Peter Williams – Sociability

“Hey, we’re having this lesbian women’s meeting.”

[In the] early years, there was no place other than the bars. If you didn’t go to the bars, you had your little knit group that you socialized with. People that I met through the Lesbian Connection, they would get together somewhat regularly and have potlucks. So there was that. If you went to the bars, you were into the bar scene and you socialized there.

For—how many years?—[there] was no place that was just a gay-lesbian storefront, where people can meet. For years. Odyssey [Youth Center] has the house on Perry now, but how long did that take? As people were less scared of being out, they could meet a more diverse group of people. And, as the universities started having student groups, as Spokane evolved, on a level where [homosexuality] was out there more, then people got to have more exposure, I guess, to other people—people different than them.

When I moved to Spokane, it seemed everything was insular. You know, you had this group, and you knew these people, and that was it. You had this group over here, and they knew these people and that was it. That was one of the great things when we formed the women’s group at the Y[MCA]: we brought people from the bars, and spread the word. We would go to places and say, “Hey, we’re having this lesbian women’s meeting. Why don’t you come?” So we got people that normally didn’t talk to each other. How do you do that in a closed society? Which is what Spokane seemed to be when I first moved here.

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Sources: Interviews with Laura S. Hodgman on 9 November 2012, 3 December 2012, and 20 February 2014.