Bonnie Aspen – Spokane in Perspective

“It took 45 minutes to go to the post office!”

We appreciate smaller communities. We love Spokane. One of the first things Dennis [Ryan, our realtor,] had told us about Spokane before we moved here was, “Oh yeah! It’s great to be gay here! It’s wonderful! Of course, you know, we don’t wave flags. But it’s a great place to be gay!” That was the prevailing attitude when we moved here.


Pride was so big [in the Bay Area], it was overwhelming. After the first two or three years we stopped even going. We just watched it on TV. How obscene is that? We got to watch it on TV. We stayed home, because it was a 6-hour affair, and went on, and on, and on. So, I come here for small-town Pride—I’m walking with Odyssey that year—and it starts in the Civic Theater parking lot, and it’s this somber march. Just this somber walk, broken only by the rhythms from the drum corps. It went from the Civic Theater parking lot, to Howard, to Boone, then toward downtown from Washington, and then into the park. And that was it. Then there were a few business booths. That was it. It was like a community fair. So, maybe 20 booths. Maybe 200 people [attended] through the afternoon. It was Sunday. So it was really dead quiet. And we weren’t allowed to have floats. Technically, we couldn’t even call it a “parade.” It was a “march.”

[Now, our Pride celebration is] amazing. Patricia Nell Warren has a really wonderful article available on the internet about why Prides are dying. The Prides that are very urban, only about sex, and not about the entirety of our lives, really are dwindling.[1]


People say, “Gosh, so you were this much of a community activist in the Bay Area?” and it’s like, “Are you joking?” It took 45 minutes to go to the post office!

[1]“Why Do Some Pride Festivals Die?” Originally published at, 27 July2001. In January 2014 available at:


Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson, 15 August 2007; transcribed by J. Zander; edited by Laura S. Hodgman. Audio file held in the Museum of Arts and Culture.