See, I thought everyone on MSN was gay because I am new to computers. And my friend Cathy set it up for me. I didn’t know anything about it. So, I just came right out and asked [Beth]. I said “Are you gay?” There was a long pause. I thought maybe I’d said the wrong thing. Then she wrote back, “Well, yes, I am. But why would you ask a person you don’t know a question like that?” I said, “Because I thought that everyone on MSN was gay. My friend from Canada set it up for me. I thought it was a part of gay.com.”
I went to the bars a couple of times and they were kind of cliquey. Except this one guy: his name was Bob. There was this one place, it was called the Backwoods. I went there. I was just sitting there and he said, “You look kind of sad.” He was the nicest one to me. He introduced me to some of the women. I’m not one to go up and start talking to people.
***[People] have their little cliques. If you are new to Spokane and you go to the bars and stuff, the women just aren’t that friendly. I’m friendly. If I see somebody new, I go up, say, “Hi,” and introduce them to my friends. They still go to the bar sometimes. I just don’t like the bar scene anymore. I used to live in the bars. You introduce them and then someone says, “Oh, I’m going to be having a party and you’re welcome to come to my party.”
It’s the same way at [the EMC] Church. I know how I felt when I first came [to Spokane]. We had about 125 members and I know how the people made me feel. They were so nice and friendly. I thought, “Boy, I’m going to treat new people the way I was treated when I came.” We are down to 30 some members now. Some people moved away, or they didn’t like the pastor or something. I have a lot of social time at church. Just small get-togethers, small potlucks.
Some people aren’t church people, so they go to the bars. A lot of lesbians have things at their homes. I was at a do at someone’s house the other day and there were women there that I hadn’t even met. They’ll have card parties or dinner parties. That is how they socialize, because so many of them are professional women; they don’t want to be found out. So, they do things in their homes, instead of going to bars.
There was, at one time, I think four [gay bars in Spokane]. Buddies, Pumps, and Signatures. I don’t know what happened. When you’d go they’d be just packed. Signature’s was probably the best one. It was on the corner of Boone and Washington. Right now it’s a computer school. Right by the [Spokane] Arena. But when I was going to church, the way I was welcomed really made me feel good.
The [gay people in Spokane] that I know, say around my age, once in a great while they go to the bar. But they go to things like the [LGBT] Film Festival, different things that they have during Pride week.
Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson, 22 November 2006; held in the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.