Oliver grew up in the small college town of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. When he was coming out in the 1960s, he faced several hardships including constant bullying by his classmates in school and the hush-hush gay underground community where meetings were secret and often sexually motivated. Because the concept of being gay was so taboo, Oliver contemplated suicide as a way to end the nightmarish situation of being “the class queer” without a gay support network. However, when Oliver moved to New York City at age 23 in 1976 (7 years after the Stonewall riots), he found a thriving and vibrant gay community that was both political and outspoken and one where he fit in perfectly. Oliver currently lives with his partner, Stanley, in Queens and has participated in gay mentoring groups, which he believes, when organized correctly, can be an incredible resource for LGBTQ youth.