- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Charlotte LGBTQ+ oral histories
- Tom Warshauer oral history interview 2, 2017 February 19
Tom Warshauer oral history interview 2, 2017 February 19
In this second interview, Tom Warshauer discusses his arrival in Charlotte in 1990 to work with the city's planning department. He explains that he was initially apprehensive of Charlotte's conservative culture and planned to stay in the city no longer than two years. However, after coming into contact with a cohort of activists, artists, and intellectuals, Mr. Warshauer has lived and worked as a city planner for Charlotte for nearly thirty years. Mr. Warshauer describes his years as a young professional and how impressed he was by Charlotte's entrepreneurial spirit, deeming the city in 1990 as "open for business." Although Charlotte's social culture remained conservative, he talks about how he wanted to join other activists in making Charlotte more inclusive. As an openly gay man, Mr. Warshauer reflects on how he was able to take risks on behalf of the LGBTQ community and how his connections with gay activists in Raleigh helped him. Mr. Warshauer discusses how he and other gay men socialized privately and publicly in 1990s Charlotte. In 1990, Mr. Warshauer and Robert West began the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which was initially hosted at Spirit Square. He also discusses the creatives ways he raised funds for Charlotte's LGBTQ communities, including his foundational involvement with the annual White Party fundraiser (also known as Farewell to Summer), which originally raised funds to support local people with AIDS, and his major role in helping to establish the Lesbian and Gay Fund (administered by the Foundation for the Carolinas), which he credits with helping young LGBTQ people in Charlotte learn about their heritage. Mr. Warshauer concludes by talking about the gay community's need to stand with other marginalized groups as they fight for their social justice.