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Les Krambeal Oral History Interview

Born and raised in Ashland, Oregon, Les Krambeal was drawn to Arizona by the annual horse shows and moved to Tucson in 2005. In this personal interview, he recalled his experiences coming out, participating in gay rodeos, and running country western-themed gay bars in the 1980s in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Reno, Nevada, and Long Beach, California.

A gay man who was brought up in a republican household, Krambeal was politically active throughout his life. He served several terms as Chair of the Supreme Court Board in Arizona and another two terms as Chairman of the Stonewall Democrats, the LGBT arm of the Democratic Party. Some of his other accomplishments include serving a 15-month tour as a US Army general’s aid in Vietnam, becoming the President of the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA), and managing a law firm in Medford, Oregon.

Krambeal shared many years together with life partners Gordon Owsley and Juan Gastelum. Honesty and openness were cited as the most important aspects of their nontraditional relationship. He acknowledged that the gay community is as diverse as the straight community but stressed that while the LGBTQ community had come so far since his childhood, there was still so much left to be done. His final remark s a recurring theme in both his interview and his life generally: "Always be true to yourself."

Krambeal died in Tucson on March 15, 2013 of prostate cancer and was survived by his partners Gordon and Juan. More information on his fascinating life story can be found at this website:

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