LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Ron Holt

Title

LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Ron Holt

Subject

Queer Omaha Archives
Sexual minorities -- Nebraska -- Omaha
Interviews
Oral Histories (document genre)

Description

Click here to access the interview, LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Ron Holt

Dr. Ron Holt, psychiatrist and LGBTQ+ educator, was interviewed by Luke Wegener on April 24, 2019 in Wayne, Nebraska. Holt shared information about his upbringing in Omaha, Nebraska, discovering his sexuality early on, attending Wayne State College, meeting his husband, surviving his father's homophobic abuse and death threats, his work as a psychiatrist, and his passion for LGBTQ+ activism.

Biographical Sketch 

Dr. Ron Holt, born in Omaha, Nebraska, is a white, gay man, psychiatrist, national speaker, educator and LGBTQ+ activist. Holt grew up in Omaha’s Millard area and graduated from Millard South High School in 1984. After a brief one-year stint at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska, Holt transferred to Wayne State College in 1985, graduating with a BS in Biology and Chemistry in 1989. Holt attended medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences from 1989-1993, then completed his Residency Program in Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and California Pacific Medical Center in 1997. 

After completing his education, Holt worked for Kaiser South San Francisco Medical Center as an attending psychiatrist from 1997-2017. During this time, Holt traveled back to Wayne State College each year to provide educational lectures and workshops on LGBTQ+ issues for students. In 2017, Holt left his position at Kaiser South San Francisco Medical Center to pursue his dream of doing LGBTQ+ advocacy work full-time. The same year, Holt co-authored the book Pride: You Can’t Heal If You’re Hiding From Yourself with his husband, Dr. William Huggett. The two have also published numerous LGBTQ-affirming adult coloring books, and in 2018, raised $16,000 to send 6,000 coloring books to 175 non-profit organizations throughout the United States and Canada.

Holt is a member of the Association of LGBTQ Psychiatrists (AGLP), American Psychiatric Association (APA), Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), and several other professional organizations. In the last 20 years, Holt has won numerous awards, such as the David Lawrence Community Service Award (2009), R.J. Erickson Diversity Achievement Award (2010), and the Wayne State College Presidential Award for Diversity (2017).

As of May 2019, Holt lives in San Francisco with his husband, William Huggett.

Interview Summary 

Dr. Ron Holt, psychiatrist and LGBTQ+ educator, was interviewed by Luke Wegener on April 24, 2019 in Wayne, Nebraska. Holt was born in Omaha, Nebraska in the mid 1960’s and grew up in the Millard area (Roxbury neighborhood). By the time he reached 5th grade at Walt Disney Elementary School, Holt knew he was gay, though he lacked a word for his feelings. He experienced bullying and harassment from other boys, and felt isolated. At home, things weren’t much better, as Holt faced relentless verbal and emotional abuse from his homophobic father. While attending Millard Central Junior High, Holt’s 5-year-old sister died from Leukemia, which devastated the family.  

Holt graduated from Millard South High School in 1984, then attended Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska for one year before transferring to Wayne State College (WSC) in order to get further away from his father. As a popular, active student at WSC, Holt was a member of the track and field team and was a dorm resident assistant. In 1986, Holt met his long-term partner, William Huggett, through their mutual girlfriends. Huggett was three years ahead of Holt in school, and when Huggett moved to Omaha to attend medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), they maintained a long-distance relationship. However, Holt and Huggett were forced to remain closeted, as Holt knew he had to hide the relationship from his homophobic, abusive father. Huggett and Holt even hid their friendship, only hanging out in surrounding Nebraska towns where no one knew them or could spread rumors about the nature of their relationship. 

After graduating in 1989 from Wayne State College with his BS in Biology and Chemistry, Holt attended medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) from 1989-1993. During his first year there, Holt unexpectedly came out to his father during a heated confrontation. Afterward, Holt’s father began calling and harassing him all hours of the day, seven days a week, with homophobic slursverbal abuse and threats to get him expelled from medical school. Holt’s father then threatened to kill him and his partner, William. Holt immediately called William, who lived in Omaha at the time, and told him that he had to quickly get out of town. William left his class at UNMC, packed a bag and traveled to Kansas City to be with Holt, where they stayed in a hotel room for safety. Holt eventually threatened to file a restraining order against his father, which finally stopped the phone harassment.  

Holt was stressed and frightened after his experience with his father, but still managed to move forward in his educational pursuits. He graduated from medical school at KCU in 1993, then completed his Residency Program starting at Baylor College of Medicine and finishing at California Pacific Medical Center in 1997. After completing his education, Holt worked for Kaiser South San Francisco Medical Center as an attending psychiatrist from 1997-2017. During this time, Holt traveled back to Wayne State College each year to provide educational lectures and workshops on LGBTQ+ issues for students.  

In 2017, Holt left his position at Kaiser South San Francisco Medical Center to pursue his dream of doing LGBTQ+ advocacy work full-time. The same year, Holt co-authored the book Pride: You Can’t Heal If You’re Hiding From Yourself with his husband, Dr. William Huggett. The two have also published numerous LGBTQ-affirming adult coloring books, and in 2018, raised $16,000 to send 6,000 coloring books to 175 non-profit organizations throughout the United States and Canada.  

Holt is a member of the Association of LGBTQ Psychiatrists (AGLP), American Psychiatric Association (APA), Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), and several other professional organizations. In the last 20 years, Holt has won numerous awards, such as the David Lawrence Community Service Award (2009), R.J. Erickson Diversity Achievement Award (2010), and the Wayne State College Presidential Award for Diversity (2017).  

As of May 2019, Holt lives in San Francisco with his husband, William Huggett. 

In this interview, Holt also discusses his relationship with his Grandmother Maxine, the journey of healing from his father’s abuse, and why he feels passionate about LGBTQ+ activism.

Interview Notes 

Trigger warning for abuse. 

Date

2019 April 24

Creator

Luke Wegener

Publisher

University of Nebraska at Omaha Libraries

Relation

LGBTQ+ Oral History Collection finding aid available at https://archives.nebraska.edu/repositories/4/resources/604

Interviewer

Luke Wegener

Interviewee

Ron Holt

Duration

1:53:17

Files

RonHoltPic.jpg

Citation

Luke Wegener, “LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Ron Holt,” Queer Omaha Archives | UNO Libraries, accessed July 29, 2021, https://queeromahaarchives.omeka.net/items/show/3311.

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