Elana Stone interviewed by Ree Robson
November 15, 2019
Elana Stone is a 2006 graduate from Whitman who had an independently planned major called Social Power in the US. They are from near Eugene, Oregon, and have been out as queer since middle school. As a student at Whitman, they were an RA, a member of Shalom and of First Generation, Working Class, as well as a president of the LGBTQ+ activist group, Coalition Against Homophobia. After graduating, Stone stayed on as an RD for Whitman until 2008, still working with Coalition. Since leaving Whitman, their career path has focused mainly on LGBTQ+ issues and on youth services. At the time of the interview, they lived in California with their partner.
In this interview, Elana Stone ‘06 begins by discussing their experiences with feeling “different” from a young age, being out as queer since middle school and how the transition to a less accepting high school was offset in part by their supportive family and friends. Their lifelong interest in social justice stemmed their experiences in middle and high school, thanks to their involvement in the organization, Youth For Justice, and LGBTQ+ activism against homophobia in Oregon. That interest translated to an individually planned major that they called Social Power in the US. Stone talks a little bit about their circuitous journey to Whitman and how the small, close community at Whitman was a major reason they decided to apply. They were involved in a few activities at Whitman, like First Generation, Working Class, and Residence Life, but focused mainly on their leadership in Coalition Against Homophobia in this interview. While in Residence Life, Stone started a project to map out and attempt to add more gender neutral bathrooms on campus. Throughout their time at Whitman, they dealt with questions about their gender and sexuality, and did an independent on trans studies with Professor Wilcox. Stone has more recently come to use words like nonbinary to describe their identity thanks to changing visibility and use of various gender and sexuality terms. At the end of the interview, Stone discussed how they came out in the workplace, and what it’s been like using gender-neutral pronouns in professional settings.
1 digital audio recording: 01:46:10
Whitman College and Northwest Archives, Whitman College LGBTQ+ Oral History Project Recordings and Transcripts, WCA159
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