I knew who I was and it never bothered me. The thing that bothered me was the fear of getting beat up, or someone not liking me because I was gay.
Most people [are okay with gay people]. But then you are going to have the religious people, who’ll quote things from the Bible and stuff. I don’t even listen to that. I’m comfortable with me. I have to live with me, every single day. I am who I am supposed to be. I don’t want to change my sex or anything; I just want to be me. Straight people, I look at them and think they can be who they are. I don’t criticize them for who they are. I don’t have that right to criticize or judge people because of their clothes, or whatever. I really try not to. We all have our opinions of people, but I don’t go and gossip about other people. If it is a negative feeling I get about other people, then I keep it to myself.
I think [gay men and women] are starting to come together because, when I first came here, the one bar was all men. They would let women come in, but I think the men are accepting women a lot more [now]. Some of them were afraid of some of these butch women; they were afraid they would get beat up. I’d say, “No, they’re not going to beat you up.” But some of them talked that way. The gay women, some of them . . . You’d look the wrong way at somebody’s girlfriend—and you weren’t even flirting with her—the women were more likely to fight than the men did. The men, gay men, don’t really fight, physically. I’ve seen fights with women and they fight just like men. You know, two women fighting and that is not good. Some of the women said derogatory things about the guys. Well, that’s not good. We need to come together as a community and support each other.
I feel so bad for the youth. For some of them, their only meal is at Odyssey, for some of them. Their parents have kicked them out and they have no place to go. There are a lot of homeless kids and that makes me feel real bad.
Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson, 22 November 2006; held in the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.