Adult sex dating in fitler mississippi
I was particularly interested in interviewing Bello because she was a leader in the Philadelphia chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Philadelphia-based Homophile Action League; I also thought that because she was a Cuban American and an immigrant to the United States, she would have useful and interesting things to say about Philadelphia gay and lesbian life. In October 1993, I provided Bello with a copy of the transcript of our interview; she made several corrections that I have incorporated into the text that follows. When I first came to this country, I was aware of the tremendous discrimination, but somehow I didn't think it was real. So I kept calling from the paper and nobody wanted to settle on the phone. I was going through finals and I didn't have time to be driving all over town.
I knew a whole group of lesbians that I had met indirectly through Lourdes who were all schoolteachers. At some point, in fact, they actually distanced themselves from me because they found out I frequented bars. I mean they killed two presidents of the student association within six months. But the effect was that they had to close the university because once they sent them in, it was just too much. MS: You said you knew some lesbians and gay men at the university in Havana? But there was no acceptance and they could actually be beaten up without any consequences. MS: Did you ever meet with any kind of violence or legal problems? But it was far worse than the dormitory at LSU, where I had to sign in and out, because it seemed to me that out of the seventeen women, there were sixteen guardians. AB: Well I think that there were things that probably they would have. AB: Well the attitude that they had that whenever they wanted to ridicule something they would use female names or pronouns, which still exists today, but I think they're a little bit more careful. And there were some gay men that I felt were anti-female. It was a pain, because it sort of limited whom you could approach. MS: And was that true for the Cuban Americans that you knew in Louisiana, as well as for the native-born Americans? I think because the more restrictive a society you come from, the more you tend to see yourself as a reflection of the society that oppresses you. And whether it was here or in Timbuktu, once I felt that I could be myself, I didn't have to mimic the larger society. A friend of mine had moved here and I knew that I had a place to stay until I found a job. Without the constitutional guarantees to protect the autonomy, the students would have risks. If I had done anything that would have made me suspect, I would have been in really big trouble. And they were able to say things about females, perhaps not gay females but straight women, that now they would probably think twice before saying: “bitch” and all that sort of stuff. MS: What about what I know later came to be called role playing and butch/fem? And also in a relationship, I was never too impressed with that. I mean to this day, when I saw the Cubans coming in 1980 with the Mariel exodus, they were still playing husband and wife. MS: If there was a Cuban person here who said to you that you didn't get into the butch/fem lifestyle because you were becoming more American, how would you have responded? I interviewed Ada Bello on February 7, 1993, at her home in East Falls, Philadelphia. I had found people like me and there was a world that I could just go in anytime I wanted. It's the sort of environment where you could be yourself within reason. So even if they didn't like it, they couldn't do much. MS: Did you know any other gay or lesbian businesses in the city, aside from bars, that you would go to because you knew that it was a comfortable space? I knew about Bello primarily because I had earlier transcribed the audiotape of a 1983 public forum in Philadelphia in which Bello and Barbara Gittings discussed their involvement in the homophile movement. Integration at the level of the middle class was so much easier. I had some incidents that I found funny, never having experienced discrimination. My parents came to visit for a month the last summer that I was in school and I had to get an apartment for them. Transcribed by Katharine Bausch, Kate Wilson, and Marc Stein. I don't know if you're familiar with the autonomy of the universities in most of Latin America and also some countries in Europe. I had some friends, but by then practically everybody that I knew was a lesbian. In fact I knew some guys there that I didn't know were gay. MS: Why don't you describe for me some of the places you went to in New Orleans? There were quite elegant places in the Quarter that attracted an older clientele. It probably had a French name because it had been there for a long time. He said, “Hello,” and so I said, “Hello,” and that was it. MS: So were most of the places mixed, gay men and lesbians, or were some places just lesbians? And outside the Quarter there was another bar that was all lesbians and it was called the Tender Trap, which I think had been a movie title. It seemed to me that it had more working class clientele. I had to put up with some of the conversation about the Freedom Riders. And that was going to put a barrier between me and everybody else. You don't understand.” So I guess in a way I was saved by the fact that I wasn't one of them. So coming north to me was a great liberation in that respect. It might still be there, if anybody goes to the beach in Atlantic City anymore. And of course the men—now I'm going to sound like the old gay guys sounded about women—always took the whole apartment to the beach. There was a woman, actually, who received everybody on top of the stairs and insisted on kissing them. She probably was just the bouncer, but I don't think that would happen today. She was good friend of people I knew and of my friend Lourdes. The Businessmen's Association didn't last too long.
MS: I thought I would start by asking about your early years in Cuba and then in Louisiana. They're autonomous in the sense that the police of the country had no control over the territory. And I suspect that it coincides with countries that had a strong Catholic background and population. In fact, I think it was owned or run by a woman who was like a character. AB: Well most of the places in the Quarter were mixed. MS: I think I've seen a news item about that because I think there was a fire there. It was in one of the neighborhoods rather than in the Quarter. Did you find anything substantially different from Havana because you weren't a native to this country? I was basically afraid that they were going to ask me my opinion. Somebody did ask me once and I just tried to explain to them that I thought that it was very unfair. Ralph Bunche, the black guy, had just gotten the Nobel Peace Prize. I remember walking around Germantown and seeing the variety of people. I just had driven up in two days from Louisiana and was half dead. That was really a rather large concentration of gay people. They had a blanket and they had books and they had radios and hair dryers. She was one of the contacts that she had had when she came to Philadelphia. AB: That must have been the same year, 1962 actually, because that was the year that I covered all bars.
It was obvious that they were trying to mimic heterosexual couples. I mean I couldn't do a lot of the things a butch was supposed to do, so I was at a disadvantage. But in a couple of cases I might have developed more interest in somebody except that I knew that this person considered herself a butch and I couldn't approach her.
At the same time, I didn't cover particularly because in a way they were not only liberals, but they had an obligation to act liberal. MS: Did you know any other lesbians or gay men who worked there? I'm sure again that they probably were there, but I never did meet anyone there.
AB: Well especially for people who couldn't go to the bars. MS: She was an older woman who decided to start the chapter and somehow she got in touch with you. And I saw something about how there were seventeen women at the first meeting.
It was a real party for an occasion, not just an opportunity to get together because there was no other place to get together. But you said a second ago that you think the house parties were as important as the bars?
They had to go out as a group and then they would go to one of their apartments and maybe have coffees and drinks. It was an older woman who had had a long relationship with another woman and the other woman had died.