Chris Olson – Community Member and Supporter

OlsonStory_30anniversarypartyMichelle and I met at an AA meeting in the Anchorage Gay & Lesbian Center, in Alaska, in 1981. We needed that Center and recovery for our survival. It was not easy to be out as a young dyke in the early ‘80’s. I’m happy to say we made it and are still in love after 32 years. April 1, 1982 is our anniversary. Our relationship has been a good one. We believe that the main reason we are still together is that we have always respected our individuality. As unique individuals we have not lost sight of the special gifts we offer each other. We are still clean and sober.

We lived and worked in Anchorage but also built a remote cabin north of Anchorage. We love the outdoors and remote wilderness and all that has to offer. We love winter and cold weather and really loved Alaska. We moved to La Crosse in 1998. Chris’s mother moved back to their hometown in Iowa and we wanted to be closer to her. We picked Wisconsin over Iowa or Minnesota because it was so progressive. In 1982, the same year we got together, Wisconsin was the first state to protect lesbians and gay men from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. In 1983, Wisconsin legalized all sexual relations between consenting adults, including same-sex partners. It didn’t take long for us to find a group of local lesbians and start building friendships in La Crosse. We got legally married in Iowa in 2009 and also added our partnership to the Wisconsin Domestic Partner registry.

We built our “Alaska in Wisconsin” dream home on 38 acres in Trempealeau County in 2000. Our four dogs keep us busy and youngish. We are passionate about organic gardening and love to hike in our woods. Even though we live a long way away from The LGTBQIA Center in La Crosse – we know that the community there is supportive. We have been members since the beginning and are supportive of all the things they do. The Center saves lives.