I have a new level of consciousness. The very idea that it is okay, or acceptable, to be a lesbian, to be old, and to live in this time is a joyous experience. It gives purpose to my life, that otherwise would have been a life of treading water and never getting to the other side. Now I feel that I am on the other side. I am proud to be old, to be a lesbian, to feel free to be myself.
Subject: Ruth Silver
Date of Birth: March 1919
Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York
Age at Interview: 82
Date of Interview: January 2001
Interviewer: Arden Eversmeyer
Place of Interview: Apache Junction, AZ
Transcriber: Lorna Ellis
Length of Transcript: original, 54 pages; OCR’d text, 65 pages;
plus supplemental materials*; ~ 32,500 words
Contract Dated: 01/22/2001
Support documents: 31 pages; copies of photos,
text from speeches/presentations
Separate Supports: booklet from Ruth’s 90th Birthday celebration
Fame first touched Ruth when, at 10, she won the Brooklyn Yo-Yo Championship. Smart but struggling in school because of a learning disability, Ruth dropped out of high school. While friends were studying English and history, Ruth became a master at working with silver metal and took a job training and supervising a room full of male jewelry craftsmen. When the love of her early life, Mary, decided to marry a man, Ruth was so heartbroken she did the same. As she says, she "came out as straight" and was married for more than 40 years. During her marriage, she struggled with what she knew to be her true sexuality. When she met Shevy Healey, she knew she had to honor that part of herself. At 64, she came out once again. Ruth has been very active politically and was involved with OLOC from it's inception.