Share Your Story – Classes 1970-1979

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6 thoughts on “Share Your Story – Classes 1970-1979

  1. Christa Rakich

    When I was at Oberlin, the ‘second wave’ of feminism was really just in its infancy. Ms. Magazine was new; Gloria Steinem was hot. So a lot of the self-discovery process for lesbians was wrapped up in identifying as a feminist, establishing independence from men, etc. This made things rather confusing: am I a lesbian because I hold a political belief of independence / freedom / self-determination /self-reliance / strength? Or am I gravitating toward those beliefs because I am a lesbian? What am I if I really prefer hanging out with women and bond with them emotionally, feel kinship, oneness, intimacy, but sexually I’m still into men? Can I be homo-emotional but not homo-sexual? If I reject the roles – I do the dishes, he takes out the garbage – am I rejecting men?

    Then there was the whole ‘lavender menace’ thing in the broader culture: the women’s movement not wanting to be identified with lesbianism, feeling endangered if too many feminists also identified as lesbian.

    Then there were women, ardent feminists, who wanted to be lesbian because it was the purest feminism. A women’s collective started somewhere down by the language dorms. I didn’t hang out there, but I did have many ‘questioning’ women friends.

    For some of them, it wasn’t so much about being gay as wanting to reject stereotypes. This was perceived as threatening by some of the ‘really gay’ lesbians who were looking for a real relationship, and not wanting to be an experiment for someone who was really straight.

  2. Randy Weiss

    [excerpted from an oral history with Joey Plaster]

    The whole ethos of sex was so different…The seventies, not only for gay people, but for straight people as well, was a time of great sexual liberation…That said, though, straight people were always allowed to have sex, but gay people weren’t. So it was kind of a double fabulous whammy for us. Because we began viewing it as such a positive thing; something that was fun, something that was affirming, and as opposed to, you know, sinful or dark or disgusting, or immoral…

    Jay Gorney [OC 73] had been to New York [in 1972]…In the [Oberlin Review], he published a list of things that were gay and not gay. And this was the first consciousness of camp that I had. In a way, these were camp concepts. But more importantly, Bette Midler’s Do You Wanna Dance, became a hit…He came back from New York, this song was playing and he said, “That’s Bette Midler, I saw her at the Continental Baths in New York City.” I didn’t know what Continental Baths were, I’d never been to New York City, and here was this guy who’s heard this artist you know…And he scared the shit out of me. He scared me to death when I first met him. Because he was so out, [and] I wasn’t out…So Jay Gorney was the first taste of the out-loud, didn’t give a shit what anybody thought, early seventies homosexual…I always thought back to Jay, when I scared people off, which I did a lot in the next, let’s say ten years. Because I was out after that…

  3. John Binde

    I am the Oberlin student who wrote the article in the Oberlin Review, September 24, 1971, A Response to Gay Liberation.
    Here is an update. I got married to combat my gay orientation. It didn’t “work.” After almost 20 years of depression and leading a double life, I began to come to terms with my gay orientation. I now have a partner and we will soon be married under the law of PA.
    I regret that I wrote as I did in 1971. I was trying more to convince myself that I could change than anyone else. I am one of the many casualties of conservative Christianity. My coming to terms with my being gay required me to become an agnostic for many years. I am now a United Church of Christ pastor in PA.
    Perhaps there are others still struggling to come to terms with their orientation due to religious reasons.
    Perhaps there is a way to link this update to my article still in the LGBT archives.

  4. Roger McClanahan

    Patrick Broome and I became lovers in the early 70’s and remained involved until his death in 1993. I lived in a studio apt. at the corner of 68th and Park Avenue. At the time Patrick was working for J.J. Woolf a distinguished antique dealer on Madison Avenue just north of 68th Street. I remember our first meeting clearly- I was waiting to cross Park Avenue when I noticed this movie star good looking young man in a blue overcoat. Funny thing was Patrick thought I was a well-to-do Park avenue type while I thought just the same about him. I immediately invited him to my small one room studio and made some kind of botched dinner. We had a totally obsessive sexual attraction from the start. He was working so close to where I lived and at the time I worked for the Technical Assistance Information Clearing House on 17th and Park Ave South, well within walking distance of his apartment in a walk up on sixth street in the east village. I’ve heard it said that propinquity is the source of most romantic relationships. so it was for us. Patrick had a severe drinking problem and he was eventually fired from his job at Christopher Juessel who took over the J.J. Woolf firm. Chris was the chairman of the board of the Morris Jumel mansion- a Washington slept here mansion in Harlem. He saw to it that Patrick was hired as executive director of the mansion. By then I was working for the New York Zoological Society as the government affairs officer. Patrick ut me on the board of the Morris Jumel where I served for 15 or soo years. The preHIV 70’s and early 80’s were a really wild and crazy time for gays in NYC.It went fromStudio 54 to wild bathhouse fun to cocktail parties on the upper east side, the Winter Antique Fair, high low, it is much more than I can relate. Let me just conclude by saying that Patrick’s addiction to alohol got the best of him. Despite several attempts to detox, he finally died in a hotel near Times Square. I have a large face shot of him hanging in my bedroom. Reading his speech I realize just how much of a radical he really was. I went to Antioch College and later Berkeley. I always considered Oberlin as a stuffy class bound place. Patrick was by far the most brilliant man I have ever met. It was an enormous privilege to have been his lover and soulmate for several decades. I had occasion to visit his grave in the hill country south of San Antonio Texas. I had driven some way to find it and by the time I arrived it was to dark to really make out the inscription on his grave. This sort of sums up the way he did finally fade out. In twilight.

    1. Polly Hamilton Hilsabeck

      Thank you so much for posting this story of your and Patrick’s love for each other. It makes me glad to know that he had you to appreciate and love him. And when he was available to it, you had him. I received the link from a classmate and passed it on to others who were so grateful to have more and, thanks to you, so much more about our cherished friend, Patrick. I lost touch with my pal, Patrick, and when 9-11 happened with the pilot of American flight 77 being our classmate, I was living on Maui and tried to find him. When I found he had died 8 years earlier, I felt devastated. You must have photos…& more stories. Wish you & I could exchange some more. Our 50th class reunion is actually this October in Anaheim, California. Anyway, just thanks.

  5. sergio gonzalez

    Patrick and I were lovers while in Oberlin College. Last time I saw him was in NYC where he had a job at an antique dealer. We had a date and when I went to the shop to pick him up I was told he did not work there anymore…. My job and travels took me all over the world and I was not able to find him, the most intelligent and loving person I ever met. It’s sad to find out about his last days this way… And after so many years..
    I also miss him a lot (aftet all this time)…


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