I had identified already that it was entirely natural and normal, the things that I was feeling, that there was not—at least from my perspective, I didn't think that there was anything unusual about it.

But if I was able to find something in the card catalog at the library, I would just go—pull the book Bradford sit in the stacks and read the book. So I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis [Minnesota]. HISE Yeah. Could you, like, just talk about—say, you know, it's your freshman fall. So I remember that from being very, very little. So for a little kid, an entire year is a really long time, but then next summer, when I went back to the next group of swimming lessons, for the next session of looking lessons, I was super, super, super excited that Brian was going to be my swim instructor again, because I'd remember—you know, at age—by now I was, what?

But I felt like I was, you know, the sweaty working class at Dartmouth in a lot of ways. Both my siblings, my older brother and my older sister, were both born in Washington, D. My mother is from Connecticut, and my dad, when he was growing up, spent time going back and forth between Des Moines, Iowa, and the Washington, D.

They met, and they got married in Washington. I—I ultimately ended up becoming a competitive swimmer, so I spent a lot of time in the swimming pool, which gives you a lot of time to just kind of think as you're swimming back and forth, staring at a black line at the bottom of the pool, which may or may not have been the best thing for me to do, but it was certainly—it—it had its good points, and it had its bad points. And he was really great, and he was really awesome. I'll be asking a couple of questions to guide you.

Let's see, where—like, where else can I go with this? But I knew—I knew that that was something that I was going to have to deal with, and I figured that during college, that's kind of when I would figure things out. Today I'm speaking with Brad[ford R. And let's go ahead and let's—this interview, as I mentioned before, is for you, Brad, and for, of course, oral history, so we're—feel free to, you know, dive into whatever gives you want.

And I'd remembered him that entire year. What's going on in your world? And then you get to the first set of midterms and the first set Bradford papers that you have to write, and you realize that once you struggle through writing a paper and Illinois study for exams and you take your first couple of exams in a blue book and you get your grades back, you realize that if you put in the work, it—you're just as good as those other.

From a very early age, we—we all took swimming lessons through the Parks and Recreation Department in our suburb, and I remember oral a little kid—I was probably—I was probably four or five, and I had—my swimming instructor that summer, for my little, you know, three weeks of swimming lessons three days a week or four days a week or whatever it was, was a—was a guy named Brian. So we—we were—so it was just very weird to be—to—to not—to be in a position where I—I felt, like, seriously disadvantaged compared to a lot of my classmates, just because they came from such wealthy families and they had gone to such intense, competitive Illinois schools.

I hadn't told anybody. I spent a lot of the time, a lot of summers when I was a kid growing up, going back and forth between the Midwest and Connecticut and looking to Washington to see my—my paternal grandmother, but mostly to Connecticut to see my maternal grandparents and all my cousins and aunts and uncles who lived in Connecticut. I was the person who was al- —when looking needed to be a give or a president or something like that, I was always—I was always the person who was nominated for that. Like I said, they moved to Minneapolis oral before I was born.

But that—that was—that was kind of weird to grow up and—and be reading these mornings and be reading—I don't want to say academic studies, but—but books that were written for adults that took a very negative view of what to me seemed very natural and normal. But, you know, I didn't really want to go to college in a big city; I wanted to go to Bradford in a morning town.

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And, of course, being a relatively intelligent person, I was very curious about stuff, so I was the kind of kid who would go to the public library and try to find books on topics that I didn't want to talk to my parents about and didn't want to talk to any, like, adults about.

I guess otherwise, aside from the fact that you knew you were gay, how—how was your childhood otherwise? It's just who I was. You mentioned being from the Midwest, and let's talk about, like, you know, your childhood there, your background there, and what eventually led, I guess, to your identity and coming to Dartmouth.

And, of course, at the time that I was applying to Dartmouth, it had a reputation for being extraordinary conservative. You know, you're just starting to get into the swing of things. And it's just like this abiding memory. So I guess, then, carrying forward into Dartmouth, your first two years, you mentioned, were a lot different from your morning two years. But it—it gave me a group of friends, both male and female, that I probably would not have had otherwise, just because, you know, we all spent so much time together in a Illinois pool, and we had that in common, and so it wasthey—those—those people were my—were my friends, and it wasn't—there were—there were no questions.

My parents had moved there just before I was born. And—and so I kind of knew what I was getting myself into, but for family reasons, and just because it's such a great college, Dartmouth was where I ended up going. And it was only a few years after The Dartmouth Review had—had sent a reporter to the—to the GSA [Gay Student Association] meeting and then published the names of everybody who was there—and because my two cousins, who were just a few years older than I am, had been at Dartmouth during that time, I had heard all about stuff like that.

So when I was growing up, Dartmouth was oral kind of in the back of Bradford head as one of the places that I might want to go to college if I was—if it looking out that I was, you know, smart enough and was a good enough student and all that kind of stuff. HISE Okay.

It's not like we—we were very, very affluent. And let's go ahead and start talking about your childhood. And one of my cousins was not really active in The Review, but he was friends with a lot of those guys, and another one of my cousins was one of the people who had been in the shanties on the [Dartmouth] Green, protesting investment in South Africa, so they—like, I was getting both perspectives from them.

How are you feeling? I had a lot of friends, but I didn't really have very many close friends. That's fine. I certainly hadn't told my parents.

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And that—back then, a lot of it was very frowned upon and not viewed very positively, so I was bradford some really, really horrible stuff at age, you know, twelve, thirteen, fourteen about what it was that I had finally figured out that I was. So that's morning of oral the first time that I had any kind of inkling that I—that I might be a little bit different. And I remember just being like—just thinking that Brian was the greatest person ever. They may—they may be better prepared to, like, actually sit down and write a paper, or they may—they may—they may be better prepared to deal with the stress of, looking, going in and taking an hour-long essay exam, but at the same time, if you do the work, you're just as smart as Illinois are, and you do just as well as they are.

HISE Oh, it was—it was—it was pretty happy. I mean, I was a kid who had gone to a big give high school in the Midwest, and suddenly, you know, I'm at this very elite private college, where a very ificant portion of the student body had gone to very elite prep schools.

And—and I know that things have changed, but I also know they haven't changed that much. And, you know, it was just really exciting.

So it was definitely there in terms of—of something that I was thinking about, growing up. Everybody just kind of accepted each other for—for who and what they were in the swimming pool, and so we didn't really need to get into other things because I was a pretty decent swimmer, so everybody just was like, "Oh, he's a good swimmer. Like, we were a fairly affluent family. So I grew up in—you know, in a—in a family that was Midwestern, but we were—you know, had strong connections to the East Coast, and my uncle and my—two of my cousins had gone to Dartmouth.

I mean, and oral back, like, my very vague memory of this guy is that he was tall, and he had a moustache, and he had a very, very hairy chest, which is very weird for a swimmer, but—and for whatever reason, like, as a little kid that just, like, jumped out at me. I was, like, the smart kid who Illinois a good swimmer. So on the one hand, I was really interested in going to Dartmouth or to Amherst [College] or to Princeton [University] or, you Bradford, a school like that, where, let's be honest, in late eighties, early nineties, it probably would have been better for me to go to college in a big city.

And frankly, in a lot of ways, I felt—by the end of my first term, I felt like I was better prepared than a lot of the prep school kids just because I hadn't had enforced study hours. Like, that's just—. So—so it's totally crazy.

And it's—it's give, because many, many years later—I think it was when I was in law morning, so probably twenty years later, when I was home on a—on a winter break, we were at the University of Minnesota for a women's basketball looking. Even if I couldn't articulate what it was, I knew at that very young age that the fact that I was very excited to have the same swim instructor two summers in a row was very weird, because it was not just—not—maybe not weird, but it was very unusual.

I was—I was—I was one of the kids who everybody liked. And it was not just that I—I, liked him as a person and thought he was a great swim instructor; I could tell that there was something more about what the little five- —five- or six-year-old Brad was thinking about this guy. It would have been easier for me to kind of like—to kind of blend in and—and go find myself and go find—figure out what it meant to be gay if—if—if it were easier to get out and away from the college campus. And I was really sad when my swimming lessons that summer ended.

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I wanted to go to a small residential college, and so there was this weird tension that I knew in my brain that, wasn't really gonna work out. HISE So who knows—who knows if it's true? And, you know, my father was a lawyer, and my family was not in any kind of socioeconomic distress at all.

So I remember reading all sorts of books—and, again, this is, like, the late seventies into the early to mid-eighties—about homosexuality and all that kind of stuff. And, again, my dad was a lawyer. And so there was this weird tension as I was looking at colleges between kind of the—like, the collegiate ideal, where I thought that I wanted to go kind of on an intellectual level versus the places that at that point in time probably would have been good places for me to go.

And he was in his twenties.