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Queer Heroes Northwest 2018:
Libby Anderson Durbin

Libby Anderson, (as Libby A. Durbin was known in 1972) while still working on her MS in Psychology at PSU, was assigned to do field work with Dave Van Wagner at the Portland office of the Oregon Employment Department.

Libby DurbinDave came out to her during the job interview. He was the first openly gay person she had ever known. They soon started group therapy with 6-8 people who were unemployed. Shortly thereafter, in 1973, Dave, openly gay psychologist Tom Cherry, and several others including Libby, started the Counseling Center for Sexual Minorities (CCSM). They felt the most doable action and the most pressing need at that time was a hotline. They trained people to serve on that, publicized it, and began getting lots of calls.

Denis Moore, Mari Border, and Libby were hired by CCSM under a Portland FEMA grant. Larry Copeland of Portland Town Council invited them to share his office space. Once when Mari and Libby were alone, they received a phone call from a very angry man saying he was coming down with a baseball bat “to take care of” them. He never showed up at the CCSM office because he believed Portland Town Council was located at city hall, part of city government. After three months, CCSM’s grant was cancelled by a city official, saying the city was not going to fund a “gay date bureau.”

In about 1976, Larry Copeland and Gladys McCoy got together with the governor and organized the Task Force on Sexual Preference. At this time, Gladys was Ombudsperson to Governor Bob Straub and Libby’s best friend. In 1970, Gladys had became the first African American to be voted to public office, and soon became one of our earliest straight cis allies.

Libby was hired by Oregon Human Resources as the executive secretary for the task force.  Their work lasted a year. Their first document was a preliminary report to the Oregon Legislative Assembly. A national publication, “Sexual Law Review”, devoted an entire issue to it. One of the projects had Libby spending several days at the Portland Police Bureau going through arrest records of sexual pederasts, and finding they were overwhelmingly heterosexual men.

After Libby graduated from PSU, she went into private practice with Tom Cherry as her supervisor.  Among 200 or so clients over the next twelve years were, several transgender folks, as well as a number lesbian and gay couples. They worked on relationship matters.

We begin announcing a hero per day on June 1, and the heroes' posters are unveiled in a reception at Q Center on June 7, 2018, 5-8PM. The public is invited. Queer Heroes' posters are displayed all year at Q Center.






P.O. Box 3646 • Portland, OR 97208-3646 •
Copyright © 2017