- Published: Monday, February 22 2016
- Written by Bill Harrison
When folks of my generation came out, there was a certain amount of separation between the gay men and the gay or lesbian women. We were, to a certain extent, traveling different paths. Women were often already discriminated against in the workplace, be it salaries or promotions so their battles incorporated more than their sexual orientations. There were not that many events that rallied the two genders as one. Women had their groups and we men had ours.
Then came AIDS. If there was one positive from that nightmare, it was that it helped unite our community. Women were on the forefront of the movement, leading AIDS organizations, recruiting volunteers, raising money, caring for the sick.
I have often wondered if AIDS had been a “lesbian disease,” if we gay men would have rallied to the cause as did the women. I would like to think so, but I really do not know.
What prompted me to visit this issue was a Diversity Richmond fundraiser that I attended recently. Another article in this newsletter talks of the success of the Eileen Edmonds event. There were about 75 people there, with maybe 6 of the crowd being men.
As I stood there and watched people mingle, laughing, sharing stories, renewing acquaintances, I felt so proud. While I am not a woman, I knew I was watching my community at its best.
I was also especially pleased as two women who recently moved to Richmond had stopped by our offices a few days prior and were able to attend Eileen's event. What better welcome could they have received?
There will probably always be a need for “women's space,” but thankfully many of the walls came tumbling down years ago. And much of that is due to women reaching across our aisles and setting the examples of what love is really all about.