Equal Rights Blog Hop
There’s a blog hop in celebration of the 4th of July today at Queertown Abbey and I’m contributing with a short post about my first experience in the LGBTI community. There will be prizes and much more, and I’m going to link to everything you’ll need to know. At the end of this post I’ll ask a question related to my post.
My first experience:
My first experience in the LGBTI community happened during my senior year in college. I went to Fairleigh Dickinson University in Florham Park, NJ, and even thought I was within minutes of New York City, I didn’t have any real contact with anything LGBTI related in a local sense. There’s always been a running joke that younger gay men put more miles on their cars than straight men because they tend to travel farther. And that’s exactly what I did.
I remember reading about a gay-friendly town in Pennsylvania called New Hope. I saw it mentioned in a magazine, with comments about how New Hope had always been considered a theater town. In the 1930’s and 40’s The Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope hosted many of the biggest Broadway Shows before they went to Broadway, and famous actors, performers, artists, and authors either lived in New Hope or went there often because it was so close to New York.
But it was the gay-friendly aspect that sparked my curiosity. So one Thursday night I left the comfort of FDU’s campus and venture out to New Hope to see what it was all about. It was about an hour’s drive, and right on the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border. The moment I crossed the little bridge into Pennsylvania I knew I’d found something interesting. The main section of town was adorable, with Victorian and Edwardian homes that had been turned into shops, and manicured to perfect. But I wasn’t shopping that night. I wanted to find out more about what it was like to be gay, so I drove to the outskirts of town where there was a little purple building with a sign that read, “The New Prelude.”
It was a gay nightclub/restaurant, with a large parking lot and in a rather remote section at the end of town. It was a Thursday night and there weren’t many people there, which I’d planned on purpose. I wasn’t ready for a busy night at the gay bar that first time. So I parked outside for a few minutes to see who was going inside, and to gather up the courage myself to go inside.
I waited for about twenty minutes in the car. I watched a few people arrive and walk through the front entrance in pairs or small groups. I wondered how they met, or how they found each other. I was coming from a world where I knew nothing at all about gay life or how gay people actually met. This was also the 1990’s and pre-internet age. The only connection to anything gay were old hard copy books like The Gay Yellow Pages.
In any event, I finally climbed out of my car and headed into the bar. The moment I stepped inside I felt as if I’d gone home. It’s a strange feeling to describe. It was the first time I’d ever actually felt that way. I didn’t feel the need to pretend anymore. I didn’t feel as if I had to put up invisible walls to protect myself. For the first time in my life I could be who I was without having to think too hard. And that night it had nothing to do with sex. It was all about community, emotion, feeling comfortable, and so many other emotions that were all knew to me.
Question: What is the name of the gay bar in my post?
I hope I did this correctly. I’m sure most of you know more about it than I do.