I came to The Villages in Florida from my home in Sequim, Washington for the premiere of my play Sing Meadowlark. I enjoyed being in the villages. I’ve been coming here for many years to see my friend Helen Schwartz and all the many wonderful women to whom Helen’s introduced me over time. This place is like an adult-over-55 Disney World. There so many activities. From morning to night seven days a week there are more activities than you can possibly imagine. Most of my friends, the huge community of lesbians here, play golf and/ bowl. There are physical activities, emotional activities, intellectual activities, hundreds of AAA and Al-Anon meetings, and every religious institution on earth. Well maybe not Muslims, because over half of this place is Republican, which actually makes it makes it fun for us resistors.
My friends here are absolutely delightful. I’ve been coming to The Villages since Helen moved here in 2006. I’ve met many lovely women.
The one thing that’s always been a question for me is this: why am earth would people come to Florida to retire and still be nearly three hours away from the beach? The Villages is smack dab in the middle of North Central Florida, hours from either the Atlantic or the Gulf.
People who live here refer to The Villages as the bubble from which they rarely leave. There are assisted living facilities, medical facilities, and funeral homes right here throughout The Villages so one simply doesn’t have to leave. One can live, play, and die right here.
Another thing about The Villages is that it’s dirt cheap to live here. You can get a two bedroom, two bath villa for under $170,000! And you can drive your golf cart anywhere roads go in The Villages. The Villages is not small, over 100,000 homes with nearly as many golf courses.
While I’ve been visiting this week I’ve been walking my 4 miles every day. What I’ve noticed is that women say good morning to me to my face and say good morning to my chest. But then again, the STD rate in The Villages is the highest per capita in Florida! These people know how to have fun!
Today in LGBT History – August 2
August 2, 1924 – Gay African-American author James Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) is born in Harlem. He would grow up to become a best-selling author and a respected voice in both the Civil Rights movement and, as an openly gay man, the movement for gay rights, as well. Baldwin challenged both the racial –Fire Next Time, 1963) – and sexual (Giovanni’s Room, 1956) stereotypes of his day. He argued against mandatory heterosexuality in society. By the time of his death, Baldwin had written over twenty books including essays, fiction, drama, and poetry.
1983 – Conservative Republican ex-Congressman Robert Bauman (born April 4, 1937) came out, and urged the American Bar Association to support gay rights legislation. Three years earlier he had been arrested for soliciting a 16-year-old male prostitute and lost his bid for re-election as a result. He wrote an autobiography, The Gentleman from Maryland: The Conscience of a Gay Conservative which was published in 1986
1984 – Barbara Deming (July 23, 1917 – August 2, 1984) dies on this day. She was an American feminist and advocate of nonviolent social change. At sixteen, she had fallen in love with a woman her mother’s age, and thereafter she was openly lesbian. She was the romantic partner of writer and artist Mary Meigs from 1954 to 1972. Their relationship eventually floundered, partially due to Meigs’s timid attitude and Deming’s unrelenting political activism. In 1976, Deming moved to Florida with her partner artist Jane Verlaine. Verlaine painted, did figure drawings and illustrated several books written by Deming. Verlaine was a tireless advocate for abused women. Deming openly believed that it was often those whom we loved that oppressed us, and that it was necessary to re-invent non-violent struggle every day. It is often said that she created a body of non-violent theory, based on action and personal experience, that centered on the potential of non-violent struggle in its application to the women’s movement. In 1975, Deming founded The Money for Women Fund to support the work of feminist artists. Deming helped administer the Fund, with support from artist Mary Meigs. After Deming’s death in 1984, the organization was renamed as The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. Today the foundation is the “oldest ongoing feminist granting agency” which “gives encouragement and grants to individual feminists in the arts (writers, and visual artists).”
1985 – A gay man in Coventry, England was beaten to death by a man who feared he could contract AIDS because he drank from the same bottle as the man. He was sentenced to three months in prison for the murder.
1986 – Attorney Roy Cohn (February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986), one of history’s best known gay Jews who was both homophobic and anti-Semitic, dies of complications from AIDS in Bethesda, Maryland. He had assisted Senator Joseph McCarthy during the House UnAmerican Activities hearings. Earlier in 1986, Cohn had been disbarred by the State of New York for unethical and unprofessional conduct. At one point, Barbara Walters served as his beard. He was also known for being a U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor at the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and later for representing Donald Trump during his early business career.
1987 – Arizona governor Evan Meecham announces during a radio call in show that students at Arizona State University do not have the right to organize a gay and lesbian student organization. He said the existence of such organizations is a cause of homosexuality.
1988 – The Madison, Wisconsin Common Council approves a bill to provide sick time and bereavement benefits to city employees who designate a family partner, and rejects a proposal forbidding discrimination against non-traditional families in public accommodations.
1988 – The Ft. Collins, Colorado City Council votes to allow voters to decide if sexual orientation should be added to the city’s anti-discrimination code. It fails. It was opposed by hate-monger Rev. Pete Peters who advocated capital punishment for homosexuals.
1988 – Ronald Balin died of complications from AIDS at age 53. He had been the founder of the Washington DC chapter of The Mattachine Society and was among the first group to picket in front of the White House in 1965.
1988 – Homophobe Robert Huber, a Michigan US Senate candidate, expresses his view on AIDS by saying, “I don’t know whether it’s the wrath of God, but if it isn’t it should be.” He was not elected. He was a Republican.
1995 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signs Executive Order 12968 which bans discrimination based on “sexual orientation” as it establishes uniform policies for allowing government employees access to classified information. It was the first time a U.S. president signed an executive order that contained the words “sexual orientation.”
1999 – The Gill Foundation announces that activist Donna Red Wing, who had been a field director for The Human Rights Campaign and a senior consultant for The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, would be joining its staff as director of the OutGiving Project.
2001 – The Minuteman Council, comprised of 330 Scout troops and 18,000 Boy Scouts in Greater Boston, one of largest Boy Scout councils in Massachusetts, agrees to allow gay scoutmasters under a new “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy, despite the national organization’s ban on homosexuals.
2002, Australia – Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras places itself in bankruptcy protection.
Let your voice speak out and change the world!
(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, Lavender Effect, DataLounge.com, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, Amara Das Wilhelm, Safe Schools Coalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at email@example.com. Thanks!)