by Billy Russo
We were once a Community. There was the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a 24 hour helpline, Mixed Company, Metropolitan Community Church, archival projects, a community center, monthly newsletter, a variety of self help and discussion groups, and meetings galore. Those institutions made us a community. When GRID/HTLV-III/SITA/LAV/HIV/AIDS began decimating the gay community, we partnered with community agencies and Public Health to devise a strong response. That was the way it was in Roseburg during the last quarter of the 20th Century.
By the start of this Century, all was crumbling. Three institutions remain, but in name only: the 24 hour helpline, the Douglas County Gay Archives, and the Coalition for Sexual Minority Youth. The Coalition remained active through the spring of 2005. The helpline shut down in 2011.
Club Queer existed through the school year of 2004-05. It started with a bang, then fizzled. Geoff & I were able to rekindle it through a State-run pilot project targeting sexually active gays at the Harm Reduction Center in Douglas County.
On November 12th in collaboration with Rural Organizing Project , the Coalition for Sexual Minority Youth brought the generations together for an evening of social activities at the county museum. A showing of Out of the Silence, led by the film's directors connected us--ever so briefly--with the national community around issues of fairness, equality and human rights for GLBTQ people. Social activities followed: pizza & a not-so-successful dance.
A lgbtq steering commitee formed shortly after the museum event...click on Evolution and other links in the left sidebar to learn more.