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Wheeling Memory Project: Rosemary Ketchum


Rosemary KetchumLGBTQ+ visibility and communities in Wheeling, West Virginia

Interviewer: Emma Wiley - Context Notes

This is an oral history of Rosemary Ketchum that focuses on LGBTQ+ visibility and communities in Wheeling, West Virginia. Elected to Wheeling, West Virginia’s City Council in 2020, Rosemary Ketchum was the first openly transgender person elected at any level of government in the state of West Virginia. The oral history covers Ketchum’s childhood, growing up mostly in East Liverpool, Ohio, homeschooling and how she came to understand her own gender identity and the communities she was raised in. After a house fire prompted her family’s move to Wheeling, West Virginia at the end of high school, Ketchum describes her experiences as a trans person coming of age in Wheeling, going to college, and finding purpose in community organizing. Ketchum talks about how she decided to run for Wheeling’s City Council and how her election affected LGBTQ+ communities and visibility in Wheeling, and more broadly in West Virginia and the Appalachian region. Finally, Ketchum describes recent events and activities of Wheeling’s queer and LGBTQ+ communities, including the non-profit organization, The Friendlier City Project.



Interview Guide

Bio: Rosemary Ketchum is a member of the Wheeling City Council representing Ward 3. Ketchum also serves as the Chief Facilitator of the public health coalition “Edible Mountain.” Rosemary’s work in community organizing and politics has been featured on TODAY, MSNBC, CBS, and CNN.

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