Interview with Denise Goff, Class of 1990 and 2004


Denise Goff



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Oral history interview with Illinois State University alum Denise Goff, Class of 1990 and 2004. The interview was conducted via Zoom videoconferencing software on August 10, 2023 by Rexton Jones, then an undergraduate student at ISU.

Goff, originally from Aurora, Illinois, discusses her high school years at West Aurora High School, where she found support and solidarity within the LGBTQ+ community, especially through attending movie showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Influenced by her experiences with intolerance, she chose to pursue a degree in psychology at ISU with the goal of counseling LGBTQ+ individuals.

Goff reflects on her involvement in student organizations while a student at ISU, particularly serving as the president of the Gay People's Alliance (GPA), now known as Pride, which provided her with a platform to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and representation on campus. She highlights some of the GPA’s activities and programming, such as bringing lesbian and gay performers to campus, participating in the Chicago Pride Parade, and sponsoring Gay Blue Jeans Day, an event aimed at raising awareness and support for LGBTQ+ rights. Goff also mentions Robert Sutherland, the GPA advisor, and the supportive atmosphere fostered by some staff members and the university president. She describes meeting her wife Sharon through the GPA and how they stay connected to ISU through alumni events and attending Pride’s Annual Charity Drag Show.

She continues to advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusivity through her job and in the Bloomington-Normal community.

Interview Date



  • Introduction; Goff’s life before ISU: 00:00-02:18
  • Choosing ISU: 02:18-02:59
  • Majoring in psychology; practicum and internship: 02:59-04:13
  • Gay People’s Alliance: 04:13-08:56
  • Support at ISU for LGBTQ+ students: 08:56-09:59
  • Gay Blue Jeans Day; lesbian and gay performers: 09:59-13:34
  • McLean County AIDS Task Force: 13:34-15:08
  • Obtaining her graduate degree: 15:08-15:08-16:11
  • Meeting her wife; staying involved with Pride: 16:11-18:11
  • Reflecting on student experience; conclusion: 18:11-19:07

Interview with Denise Goff, Class of 1990 and 2004