As most of you know, June is Pride Month. This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City, the beginning of the gay movement (original name).
At the age of 69, I am now an elder in the Greater Cincinnati community. Young people want to know what it was like to be lesbian in the 1970s. I came out at 21 over Christmas vacation. I followed Jean, a “known lesbian,” home to Ann Arbor. We both knew she would bring me out. But I knew I was a lesbian much earlier, in my teens (It may have begun as a crush on my babysitter!), but I was also aware that I couldn’t speak of it. The word then was homosexual. I have no idea how I knew not to go blabbing about this. When you don’t see images of gay people on tv, film, newspapers or magazines, you’re pretty much invisible.
Luckily in high school I had a friend named Barbara. She must have had early gaydar because she began sharing about her crush on the gym teacher. I had a terrible crush on my journalism teacher. We were sisters of the heart.
I call these times the Era of B.E.–Before Ellen (DeGeneres, that is).
I guess by the end of June I’ll be famous on a small scale anyway. With this upcoming 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, some people working on the Pride Committee are making a video documentary of sorts. They wish to speak with those who were around Back in the Day. So I’ll do a thirty minute talk then they’ll edit it down to a few minutes. After this, I’ll be interviewed by Chris Fortin of Out Cincinnati on Radio Artifact. Finally, Victoria Ramstetter and I, co-directors of OLA, will speak on the Archives late June at the Taft Museum Women’s Club luncheon.
By July I will just relax on my backyard deck. Happy Pride, everyone!
~ Phebe (Karen) Beiser