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Anne Balay and John D'Emilio


Anne Balay graduated with a PhD from the University of Chicago, after which she promptly became a car mechanic. Though in subsequent years she returned to academia as a professor both at the University of Illinois and Indiana University Northwest, she never lost her interest in blue collar work environments. Dr. Balay moved to Gary, Indiana to teach, and was immediately interested in the steel industry of the region. Her coworker and mentor, Jimbo Lane, suggested that she would be perfectly suited to meeting with and writing about the LGBT workers within the mill community, and Steel Closets was born. Anne then attended commercial truck driving school, got her CDL, and drove over the road. Oral histories of truck drivers she did in 2015/16 have led to her new book Semi Queer. Anne was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Haverford College until 2019, and is now an Organizer for SEIU working with adjunct faculty in Saint Louis.

She has two children, who are glowing orbs of wonder, and three grandkids who are the light of her life -- no exaggeration. 







Jimbo Lane, for the constant help, support, advocacy, friendship, and patience. His amazing blog is completely worth a read, it can be found here

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