Audio Interview, Bruce Clark, June 5, 2013

  • EVELYN BAILEY: Today is June 5, I believe.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yes.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And I'm sitting here
  • with Bruce Clark, who lives in Interlaken on the lake.
  • And it's an incredible vista.
  • The water is-- well, there are few waves,
  • but it's very, very pretty.
  • And I'm asking Bruce about the gay community
  • that he finds here in Interlaken now,
  • and then we'll go back in time to his Rochester days
  • of being involved in the community to some degree.
  • So, Bruce, you were sharing with me that you
  • would be considered a towny--
  • BRUCE CLARK: That's right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --here in Interlaken or in Ithaca.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Especially in Ithaca.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And you were sharing with me an incident
  • of your going to a--
  • BRUCE CLARK: A social event.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --a social event for LGBT people?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yes.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: OK.
  • BRUCE CLARK: A men's group.
  • And I was seated at the table.
  • I was in the middle of the table with some men, probably
  • I would say twenty years younger than I am.
  • And I got up to use the restroom.
  • And when I came back, they had moved my dinner down
  • to the end of the table, and moved some young college kid
  • right up with them, which I thought was very out of place.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Well, very disrespectful.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yes.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And not welcoming for sure.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Even though they say they're welcoming,
  • they have their eyes on the younger generation,
  • and they just don't respect the older people.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Mm-hm.
  • Now, when you were young growing up in Rochester--
  • we're talking the '40s?
  • '50s?
  • BRUCE CLARK: '40s and '50s.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Let's start with--
  • where did you go to school?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I went to school at Washington Irving school.
  • Out in Chili in Rochester.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And high school?
  • BRUCE CLARK: And high school, I went
  • to John Marshall high school.
  • And it was a magnificent school, magnificent teachers,
  • and everyone seemed to get along well.
  • It was one of the best schools I ever attended.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Were you out at that point?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I was out, oh, yes.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Had you identified?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I had to identified as being gay.
  • But it was an era where you had to be very, very careful.
  • One of my friends, his parents discovered he was gay,
  • and they sent him off to a mental institution
  • for treatment.
  • And I don't know whatever they did to him, but he came home,
  • and he was a mess.
  • He never ever really survived.
  • He's still around, but he just sits there.
  • And he just has no motivation.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Mm-hm.
  • How did you find out about the quote, unquote,
  • "gay social life" in Rochester at that time?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, we had a gay group
  • in high school, a secret club.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Really?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yes, And back in that era,
  • there was a song called "Fernando's Hideaway."
  • And we had a little secret room in the school
  • where we'd meet after school.
  • And one time, we even put a message on the PA system.
  • There will be a meeting at Fernando's at 3:30.
  • The teachers had no idea what was going on.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But the students did?
  • BRUCE CLARK: The gay students did.
  • They kept it very, very--
  • no one ever found out about it.
  • Yeah.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And once you graduated from high school,
  • did you go on to college?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • My father said queers are not welcome in college.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Were you out to your family?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, he just suspected.
  • This was after high school.
  • He suspected-- it was difficult.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And when you think
  • about that period of time, what were the labels that were used?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Queers and faggot, mainly.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And at that point--
  • BRUCE CLARK: My cohorts use the word gay.
  • And there were two gay bars we used to-- actually,
  • there were three.
  • There was Dick's Tavern on Front Street.
  • And right next door was Ma Martin's right next store.
  • And we used to frequent there.
  • And I had a lesbian girlfriend, who we covered for each other.
  • And it really worked well because my parents
  • thought I was going out with a young lady.
  • And so we worked it that way for a while.
  • Actually, I wasn't going out with her at all.
  • I was going out with my friends.
  • But they thought I was going out with my girlfriend.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: What was the third bar?
  • There was Dick's?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Alan.
  • It was the Alan House on Alan Street.
  • And that was mainly a lesbian place.
  • I remember going in there one night.
  • And they said it's couples only.
  • And I was with another young man.
  • I said, oh, we're a couple.
  • And they said, OK, you can go in.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Where did you work, or did you--
  • BRUCE CLARK: At that time, I worked in a music store
  • until they discovered I was gay, and then they fired me.
  • Maybe they had just suspected.
  • I think they said they saw me coming out
  • of the gay bar or something.
  • And that was it.
  • They just said, no more.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Describe, if you can
  • remember, what was Dick's like?
  • And who--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, it was a long, narrow, rather dirty bar.
  • And it was owned by Dick Gruttadauria and his wife
  • Martha.
  • And I don't know whether they had connections or something,
  • but it was never raided, like some of the gay bars
  • were raided in that era.
  • And they'd just take everybody out of the bar
  • and put them into paddy wagons, take them to jail,
  • and put their names in the paper,
  • and their life was ruined.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Mm-hm.
  • Mm-hm.
  • But Dick's was never, to your knowledge, was never raided?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No, not that I know of.
  • I think they had connections with the police, really.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Well, other people
  • who have been interviewed, who have been
  • to Dick's, Whitey LeBlanc--
  • BRUCE CLARK: I vaguely remember the name.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --recalls policemen coming into the bar.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, yes.
  • There was a policeman named Sammy.
  • And he was friendly with all of the--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And Martha would pay him.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Probably, yeah.
  • Could be.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: He recalls observing
  • a financial transaction.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, really?
  • Oh, OK.
  • No, but I knew he was very friendly.
  • And nobody had feared him at all.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Do you know if he was gay?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I don't think so.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: OK.
  • BRUCE CLARK: But he used to do things.
  • He'd run his nightclub between your legs and say,
  • you like that?
  • And then he'd leave.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Wow.
  • Was there a dance floor?
  • BRUCE CLARK: There was a dance floor,
  • but dancing was illegal, unless you
  • paid to have a dance license.
  • But they would dance.
  • And then all of a sudden the police would come,
  • and then Martha would get up, say no dancing,
  • and then people would stop, and when the police would go away,
  • they'd start dancing.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Was there a back room?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • It's long, narrow, like this porch.
  • It was long and narrow.
  • And I'll tell you, there were some nights in there,
  • if you'd get your hands up in there,
  • you couldn't get them down.
  • There were so many people in there.
  • Everybody smoked, and I didn't.
  • But you'd come home, you'd have to leave your clothes
  • outside because the fumes from cigarettes.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Now, that was on Front Street, correct?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yeah, and right next store as Ma Martins.
  • And Ma Martin was quite a character.
  • She must have weighed about 300 pounds,
  • and she was about four foot two tall.
  • And she had diamonds on all her fingers,
  • and she wasn't very clean.
  • And she was almost bald, but she wore this little, tiny, beanie.
  • And then she'd say, rough stuff, boys.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: What kind of an area was Front Street?
  • BRUCE CLARK: It was a very seedy area.
  • And a lot of people wouldn't even go down there.
  • At the end, there were meat markets, and pawn shops.
  • I never went too far.
  • I didn't explore very far because there
  • were a lot of derelicts and drunks
  • laying in the street, and--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Mm-hm.
  • Was there a theater, or the Corinthian?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Corinthian?
  • That was before my time.
  • But I do remember the name, Corinthian Theater.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: OK.
  • Aside from that geographic area in Rochester,
  • were there any other areas that were identified as quote,
  • unquote "gay friendly" or--
  • BRUCE CLARK: The Town and Country Restaurant
  • was gay-owned.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Up on East Avenue?
  • BRUCE CLARK: It was on Gibbs Street,
  • right across from the Eastman School.
  • And a lot of musicians, and artists, and people
  • would hang out there.
  • It was, as I say, gay-owned.
  • I can't remember the name of the fella who owned it.
  • But it was very dignified.
  • You had to wear a jacket and tie to go in there.
  • And they had a piano player, Helen Christy, her name was.
  • And she was an excellent pianist.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Did you know any of the political people?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yeah.
  • I knew Mrs. Holly Ward.
  • She was the grand dam of Rochester.
  • In fact, I have her picture out in the kitchen.
  • And she used to go to The Town and Country every Friday
  • and Saturday night, and drink martinis.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Now, what do you mean by grand dam?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, if there were any social functions,
  • she would always be there to stand up and introduce people.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Was she on City Council?
  • Do you recall?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I don't know.
  • I think you could Google her, and you
  • could find out a lot about her.
  • But she was very gay friendly.
  • The word, she never mentioned the word gay.
  • But she was very welcoming and friendly with people.
  • She loved everyone.
  • In fact, I walked her home a few nights
  • because she didn't want to walk home alone.
  • And she lived right up on Grove Place, I believe it was.
  • And she had a beautiful home there.
  • And I just walked her home so that she
  • wouldn't be alone walking.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And we're talking 19--
  • BRUCE CLARK: '50.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: '50?
  • Were you aware of any changes in attitude or culture--
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --through the '50s?
  • BRUCE CLARK: People were very prejudiced against gay people.
  • And you had to be very careful, though I
  • did have a couple of gay teachers in school.
  • But we were very respectful, and we did not out them,
  • because they respected us, and we respected them.
  • I never outed any of them.
  • They're both dead now, so I guess it doesn't matter.
  • But I never said anything to anyone about them
  • until after they died.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Within the school system
  • itself, as a high school student, or--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, I had an affair with one of my teachers.
  • Yeah.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: As a high school student?
  • BRUCE CLARK: As a high school student, for one year,
  • I had an affair with one of my teachers.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But you indicated to me
  • that the pervading atmosphere was that of prejudice,
  • and negativity, and--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Absolutely.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: There was a tremendous amount of fear
  • in being--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, yes.
  • And in fact, the teacher that I had the affair with
  • broke up because he was afraid if we were ever found out
  • he would lose his job, and there would be a terrible mess.
  • But about the same time, I had met a German immigrant,
  • and we became very close.
  • So it eased the transition so that I didn't get too upset
  • about the break-up of the relationship
  • that I had with the teacher.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Now, this may sound like a stupid question,
  • but when you identified yourself as being
  • gay, how did you recognize anyone else who was?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I'm not sure how that was.
  • But we just had a gay group within the school.
  • And one would learn about the other.
  • And then, of course, we used to go to the bar sometimes.
  • I think I went in there before I was eighteen.
  • And they didn't question things like they do today.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • BRUCE CLARK: And well, we had our special friends,
  • and we'd hang out together.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: So it was really by word of mouth, by--
  • BRUCE CLARK: That's right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --by connection?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Mm-hm.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And did you have friends who were not gay?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yes, I did.
  • And the problem-- they felt terrible,
  • because we didn't include them.
  • We were going out for the evening.
  • And I remember one friend Ed.
  • And he said, how come you never invite me?
  • And he said, oh, I feel so bad.
  • Well, I said, well, if you really want to know, we're gay.
  • And we didn't think that you would appreciate it,
  • or we didn't--
  • Well, I can't believe that.
  • And he told his parents.
  • And his parents, they wouldn't let me in the house anymore.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Oh, my.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yeah.
  • And they never spoke to me again.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But he certainly didn't out you
  • at school, or identify you in--
  • BRUCE CLARK: I don't think so, no.
  • I had my girlfriend, my lesbian girlfriend.
  • Well, you have a girlfriend?
  • You're not gay, right?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • Right.
  • After the music store, where did you find a niche for working,
  • or did you wander around?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, I tinkered with pianos
  • for a number of years.
  • And what I would do is I'd go out and buy an old piano,
  • haul it home to my parent's garage,
  • and recondition it, and sell it.
  • So I made money that way.
  • And my parents thought I was crazy.
  • But hey, I made money.
  • They didn't.
  • My cohorts were out playing ball,
  • and I don't know what all they were doing.
  • But the pianos, I still have two of the pianos.
  • And -- one we threw--
  • they're amazing pianos.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And do you play?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • They're automatic pianos that play paper rolls.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Oh yeah.
  • Yeah, that's a long time ago.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, these are special pianos.
  • You'll see them reproduced.
  • They reproduce the artist playing.
  • And one of my gayest friends, I mean,
  • he was a walking advertisement, and bleached his hair,
  • and did all kinds of things.
  • And his mother, she was sort of went along with it.
  • And she had-- they were twins.
  • But the other twin was not gay.
  • They were non-identical twins.
  • But one was gay and one wasn't.
  • So I remember the first time I went over to visit him.
  • He came to the door in an evening gown.
  • And his mother was sitting there reading.
  • And it didn't seem to phase her at all.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Was his name Bjorn?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No, it was Peanuts.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: OK.
  • BRUCE CLARK: His-- actually, it was Robert, his name was.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: So--
  • BRUCE CLARK: And his neighbor across the street was gay.
  • So Robert, and PJ, and we all hung out together, Richard.
  • And we'd all go to the movies together, Friday nights,
  • or Saturday nights.
  • And then after the movies, we'd go to Dick's Tavern.
  • We'd stay until 1:00 or 2:00 until closing.
  • And then there's a restaurant across the street
  • called The Southerner.
  • And a gay-friendly waitress in there.
  • I'd go in, and I'd order something.
  • She'd-- oh, honey, don't order that.
  • It's been in the refrigerator way too long.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Was there the drag scene?
  • BRUCE CLARK: There was.
  • There was a place behind Sibley's called RGDA.
  • And, actually, what it was, was the Rochester Gasoline Dealers
  • Association.
  • But apparently, they didn't have much business.
  • So they opened it up, and became gay friendly,
  • and they would have drag shows and things,
  • and-- what would I say--
  • carnival type things.
  • I remember I went as a prince or something.
  • And I wasn't into drag, unless it was comic drag.
  • One time, I dressed as Ma Martin.
  • And everybody almost died laughing
  • because I looked so much like her, because they had stuffed
  • me with bed pillows. (laughter)
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But my assumption is that those drag events
  • and shows were not advertised.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, they were advertised
  • among the gay people.
  • We had to buy tickets and things.
  • My mother found a ticket in one of my pockets one day,
  • and had a fit.
  • She said you aren't going to that, are you.
  • And I said, oh, no.
  • I got the ticket for Richard.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Now, in the '50s and '60s,
  • there were no gay newspapers.
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • Well, there's the Mattachine Society.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Mattachine?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yeah, Mattachine, yeah.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But they had more socialist--
  • BRUCE CLARK: There was another one called One--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: One?
  • BRUCE CLARK: --that my friend used
  • to have, and hide in his house.
  • And I'd go over and look at them.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And that was a magazine, I believe.
  • BRUCE CLARK: I think so.
  • I was never too interested.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • And then did you ever hear of the police blotter We?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I think I did hear of it.
  • Yes.
  • But I don't' recall too much about it.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah, We was--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Was exposing some of the gay places, was it?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: It was a police report.
  • And not just gay, but anything that happened in the city
  • that--
  • BRUCE CLARK: I think my grandmother used to get it.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --yeah, was criminal activity.
  • One of the articles in there was Queers At Sears.
  • They would frequent the men's room at Sears
  • down on Monroe Avenue and were discovered.
  • And then there was a raid, and you know.
  • The attitude of the police at the time and law enforcement,
  • there were raids in bars, and people were arrested and thrown
  • in jail.
  • Do you recall whether there were, in a sense,
  • formal charges?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I escaped them all.
  • Somehow, luck was with me.
  • I never got involved.
  • And another of my friends, that I knew of, were involved.
  • I had one friend of a friend was--
  • what did I say he was--
  • oh, the guy pretended to be gay.
  • And it was an undercover cop.
  • And he pretended to be gay.
  • And then when the guy made a movie,
  • he arrested him and hauled him off to jail.
  • Entrapment.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Entrapment.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yeah.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And the parks, the parks
  • were another place where--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, yes.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --gays would frequent.
  • But my sense-- well, later perhaps in the '90s and '80s,
  • my sense was that most of the men who
  • frequented parks were married.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Many were.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But earlier on, I would
  • think that that was not necessarily
  • the case because there were not places where men or women could
  • go to socialize, or to meet, or to have casual sex.
  • And so they would go to the parks.
  • Durand-- I think was--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Duran-- oh, yes, I think my friends lived right
  • at Durand.
  • I'd have to drive through there to get-- they
  • lived on Spring Valley Drive.
  • And I'd have to drive through the park to get up there.
  • And a lot of the gay friends-- oh, I saw you.
  • You were driving through the park.
  • I was like, no, i was on my way home. (laughter)
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Bruce, how did you
  • manage to live your life openly as a gay man
  • as much as you could when the resources available were not
  • plentiful?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: You certainly had the bars.
  • And I have heard that there were a lot of small parties.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, yes.
  • Oh, there were.
  • Yes.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And if you were connected well enough,
  • you could get invited.
  • But if you weren't, you were out there just hanging on a limb.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: When did some of that
  • begin to change in terms of social organizations, or--
  • BRUCE CLARK: There were no social organizations.
  • And then there were Just friends.
  • And I was lucky to have some excellent friends.
  • I had some wonderful friends.
  • And I miss them.
  • I've outlived them all.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Wow.
  • Now, when did you meet your former partner?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I met my former partner in 1972 or 1973,
  • I believe.
  • And we courted for a year.
  • And he worked for Seneca Falls.
  • And I met him at a country auction,
  • and invited him over for dinner.
  • And he liked my cooking, and he came back, and invited me
  • to his place.
  • And we decided-- my grandparents had died,
  • and my grandmother had left me this house.
  • And he said, well, what would you
  • think of moving to the summer place
  • and converting if for year-round use?
  • And I said, well, that's about all we can do.
  • We had very little funds to work with.
  • So we did.
  • And the first year, we moved in '73 in May of '73.
  • I moved in in January of '73.
  • And it was a mild winter and all.
  • We had a storm that was unbelievable.
  • And we were snowed out, really.
  • Our car, we had to keep our car down by the mailbox
  • and walk a half mile in and out.
  • And we lived in one room.
  • It was so cold.
  • And we had one heater, kerosene heater.
  • And we had to haul our kerosene in in five-gallon cans.
  • And then the price of kerosene went beyond us.
  • And so with the woods behind the house,
  • we decided we would get a chainsaw,
  • and we'd cut up wood and heat the house with wood.
  • And we did that for four or five years.
  • And we gradually added storm windows,
  • and insulated, and made improvements ourselves.
  • And we were extremely happy for thirty-eight years.
  • And then his hip started bothering him.
  • And he said, oh, I went to the doctor.
  • And they discovered arthritis in my hip.
  • And he said I'm going to have hip surgery, hip replacement
  • surgery.
  • And I said, oh, I don't know.
  • His heart was not good.
  • And I thought, oh, I really hope you don't in a way.
  • But I didn't want to influence him.
  • So I just said, well, whatever you decide.
  • He went into the hospital, and he died.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Wow.
  • BRUCE CLARK: It was just too much for his heart.
  • I was with him, and he said, oh, I feel so good today.
  • He said the hip surgery is over with.
  • And he said I'll be coming home on a Friday.
  • This was Wednesday.
  • I'm coming home on Friday.
  • And I said, oh, that's wonderful.
  • And then all of a sudden, his heart alarm went off.
  • And he said, oh, it does that all the time.
  • He said, false alarms, it's nothing.
  • And he just started falling over.
  • And he said I love you.
  • And he died.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Wow.
  • How long ago was that, Bruce?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Just about three years ago.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • It's a short period of time in comparison to your life
  • together.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yeah.
  • We had a wonderful life together.
  • We only had one argument, and that
  • was about the refrigerator.
  • We had a new refrigerator, and it lasted about two years.
  • And it just died.
  • And I couldn't afford--
  • we couldn't afford a new refrigerator.
  • And he was at work one day.
  • And I went to a thrift shop and bought
  • this forty-year-old refrigerator.
  • And he came home, and he said, you
  • brought a forty-year-old refrigerator?
  • I said yeah.
  • It was twenty-five dollars.
  • I said, that's all we could afford.
  • He said, well, you're wasting your money.
  • You know something?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: It's still there.
  • BRUCE CLARK: It's still there.
  • Still runs, energy efficient, no problems.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: They don't make them like that anymore.
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Now, you said you met at an auction.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yes.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Was that out here in the country?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yes, a country auction.
  • I was sitting right next to him.
  • And we were talking.
  • And he was partially in the antiques business part time.
  • And I love the old things too, so I
  • went to the country auction.
  • And that's how we met.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But you also went to Rochester quite often to--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, we would go in the wintertime because--
  • well, before I met him, I would always go to Rochester,
  • and I'd stay with my friend Russell, who was installing
  • a pipe organ in his house.
  • And he gave me a break on rent, so
  • in return for helping him with the pipe organ,
  • cooking, and cleaning.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: OK.
  • Did you ever become involved politically?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Were you aware of The Empty Closet?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, yes.
  • I had a subscription to it.
  • Yeah, I had a subscription to it.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And for when Stonewall happened in the late
  • 60s, early '70s--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yes, I remember that.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --do you have any sense of change in Rochester
  • in terms of--
  • BRUCE CLARK: See, after Stonewall, I never
  • went back to Rochester.
  • We made this our permanent home.
  • And there was nobody to go visit anymore in Rochester.
  • All of our friends were gone.
  • The family was gone.
  • I foolishly made a trip back, and I really felt badly.
  • I shouldn't have gone to see the neighborhood decline
  • the way it did, because I remember
  • a beautiful neighborhood.
  • It was safe and clean.
  • And it was a war zone now, right around Dewey Avenue
  • and in that area, Seneca Parkway.
  • It used to be beautiful.
  • No more.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: No, some of it is coming back, but not all of it,
  • certainly.
  • Once Kodak came in and begin to build, and once--
  • well, Seneca Parkway is still pretty, a pretty street.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, no, I had a friend who lived there.
  • And he said he was broken into and robbed so many times,
  • that he moved out.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Oh, yes.
  • Crime, crime certainly increased.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Even my parent's home,
  • which was right back up to Seneca Parkway, that
  • had been broken into.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: So when you took up residence here, you and--
  • I'm sorry--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Bill.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --Bill, you and Bill, how were you treated?
  • Were you accepted here?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, well, of course,
  • I've lived here all my life.
  • The neighbors accepted me.
  • My first boyfriend I met down the road here.
  • I was ten and he was fourteen.
  • And I remember I came home and cried when he got married.
  • And my grandmother said, don't worry,
  • you'll meet another young man soon.
  • And I don't' know whether my grandmother knew or what.
  • But--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Grandmothers seem to know.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Maybe.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: There were many gay men, whom I've interviewed,
  • who have had strong connections with their grandmothers,
  • and always felt accepted, and loved,
  • and encouraged to be who they were and not
  • to be afraid of being gay.
  • BRUCE CLARK: I had a wonderful friend in Rochester.
  • She was a mother of a couple of my school mates.
  • And so my father came home from the war about 1945 or 1946.
  • And the war did terrible things to him,
  • and he was not the same father.
  • And he became very mean and abusive.
  • So I stayed away from home as much as I could.
  • And well, I stayed here a lot.
  • And I worked as a bartender down the road.
  • And other times, I would take the Greyhound bus
  • from Rochester to Interlaken and walk from Interlaken down here
  • just to stay for the weekend.
  • Sometimes I'd stay alone just to be away from my father.
  • He was very mean.
  • And oh, he treated my mother and myself terribly.
  • I often wondered why she didn't leave him.
  • But--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Well, the war does terrible things to people.
  • And it continues to do that.
  • BRUCE CLARK: But this lady took me under her wing.
  • She was a graduate of the Eastman School.
  • In 1926, she graduated.
  • And she was familiar with gay people.
  • And she said, a lot of gay people were musicians.
  • And she went on and told me about Tchaikovsky.
  • And she said, they were wonderful people.
  • She said, don't put yourself down.
  • She never came out and said gay really
  • until recent years when--
  • well, I shouldn't give out names of things.
  • But she found an organization that I belonged to.
  • It was printed up the paper as a gay organization.
  • And that's how she came to me, and she said,
  • well, I saw you were in with this group.
  • And she goes, I know.
  • She said, I've known.
  • But she said, I just never wanted to say anything.
  • And she said, I've known about you and Bill.
  • And she said, I think it's wonderful.
  • And she said, I wish my own son were gay and not married
  • to that bitch.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: When you look back over your life,
  • did you ever expect that marriage equality would have
  • passed, would have become law?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Not in the early years, no.
  • But Bill did think so.
  • In fact, he gave me a ring a year before he died.
  • And he said, I wish that we could get married.
  • And he said, we will as soon as the law is passed.
  • And of course he never made it.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • Right.
  • BRUCE CLARK: And then when he died,
  • what a mess that was because not being married,
  • we had to fight the probate, and there
  • were forty people in his family that
  • had to sign off on his will, which was $3,000.
  • And there were a couple that said,
  • we didn't approve of their lifestyle,
  • and we're not signing off.
  • So a friend of mine, another lawyer,
  • he was helping with a genius.
  • He looked up the laws and so forth.
  • And he said, if you're not signing off,
  • you have to appear in court.
  • Well, it would have cost this person more
  • to appear in court than what he would have gotten out of that.
  • And so they just automatically said OK.
  • He didn't show up, so he's just as good as signed off.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yeah, there were a couple that did that.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: As you and Bill aged, were there--
  • what difficulties did you experience as seniors
  • in terms of being together, medical insurance--
  • BRUCE CLARK: We paid our own.
  • Yeah.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And did you ever experience
  • any discrimination in terms of doctors or health care?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Not that I know of other than--
  • I suspect that they had students operating on me.
  • They did terrible scars and terrible things
  • that I don't think would have happened
  • if the surgeon himself did it.
  • I suspect that they let students work on him.
  • I don't have any proof.
  • But people just don't have terrible scars.
  • (unintelligible)
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Oh, my.
  • Yeah.
  • BRUCE CLARK: So I suspect.
  • And then these people would come in,
  • and they'd have people around.
  • And the students are looking, and poking,
  • and I had all these staples in me, and I was in agony.
  • And they were poking.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Were you with Bill then?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, yes.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Was there any sense of his not
  • being welcomed to come and see you?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No, no.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: So that was not--
  • BRUCE CLARK: That was in 1999.
  • So--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: OK.
  • Things had--
  • BRUCE CLARK: It was a little bit better.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --somewhat gotten better.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Mm-hm.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Of course, the DSM III changed in 1973, 1974,
  • where homosexuality was no longer considered a personality
  • defect, and diagnosable.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, it's my friend
  • Esther, the lady that took me under her wing.
  • She said, homosexuality is no different than eye color.
  • It's there.
  • There's nothing you can do to change it.
  • Just accept it.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • Right.
  • BRUCE CLARK: I owe a lot to that woman.
  • She was marvelous, absolutely marvelous.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And was she here in Interlaken?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No, she lived in Rochester.
  • But she used to come and visit and stay several weeks
  • each summer.
  • And she was just wonderful to get out of Rochester, and away
  • from my son, as his wife.
  • She said, I prefer you two guys.
  • She said, I have much more fun with you.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • When you think about--
  • and I don't know if you do think about gay rights
  • and gay liberation--
  • what would you say was perhaps one
  • of the most significant legislative pieces that
  • may have happened?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, I think the gay marriage was the most
  • significant.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Even though--
  • BRUCE CLARK: And they decriminalized being gay.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • And the sodomy laws have been repealed, and--
  • are you very familiar with the violence
  • that is rampant in education these days in schools?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No, I have not.
  • The schools here are very liberal.
  • The (unintelligible) school has gay parents
  • of some of the students, gay couples.
  • And they're strict about it.
  • And there would be no bullying, no name calling, nothing.
  • It's a marvelous system over there.
  • They don't put up with any prejudice or anything.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • Yeah, that's not-- well, it's the case on paper in Rochester.
  • But in reality, it's not the case.
  • There are many, many gay--
  • well, not even gay students, many students who
  • look or appear to be different.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, yes.
  • That was in my high school.
  • There was one fellow--
  • I don't know if he's gay or not.
  • But he was very affected and acted
  • like royalty or something.
  • And he would call people peasants and all this and that.
  • And they really-- oh, they bullied him something terrible.
  • And I thought it was terrible that they would do that.
  • And I just didn't make any comments whatsoever.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Because I said, hey, anybody
  • found out about me, then I could be in the same place.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • Right.
  • BRUCE CLARK: But yet we were afraid to associate
  • with him because of all of the bullying.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • That kind of ostracism occurs today as well.
  • It's not just gay students though.
  • It's anyone who in a sense thinks differently, acts
  • differently, looks different, wears clothes
  • that aren't in quote, unquote.
  • BRUCE CLARK: But that was something
  • that went on too in my era.
  • But I was a nonconformist.
  • And if people didn't like what I was doing,
  • that was their problem, not mine.
  • And I would let them know that.
  • If they said, well, you're wearing Levis to school,
  • I said, well, what's wrong with them?
  • Well, everyone else isn't.
  • And I said, well, if everyone else jumped off the bridge,
  • would you?
  • So--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • BRUCE CLARK: --I'd hand it back to them.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Where do you think that sense of--
  • or where do you think that strength comes from?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I think I could see I was
  • right in a lot of these things.
  • I was the first person in Rochester
  • to carry a book bag because I didn't want to lose my books.
  • I didn't want to lose my papers.
  • And I wanted to protect them in rain.
  • So I carried a book bag.
  • Look, Mr. Satchel, look at him, carrying a satchel.
  • Even the teachers made fun of me carrying my book bag.
  • I said, tough luck, I don't lose everything.
  • And if you don't like it, I don't care.
  • So I was the first.
  • And now, you look, everybody has a book bag.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Oh, yes.
  • BRUCE CLARK: And I was the first.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Oh, wow.
  • BRUCE CLARK: I also kept other things in there too.
  • I had a little portable radio and--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Many people, Bruce, many young people
  • go, I'm not strong enough--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --to be their "own person,"
  • quote, unquote, to not let the external influences control
  • what they do, and how they act, and how they behave.
  • BRUCE CLARK: But I would always question why.
  • If they ask me why are they doing this,
  • or why are you different, my father was the same way.
  • He said, you don't want people to think you're different,
  • do you?
  • And I said, well, what do you care?
  • I have a right to do what I want.
  • One day, I drove down to Eastman Kodak
  • to pick him up after work.
  • That door opened, and it looked like a march of the clones.
  • They all had the same style hats, the same style suits,
  • the same type of shoes.
  • They were all afraid of being different.
  • I wore engineer boots because I bought my clothes at the thrift
  • shop.
  • I didn't tell anybody, but I had just a limited amount of money
  • to live on.
  • So I'm just going to be thrifty.
  • So I went to the thrift shop, and I bought tuxedos.
  • I could buy a tuxedo for twenty-five cents
  • And I'd take the pants home.
  • And if they were too long, I learned--
  • I got an old treadle sewing machine.
  • And my father said, only girls sew, you sissy.
  • I said, I don't care what you think.
  • I said, I'm fixing these so that they fit me.
  • And if you don't like it, then you
  • give me money for new pants or something.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Where does that independence come from?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I don't know.
  • Maybe my grandmother, I guess, because grandma
  • didn't have much money, and she made the best of things.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Was your mother an independent woman?
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • No.
  • My mother was so afraid of being different.
  • She couldn't be unique.
  • And she couldn't cook worth darn.
  • And I remember one time I made some split pea soup.
  • And I put some mint in it.
  • And she went, oh, who ever heard of putting mint in pea soup.
  • Well, one time we went to a real fancy restaurant,
  • and they served pea soup, and it had mint on it (laughter).
  • So I got the last laugh.
  • And, of course, my Aunt Marjorie was another character that--
  • oh, she was outrageous.
  • And she helped me along too.
  • When I was fourteen, I told her I was gay.
  • She said, I knew that when you were five.
  • Let's go out and find ourself a man for the night.
  • And we did. (laughter)
  • EVELYN BAILEY: So your grand--
  • well, your aunt, and your grandmother, and--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, Grandmother was very naive.
  • I don't think she knew what gay was all about, really.
  • I don't think so.
  • But Aunt Marjorie certainly did.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But let me share with you.
  • I had an Italian grandmother, who was not
  • all that aware of being--
  • homosexuality either.
  • But she had within her a steel rod that
  • was her benchmark for what was right
  • and what was wrong, whether Joe Schmoe, or Aunt Mary,
  • or whoever said yea and nay, she did what she believed.
  • BRUCE CLARK: I see.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: You know, and I think
  • that's what makes the difference,
  • that you have this sense within you of what it is you are,
  • and what is right, and you live that way regardless
  • of whatever else goes on.
  • BRUCE CLARK: I had another aunt-- well, she really
  • wasn't an aunt.
  • She was actually my godmother.
  • And my father went to school with your husband,
  • and then he made her my godparents.
  • Anyway, she was in the community players in Rochester.
  • And she associated with many, many gay people
  • in the community players and that.
  • And of course gay to her was nothing and it is.
  • Yeah, so she was very accepting of me,
  • along with my Aunt Marjorie, who really had a life--
  • it would take volumes to tell you about it.
  • But she married a multimillionaire in the 1920s.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And then she didn't
  • have to care what anybody else thought.
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • No.
  • She really helped me too along, and said, what do you
  • care what other people think.
  • You do what you want to do.
  • And if other people have a problem, it's theirs.
  • So she helped me a great deal.
  • She was very outspoken.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Now at that time, women really
  • did not have quote, unquote jobs outside of the home?
  • They were--
  • BRUCE CLARK: My mother did.
  • She said, I'm a career woman, and I'm not a housewife.
  • And I go to work, and that's it.
  • I don't-- and she hasn't cooked very much.
  • You opened a can of spaghetti, and warm it up,
  • and that was my dinner.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Mm-hm.
  • BRUCE CLARK: So and if she did cook anything, it was burnt.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But that was new.
  • That was not the norm for most women in the country.
  • They were married, had kids, stayed home,
  • took care of the kids, were subservient to their husbands,
  • did not work outside of the home either to support a family
  • income or to support themselves, and there were certainly
  • certain professions that were OK for women to enter into,
  • like education with the school mom,
  • and not exposed to a worldly environment
  • in which you could be corrupted or your morals might
  • be challenged.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, after observing my father
  • in some of the performances he did,
  • I never trusted his word for anything.
  • If he was a model of anything, it was a model of a crazy man.
  • Really, you wouldn't believe some of the--
  • I can't even talk about some of the things he did.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: So you really made choices to not follow--
  • BRUCE CLARK: That's right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --in those footsteps, which forced--
  • BRUCE CLARK: He was he was a sports nut.
  • Oh, get out there and play football.
  • I remember one Christmas getting up and finding all sports
  • equipment.
  • I didn't want any sports equipment for Christmas.
  • And we lived--
  • Chili Way.
  • And behind our house was an old, broken down farmhouse.
  • And my friend Harold-- and they had no money.
  • He didn't get anything for Christmas.
  • And I went hm.
  • He'll get a baseball, and a baseball bat,
  • and all this stuff.
  • And I gave it all to Harold.
  • And my father was furious.
  • You gave all that to Harold?
  • I said, yeah, he didn't get anything for Christmas,
  • and that's what he wanted.
  • Oh, my father was mad at me for that.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Wow.
  • Well, good for you.
  • Good for you.
  • It's--
  • BRUCE CLARK: He gave me a football.
  • And as soon as it put it down, the cold air returned
  • in the dining room, and I told him
  • I didn't know where it went. (laughter)
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Oh, Bruce.
  • Just a couple of more questions.
  • What would you say, or who would you
  • say in your life had the most significant influence on you
  • as a man, as a gay man, or as a man, or as a person?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I think Aunt Marjorie, then Aunt Helen.
  • Well, and then there was Uncle Merrit too.
  • But they weren't relatives, I just called them that.
  • They were older gay men--
  • well, Merrit was a gay, older man.
  • And then, of course, I had other older--
  • most of my friends were older gay men.
  • And that's why I've outlived them.
  • There's nobody left.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • BRUCE CLARK: But one of my best friends,
  • he was a special ed teacher in the public schools.
  • And I was sixteen, seventeen.
  • And he realized what was going on in my house,
  • and the things that went on were so terrible, I had to get out.
  • And he would say, any time you want, here's a key,
  • and you can just come over here and stay.
  • But he didn't get involved or whatever
  • EVELYN BAILEY: No.
  • No.
  • Well, even today, it's very difficult for teachers
  • to intervene in family issues.
  • For some-- well, not for some reason.
  • It's appropriate because you have
  • to be able to maintain your relationship with both
  • the student and the family in order to advocate for the kid.
  • And you can-- today, of course, if you
  • gave a kid a key to your apartment, or your home,
  • you'd be accused of molestation.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, my mother, she
  • knew that it was better than being at home.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Oh, yes.
  • But no one knew about that, you see.
  • Today, it would not be--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, my father would be put in jail today
  • if what were known what he did.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • BRUCE CLARK: I came home from school one day,
  • and there was blood all over the kitchen and walls.
  • He had beaten my mother so badly.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Oh, my gosh.
  • BRUCE CLARK: And I just stood there.
  • And I went over to my friend Esther.
  • And she said, you stay here.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • Yeah.
  • Well, school authorities would intervene.
  • But--
  • BRUCE CLARK: I was afraid to tell anyone at school.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • My other question--
  • BRUCE CLARK: And I was afraid they'd take me away
  • from my friends and family if I did say anything, and put me
  • in an orphanage or something.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • You would be ostracized from the family
  • and placed in a different location.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Who knows Taken away from everything.
  • So I didn't do anything about it.
  • As I say, I came here.
  • And my grandmother knew it.
  • He hit her a couple of times.
  • And I don't know.
  • My life never became happy until I met my partner Bill.
  • And for thirty-eight years, life was wonderful.
  • And he's gone, and it just all comes back.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Mm-hm.
  • What would you say to a young person
  • today who was just coming out?
  • What would you tell them about being gay,
  • about being a gay man who had the world at their feet?
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, I would tell him to always be himself,
  • but to be cautious.
  • There's so many cuckoos out there.
  • I've been trying to meet someone online.
  • I'd say 95 percent of them are way, way off the wall.
  • They're more interested in hopping
  • in bed than a relationship.
  • and I'm not.
  • Anyone can have sex, but not everyone
  • can have a loving relationship.
  • And that's what I would tell a young person, too.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Mm-hm.
  • And my other question to you is, in terms of our rights,
  • and our issues, what's the next major step that
  • needs to be taken?
  • BRUCE CLARK: I think that step has
  • been taken for allowing marriage and being accepted.
  • I think that the public needs more education and to be made
  • realize that not all gay men are predators.
  • I have a neighbor.
  • She's afraid to let her son come down here.
  • Oh, gay people.
  • Oh, they'll take advantage of him.
  • And he's eighteen years old.
  • She's deathly afraid.
  • She lacks the education.
  • There are predators.
  • Don't get me wrong.
  • But there are a lot of nice, loving people.
  • I do have another neighbor.
  • She sends her eight-year-old down.
  • I gave him piano lessons, and no problem at all.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • Well, Bruce, thank you for sharing with me,
  • and for telling me some stories about your own experience being
  • gay growing up.
  • For many, many years, you and other gay men age
  • lived under the fear of being identified, of being out.
  • I think you're very brave to have lived your life as openly
  • as you have and as lovingly as you have, because as we age,
  • and as we grow older, it's not easy to say
  • that doesn't matter.
  • I'm going to be with Bill, I'm going
  • to do for him what I can regardless of what--
  • BRUCE CLARK: We were all--
  • we were very well respected within the community.
  • Although, there was a carpenter that we hired.
  • He said, I'm sorry.
  • I don't work for gay people.
  • And the whole town is Republican.
  • And you know how they are, against anything gay.
  • In fact, I tried to apply for a job, a part-time job,
  • or a volunteer with the local historical society.
  • But it's all Republicans.
  • And they said, no, we don't.
  • And he might steal something.
  • (unintelligible) to me.
  • Yeah.
  • They just didn't want me there as a gay.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But again, it's as you said education.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yeah, we need education.
  • We need to educate people.
  • And being gay is no different than your grandfather.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: It's, I think, more
  • difficult to do that in the rural areas
  • than it is in major cities.
  • You don't have as much influx of diversity and people
  • to expand people's attitudes and views.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Well, Bruce, thank you.
  • This had been delightful.
  • And I really appreciate your willingness
  • to be as open as you have been.
  • And the way in which we will use this
  • is, it will be transcribed.
  • And you will receive a copy of that, not soon, because--
  • BRUCE CLARK: No, that's all right.
  • I don't need to receive a copy of it.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And just to make sure that what's here
  • is all right to be accessible through the web.
  • BRUCE CLARK: I would be cautious on names of people,
  • and just use their first name.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Well, you really didn't give me names.
  • You mentioned incidences in high school, or in--
  • and I know you went to John Marshall, and the club that
  • was--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Secret club
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --secret.
  • Clubs aren't secret anymore. (laughs)
  • BRUCE CLARK: No.
  • Well, they probably have an openly gay club there now.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Marshall does have a GSA, a Gay-Straight
  • Alliance.
  • BRUCE CLARK: I thought it had closed.
  • I thought they had closed the school down,
  • didn't have enough money to run it.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: It has become a charter school.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, OK.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yes, in Rochester.
  • So I think mentioning or having those names of the club--
  • and this is not an issue--
  • it may open some people's eyes who were there.
  • But it certainly will not betray any confidences.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Right.
  • Interestingly, the twins that I was talking about,
  • one that was so flamboyantly gay, they made him
  • go to a different school because he was picked on
  • and bullied so much.
  • His brother was in my school, in Marshall.
  • And I'm not sure what school he was in, but it wasn't Marshall.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • Yeah.
  • Well, it's not so different today,
  • only I have great difficulty in taking the person who's
  • being harassed out of the situation versus the people
  • who are doing the harassing.
  • It appears to me you punish the victim
  • more than you punish the perpetrator,
  • and that's not right.
  • Because what they want, what the perpetrators want
  • is not to have to deal with this person.
  • You removed them, and they get what they want, versus
  • removing the perpetrator, or confronting them
  • with their intolerance and helping them move
  • beyond that by not removing--
  • BRUCE CLARK: Well, I've sat a few people down too.
  • And I said, look, you have brown eyes.
  • How would you feel if anyone with brown eyes
  • would just-- well, we made fun of, and we pushed them around,
  • and we said, oh, we only associate
  • with people with blue eyes.
  • I said, wouldn't that be ridiculous?
  • I said, it's the same thing with gay people.
  • They're no different than you are.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: No.
  • No.
  • We have a very--
  • we can remain hidden if we so choose.
  • Other people cannot.
  • People with disabilities, African-Americans,
  • far eastern Japanese, Chinese, they
  • don't have the option of remaining visible.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Puerto Rican.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Puerto Ricans, they
  • are identifiable by something that's very visible.
  • We don't-- unless you where a pink triangle on your forehead
  • or something, we don't have to be--
  • BRUCE CLARK: The only friend I have right now
  • is a Puerto Rican fellow.
  • He's been wonderful for me.
  • And he works for Mental Health Services in Ithaca.
  • And they had been terrible to him, I think,
  • because he's Puerto Rican.
  • They just have done terrible things to him.
  • I know know.
  • But he's looking for another job.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • That's surprising, because Ithaca,
  • I would quote, unquote, "assume" is more liberal.
  • BRUCE CLARK: He works for Lakeview Mental Health.
  • And you look up on the internet, and they have not
  • been nice to their employees.
  • And he was paid for a forty-hours week,
  • and he works fifty or sixty, and they want more.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Yeah.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Well, thank you.
  • BRUCE CLARK: Oh, yes.