Reflections on Coming Out in Baltimore | WYPR

Reflections on Coming Out in Baltimore

Jun 11, 2014

Credit Seth Sawyers/flickr

The interviews heard in this segment originally aired on October 11, 2013. 

This weekend, members of the LGBTQ community and their allies will gather for Baltimore Pride 2014.  The Pride Festival has grown exponentially in recent years.  The growth of Pride is a testament to how many people have come out, as society has moved toward equal treatment for gays, lesbians and transgendered people.   But in the early years of the gay rights movement, many people experienced great difficulty in coming out.   Last year, in honor of National Coming Out Day, we heard from Marylanders as they reflected on their experiences when they came out to their family and friends. Today, we revisit that conversation. 

Artist Denise Duarte and her partner Marlene Adrian interviewed several longtime members of Baltimore’s LGBT community for the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore’s (GLCCB) LGBT History Project. Today we will hear from two of the participants in that project. 

Page Campbell is a Baltimorean in her early 70s. She identifies as a lesbian. When we spoke with her last October, she told us what it was like for her coming out in 1984.

Louis Hughes, 70, is a co-founder of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore, and a long-time health advocate and civil rights activist.

When he spoke with Tom Hall last October, Hughes talked about what it was like when he came out in 1974. That was a year after the  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders removed its ‘diagnosis’ of homosexuality.  

Update from Page

When we reached out to Page for an update, she wanted to share this:

"I believe I may have failed to mention a few important resources/events that helped me integrate into the lesbian community. 

1. Working on a collective that produced a monthly lesbian newsletter called "Women's Express"

2. Going to "coffeehouses" produced by another lesbian collective; these consisted of entertainment accompanied by refreshments.

3. Attending women's dances produced by still another collective.

I believe I mentioned attending women's festivals in various parts of the country including the New England Women's Retreat in upstate New York and, for may years, Campfest, held in Oxford, PA.  And then of course there was "Women's music" by such artists as Cris Williamson, Meg Christian, and Holly Near.  One of Holly's song that helped me a lot, as I listened to it many times, was "Imagine My Surprise (To Find That I Love You.)"

Update from Louis

"I am now 70 years young and happy to be living in MD."