Audio Interview, Pat Collins and Judy Lawrence, October 31, 2011

  • JUDY LAWRENCE: --my background, and ours.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: You're on.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: OK.
  • I was telling him, I got married, had a good marriage
  • until I found out that it wasn't as good as I thought.
  • My husband was out and about a bit.
  • But I had two wonderful little kids.
  • And so I divorced when they were one and two--
  • two and a half.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Yeah, that's tough.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: And yeah, single parenting little one's is
  • rough.
  • And I had always thought I might be interested in women.
  • I had one almost affair in college
  • that was more emotional than anything else.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: That would have been what fifties?
  • sixties?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: It would be in the sixties yeah.
  • And I don't know.
  • So after I got divorced, I went out with men for a while.
  • Then I stopped dating anyone for a while.
  • And then I did a lot of thinking and decided
  • I was a lesbian, based on nothing, except I decided.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Well, there was something.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Well, there was something.
  • There was something, but no experience to back it up.
  • And in my own rather backward way,
  • I went and called all my straight female friends
  • and said, "Guess what?
  • I just decided I'm a lesbian."
  • And they, fortunately, all said, "Well, right on,
  • go explore it."
  • They were a bunch of Unitarians and Quaker's.
  • And so it was an easy coming out.
  • And it just happened that at that point,
  • my next door neighbor-- there were two women living
  • next door to me.
  • And they took me to-- they were introduced
  • to me by a mutual friend, and took me to a dance
  • where I met a woman I got together with for about a year.
  • And then--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Wait, about what year are we talking about?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: OK.
  • What was that?
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Roughly.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: About '78 or '79?
  • '77.
  • '77.
  • PAT COLLINS: Oh, no, way before that. '70--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: What's thirty-four--
  • what's 2011 minus thirty-four?
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Oh, good lord.
  • Well, '81--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: '77.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: '77, yeah.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, '77.
  • So after a year of that going nowhere relationship,
  • I ended up getting together with one of my two next door
  • neighbors, who was Pat.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: OK.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: But during that year
  • or so that I was coming out, I first went to the gay--
  • well, there wasn't a Gay Alliance--
  • to the Gay Brotherhood, which also housed the Lesbian
  • Resource Center.
  • And it was--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Then it wasn't '77.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: It wasn't?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Because by then--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Well, then it must
  • have been '74 or '75 when I was first exploring and coming out.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, it was before I got together with Pat.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: OK.
  • So let's say roughly like-- we'll split the difference--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: '75.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: --'75.
  • Yeah.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, '75 might be good.
  • PAT COLLINS: I think it was '75, honey.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: '74.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: You know, I really
  • found the alliance incredibly--
  • well, I found the Lesbian Resource Center incredibly
  • helpful in that I was excited about figuring out
  • was this who I was?
  • And for some reason, not particularly traumatized
  • by the thought.
  • And you know, they had resources, people to talk to,
  • weekly discussion groups, and I started going to those
  • and then ended up leading some of them.
  • And got on a number of panels where
  • we'd go out and talk to college groups,
  • largely, about what is it like to be a lesbian.
  • And at that time, I was a lesbian mother.
  • So lesbian mothers were somewhat more unique than lesbians.
  • And people would say, "What's it like being a lesbian mother?"
  • And I said, "Well, kids wake me up
  • about five thirty, six o'clock in the morning.
  • I change their diapers, get them dressed, and get some cereal."
  • And she says, "No, no.
  • What's it like being a lesbian mother?"
  • I said, "Same thing as being a mother."
  • You know.
  • Lesbian isn't the way I live every moment of my life.
  • And they were always quite astounded at that.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Let me take you back just a little bit.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Sure.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: When you were searching
  • for places or information and you eventually
  • came upon the Women's Resource Center--
  • Lesbian Resource Center, I mean, what
  • was in the Rochester community at the time?
  • What were you hearing?
  • How difficult was it to find a group or person to talk to?
  • I mean, aside from your neighbors.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: It was difficult. It was difficult.
  • I had two friends.
  • I was in grad school at the time and Peggy Meeker
  • and (unintelligible) were--
  • I got to know Peggy through a class
  • we were both taking at U of R.
  • I think she and (unintelligible) were
  • the ones who told me about the Lesbian Resource Center.
  • And that there was a young woman--
  • I was then in my thirties, early thirties as a college student.
  • And there was an undergrad student,
  • who was in her twenties, early twenties, Terry--
  • do you remember Terry's last name?
  • Pat?
  • PAT COLLINS: Unh-uh.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: No.
  • I can't think of it right now.
  • She was involved with the student groups--
  • student-led LGBT-- I guess it was only LG back then--
  • group at U of R, which I never got
  • involved with because it was a bunch of kids.
  • And I was running between part-time jobs, college,
  • and parenting.
  • But she and I would ride over to the Lesbian Resource Center
  • discussions together.
  • And it was-- you know, having already
  • met a few people who were relatively out lesbians helped
  • me a lot to find resources.
  • Other than that, there wasn't anything.
  • I guess-- was the Empty Closet going back then?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yes.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yes, but you're remembrance of things
  • is very different from mine.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Well, of course.
  • PAT COLLINS: I don't even know how you went to the Lesbian
  • Resource Center because when I got here in '73,
  • it was a closet.
  • And it wasn't any bigger than that.
  • And it had some books in it and a diesel dyke,
  • and her girlfriend, and Patti Evans running it.
  • Patti Evans was wonderful and the diesel dyke was scary
  • as hell and ran everybody off.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Now, where was this?
  • PAT COLLINS: That was over the--
  • you know where you could--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: It was the Genesee Co-op.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah, Genesee Co-op.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: The building on Monroe Avenue.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah, Monroe Avenue.
  • Over at the Genesee Co-op, there was a little--
  • and you had to get there by going up the back of--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Down an alley between two buildings.
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, OK.
  • It was--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: And past a dumpster.
  • PAT COLLINS: Past the garbage cans and up the stairs.
  • There was the Gay Brotherhood, which was a small building--
  • I mean, small room, but at least as big as this part.
  • And then, I think you went-- or else--
  • I think that's how you got to the Gay Brotherhood.
  • I think you got to the Lesbian Research Center
  • by going into the--
  • help me-- what's the name of the place?
  • The--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: The Genesee Co-op.
  • PAT COLLINS: Genesee Co-op.
  • I think that was a staircase at that time.
  • The call-- the credit union was on the left.
  • And on the right, there was a tiny little closet type
  • space called the Lesbian Resource Center.
  • And I was determined to not have this lesbian diesel dyke scare
  • everybody away because I had never seen anything like that
  • before.
  • I was thrilled to be in Rochester
  • and I wanted to see what we could do.
  • So go ahead Judy.
  • You finish and then I'll come back.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Well, at some point--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Can I just ask--
  • Oh, yes.
  • Was there--
  • (doorbell rings)
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Trick-or-treater.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Trick-or-treater.
  • PAT COLLINS: I'll turn the lights off so we don't--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Well, we can't, really.
  • We've got--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: It's not going to interrupt anything.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Was there anything
  • at the U of R still going on?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yes, it was when I got involved.
  • So let's see, if I--
  • I got separated from my ex-husband in '74.
  • So this would have been '75.
  • '75-- yeah.
  • And by that time, there was one room in the Gay Brotherhood.
  • So they had this small meeting room.
  • And the gay-- and the Lesbian Resource Center
  • would use that small meeting room.
  • So it was after Pat had already helped
  • bring the lesbian brotherhood and the--
  • lesbian-- the Gay Brotherhood and the lesbian--
  • PAT COLLINS: Hello little spooks.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: --lesbian groups together.
  • PAT COLLINS: You are my first little spooks.
  • (unintelligible).
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: And they were in one place.
  • And that's how you'd call, at that point.
  • TRICK OR TREATER: Do you have scissors?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Although, this is--
  • PAT COLLINS: I should be using scissors.
  • They say don't (unintelligible)--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: --and there was a little room
  • off of the Gay Brotherhood's room that was the Lesbian
  • Resource Center.
  • And there was a library.
  • And the books, which you couldn't
  • get at the run-down library.
  • They had a lot of books.
  • And up until that time, I had not seen anything, practically,
  • in lesbian literature.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: (unintelligible).
  • PAT COLLINS: Have fun!
  • EVELYN BAILEY: I forgot this was Halloween.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: No books at run-down--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: No.
  • No, nothing that you could get your hands on.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: As far as the Lesbian Resource Center goes,
  • and the Gay Brotherhood--
  • I mean, in that time, the mid-1970s were--
  • it doesn't seem to me like they were very visible
  • in the community.
  • It was more kind of a word of mouth to find them.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Absolutely.
  • PAT COLLINS: Oh, yeah.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Absolutely.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: I mean, how did that--
  • you know, because I came out when everything was out there.
  • You know, you didn't have to look
  • too hard to find something.
  • Talk to me a little bit more about the challenges of really
  • trying to find yourselves.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Well, I don't know
  • where I would have-- how I would have
  • looked if Peggy and (unintelligible)
  • hadn't been there.
  • You know, they were--
  • (unintelligible) was an older lesbian.
  • Peggy was younger.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Where did you meet
  • Peggy and (unintelligible)?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Peggy and I took classes together.
  • Peggy was also working full time--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: At the U of R.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: --but in grad school.
  • We took several night school courses together.
  • But back then, Pat actually got involved earlier
  • than I did, here, in Rochester.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Yeah, Pat, let's talk about you a little bit.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, I think she really--
  • had a more normal experience in this.
  • I was really guided by several other people.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Rochester native, or--
  • PAT COLLINS: No.
  • I'm from West Virginia.
  • And I couldn't have been more repressed down there.
  • It was absolutely horrible.
  • I went to a bar--
  • I finally found out a bar where you knock on the door.
  • You had a code name that you said.
  • You paid five dollars to join.
  • And then you got to go, and knock on the door,
  • and go in, and buy drinks, and be
  • where other lesbians and gay men were.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Roughly what time--
  • what year are we talking about?
  • PAT COLLINS: '67 and '68.
  • And the mystery of it all was fun, but the people that I met
  • were not my peers.
  • And so it was not a good scene at all.
  • In fact, there were lots of stories
  • I could tell you about that, but that's not
  • what we're here to talk about.
  • I was in Rochester visiting a friend,
  • and I saw two women holding hands.
  • And I thought, my god, this is the city I should come move to.
  • And so it turned out, as fate would have it,
  • that I was at a convention--
  • a camping convention.
  • Met a woman from Rochester who said
  • there was a job opening as full-time camp director of Camp
  • Onanda with the YWCA here.
  • And so I jumped at it.
  • And low and behold, I got it.
  • And here I was.
  • I don't know how I learned about the Gay Alliance,
  • but I was determined to find out something about gay something
  • because I knew something was here.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: So you came to Rochester-- what-- then
  • after 1971-- '72.
  • PAT COLLINS: I came to Rochester in--
  • '71, '72, '73-- '73.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: '73.
  • OK.
  • PAT COLLINS: And that's when I found
  • what I described with just the-- not Lesbian Resource Center.
  • Patti Evans and I said, look, something's got to--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: How did you meet Patti Evans?
  • PAT COLLINS: She was at the Lesbian Resource Center.
  • I think I must have--
  • maybe they had a phone and I looked it up in the phone.
  • Maybe I found the newspaper--
  • you know, the Empty Closet.
  • I don't know how I got there.
  • But I was thrilled when I was there,
  • even though the circumstances weren't that good.
  • And I decided that I would--
  • this was going to be where I was going to hang out.
  • And so I talked to Patti and I said,
  • let's go talk to the Gay Brotherhood
  • and see if the Lesbian Resource Center can meet,
  • you know, once a week at their spot,
  • for free because we don't have any space.
  • And so we started meeting there.
  • And then I met Tim.
  • I met John Noble.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Tim?
  • PAT COLLINS: Mains.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Tim Mains.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Tim Mains.
  • PAT COLLINS: John Noble.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Michael Robertson.
  • PAT COLLINS: Michael Robertson.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Whitey?
  • PAT COLLINS: Whitey came just a tad later, but yeah,
  • very shortly after that.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Now, just to clarify for me,
  • they were with the Gay Brotherhood,
  • not with the Gay Alliance?
  • PAT COLLINS: They were with the Gay Brotherhood.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: OK.
  • So we're not even to the Gay Alliance yet?
  • PAT COLLINS: No.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: OK.
  • PAT COLLINS: And that's when John and I wrote a grant
  • to get CETA to give us a grant for a part-time staff person
  • to give us a staff person.
  • And that's when we started forming the Gay Alliance-- was
  • my understanding.
  • Now, I understand that I'm not right about that.
  • But this was 1974 or '73.
  • What do you think?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: The CETA grant was written in 1977.
  • PAT COLLINS: OK, then.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, I remember that.
  • PAT COLLINS: All right, then, I thought it was later.
  • So I had been active with the Gay Alliance since--
  • with the Lesbian Resource Center since
  • I got into town at '73 or '74.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: The Lesbian Resource Center and the Gay
  • Brotherhood were both at the Genesee Co-op.
  • PAT COLLINS: Right.
  • Yeah.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But they were not one organization.
  • PAT COLLINS: Right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: They were two organizations.
  • PAT COLLINS: That's right.
  • And I wanted them to be together.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And in '74, they combined
  • to form one organization.
  • PAT COLLINS: Right.
  • And I thought I was part of that effort.
  • But I understand I wasn't.
  • I mean, I understand other people
  • are saying that they were involved with that.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: So just for my own clarification, was it,
  • then, the Gay Brotherhood and the Lesbian Resource
  • Center that came together to form the Gay Alliance?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yes.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yes, that's my understanding.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: OK.
  • Because I was thinking the Gay Alliance
  • was started with the Liberation Front at the U of R
  • and moved over to the Co-op to join these guys.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: It started at the U of R
  • with the Gay Liberation Front.
  • But the women at the U of R were always at odds with the men
  • because the men's issues were not the same as lesbian issues.
  • And so when the Gay Liberation got moved off campus,
  • the Gay Liberation Front went to 812 Brown Street.
  • And Mark Howe was the owner of the business
  • into whose back room, garage they moved.
  • In 1973, they went--
  • the Gay Brotherhood went to the Co-op
  • because there was no heat in that garage.
  • There was-- it was nothing in the back of the garage.
  • PAT COLLINS: Gotcha.
  • OK.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And they had not really found a place.
  • I mean, their exit from the U of R was very quick.
  • It was not-- it was not a long-term, transition.
  • PAT COLLINS: Wow.
  • OK.
  • Alright.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: So they went to 812 Brown Street.
  • And the women were at the Lesbian Resource
  • Center at the Genesee Co-op.
  • PAT COLLINS: At the Co-op. so they got that little space.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: So the Liberation Front,
  • when they left U of R, kind of split.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yes.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: So the men went to Brown Street,
  • the women went to the Co-op, and then
  • eventually they came back together.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • Because the women had--
  • they didn't have a lot of space, but the space they had--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: They had heat.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --was heated.
  • Exactly.
  • PAT COLLINS: It was at least heated.
  • Right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And the men--
  • and the Lesbian Resource Center didn't have money,
  • didn't have financial resources.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: And the men did.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: The men did.
  • PAT COLLINS: That's right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: So they came to the Co-op to join the women.
  • And then, in 1974, in December--
  • actually, December '73, I think was,
  • the alliance was incorporated.
  • PAT COLLINS: OK.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And that began the Gay Alliance of the Genesee
  • Valley, with those two groups.
  • So but it was very blurry.
  • I mean, it was--
  • it was not clearly--
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, I came to Rochester in '73.
  • So I think I was either part of that,
  • or right on the fringe of it, or wanting it to happen but still
  • learning because I was the one, I know,
  • with Patti or somebody who went to the Gay Brotherhood
  • and said, come on, let's--
  • can we please use your space?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • PAT COLLINS: But I might have done
  • that, not even knowing about this other thing going on
  • at all.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • PAT COLLINS: Or the history, you know,
  • of what the Liberation Front was about
  • because I don't remember knowing about that.
  • I do remember, later on, that U of R or one of the college
  • groups joined the Gay Alliance.
  • That was this third group to join, or to be affiliated.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Well, the University of Rochester
  • group became, I believe, the Academic Union at that point.
  • And then it changed its name again.
  • But in the early days, there were just those two groups--
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, anyway, those were those two groups.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And then there came--
  • PAT COLLINS: (unintelligible).
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --the political caucus.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yes, that was aside.
  • It had to be aside because it couldn't
  • be part of the non-profit.
  • And that's where Bob came in and he did the work on that.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Bob Crystal?
  • PAT COLLINS: No.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Sweeney?
  • PAT COLLINS: No.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Bob Sweeney?
  • PAT COLLINS: No.
  • Bob Sweeney and Bob Crystal were there but then--
  • probably got the wrong name.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Bob Osborn?
  • PAT COLLINS: Nope.
  • It's escaped me, but he and his partner--
  • he married Don.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: He married Don--
  • Is that Don--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Oh, Jim Ide?
  • PAT COLLINS: Jim Ide!
  • Thank you.
  • Jim was the one that was mostly the one that
  • was helping make that happen, at the beginning, that I remember.
  • But anyway--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But you and John Noble wrote the CETA grant--
  • PAT COLLINS: That's right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --the first CETA grant.
  • PAT COLLINS: That's right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And Bob Sweeney was vice president, I think,
  • or president of the Alliance at the time.
  • And Michael Robertson was president.
  • PAT COLLINS: Nope.
  • Michael Robertson and I were co-presidents together and--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: In '77?
  • PAT COLLINS: And-- whenever.
  • I think we were--
  • I thought we were the second presidents.
  • And I don't know who was the first, but it--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Whitey LeBlanc.
  • PAT COLLINS: Whitey LeBlanc.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: OK.
  • So it was, by that time, known as the Gay Alliance, though?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yes.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah, it had been-- gotten that name by that time.
  • OK.
  • The first president was Whitey.
  • Who was the second?
  • Bob--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Michel Robertson.
  • PAT COLLINS: OK.
  • Then, that's me and Michael, then.
  • That's what I remember.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • PAT COLLINS: OK.
  • Alright.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Let's go back to CETA funding.
  • PAT COLLINS: OK.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Because that seems
  • to be a part of this story.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yes.
  • What I felt and all of us, as a group--
  • board-- I don't know what we were called--
  • was that we felt--
  • you know, we had a lot going by then.
  • I think we had started, or we had
  • talked about having a speakers bureau,
  • peer counseling, programming.
  • You know, the Gay Brotherhood did their programming.
  • The Lesbian Resource Center--
  • I was helping make that happen with discussions and things
  • like that, and other--
  • I mean, other women were helping--
  • Mary Lou Wale-- Whyle--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Wells
  • PAT COLLINS: --Wells was getting a library together.
  • I think that's all I can think of, right now.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Karen Hagberg?
  • PAT COLLINS: I did not know Karen very well.
  • I think she was working on--
  • in some other areas.
  • She-- I didn't see much of her ever.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Marge David?
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah, Marge.
  • I remember Marge.
  • And she would come to some meetings.
  • Maybe a lot of them, I don't remember.
  • She was working at Cheesy Eddie's.
  • But anyway, I was thrilled to be involved with all of this
  • because I had been fired from my job
  • in York, Pennsylvania, which is where I had gone to after I
  • got my Master's Degree.
  • I had worked for the Girl Scouts,
  • first, which, of course, was very dangerous as a lesbian.
  • Then, at the-- I had already accepted the job in Rochester.
  • So they really couldn't fire me, per se.
  • But they found out probably three days
  • before I was to leave my job that I was a lesbian.
  • I was working at their camp there as director.
  • And they asked me to leave and not--
  • and if I left for two days, I could come back
  • at the closing camp fire.
  • You know, like-- you know, fuck you, lady.
  • But anyway, I did not have enough self-esteem,
  • at the time, to sue them because the YWCA, nationally, had just
  • said that you could not discriminate against lesbians
  • on your staff.
  • And I should've done it, but I didn't.
  • I had a job coming with the Y up here.
  • And so I just didn't want to--
  • you know, I was--
  • I was young.
  • What did I know?
  • I was twenty-six.
  • So then, I thought it was wonderful what was happening.
  • You know, we were growing.
  • I was on the speakers bureau.
  • I was a peer counselor.
  • Mary Lou Wells, I think, was a social worker--
  • MSW.
  • And she was the one that was training peer counselors to do
  • a good job as a peer counselor.
  • And then we hired this--
  • we needed Phil.
  • I mean, we knew we needed someone
  • to help coordinate all of this, and someone to be there
  • all the time, or as much as the time as he could,
  • for office hours, so to speak.
  • To just be there so that our doors would be open.
  • And that's why we wrote the CETA grant.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Does Joan Guiffre ring any bells?
  • PAT COLLINS: Um-hm.
  • I can't place her right now.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: OK.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Was she a large woman?
  • Tall and-- not--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: At the time.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Just big, I mean--
  • yeah.
  • I think I know who Joan Guiffre was.
  • PAT COLLINS: I just can't place her right now,
  • but-- if I just saw a picture of her, I'm sure I would.
  • I'm real good at faces.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Pam Barrale.
  • PAT COLLINS: That's a name I remember,
  • but I'd have to see the face.
  • But every night after work, I'd go home, have a TV dinner,
  • and down to the Lesbian Resource Center I would go.
  • And then I'd work there until we were all exhausted.
  • And then we'd go to the Riverview--
  • I mean the boys--
  • the boys would go to their place,
  • and I'd go to the Riverview.
  • And the Riverview was just like Cheers
  • you see on television because you walk in,
  • you know everybody there.
  • And you play some pool and have some drinks.
  • And then you go home at one o'clock.
  • And do it all over again.
  • But I just loved what I was doing.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: What was it about getting involved all
  • of that-- with that that drew that passion out of you?
  • PAT COLLINS: OK.
  • To understand my passion from that,
  • you have to understand how I grew up.
  • My father was a Methodist minister.
  • My grandfather was a Methodist minister.
  • And aunts and uncles either married or were ministers.
  • And they-- when I told my parents I was gay,
  • they were horrified and thought it was the worst possible thing
  • that I could be.
  • They also were horrified at what other people would
  • think of them.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Afraid your dad would
  • lose his job as a minister, that he'd be fired because of it.
  • PAT COLLINS: They--
  • I had always been a parent pleaser,
  • so this was extremely horrifying to me
  • because I wanted their acceptance.
  • And so I had to be--
  • I had to hide.
  • And I loved girl scouting and I went
  • into that as a professional Girl Scout,
  • out of undergraduate work--
  • I mean, school.
  • And you know, that couldn't have been
  • the worst thing in the world that I could have done,
  • but I loved it.
  • So it was perfect for me.
  • And then I found out, just as I was about to go to grad school,
  • that half the staff there were gay and I didn't even know it.
  • But--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: How did you find out?
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, I got drunk one night
  • with one of the women who was on the staff who
  • invited this other woman over.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Isn't that the way it always happens?
  • PAT COLLINS: And the two of us got drunk.
  • The woman who was hostess of the dinner got so drunk,
  • she went to bed.
  • And so I finally told Charlotte that I
  • was gay, and miserable, and blah, blah, blah.
  • And she says, "Well, honey, I am too."
  • And she presented herself to make love to me.
  • And we became lovers.
  • So that was very nice until I realized
  • that she was not monogamous and that just blew me away
  • because I couldn't imagine not being monogamous.
  • But you know, I was ready to marry anybody
  • I found when I was that young.
  • All I wanted was to find someone to marry and settle down.
  • My goals in life were to have a career I believed in,
  • a closeness with my spirit power,
  • and a woman to be with and have a family.
  • Those were my goals.
  • And I was thrilled to find the gay alliance because I had--
  • all through college, I couldn't find a lesbian woman.
  • Through undergrad-- you know, so college who was miserable.
  • In high school-- my senior year in high school,
  • I fell in love with my best friend.
  • And one thing, when I was--
  • I double dated this little greasy faced guy
  • just so I could be with her.
  • So after they left and I had endured that--
  • the boys left.
  • One night, Johnny Mathis was playing.
  • The fireplace was on.
  • We were at her house.
  • She sat down in a rocking chair.
  • And I went over to her and came close to her face.
  • And she went back further.
  • And I came close to her face.
  • She went back further and, you know,
  • she went over in the chair.
  • I was trying to kiss her and I just--
  • I don't know what I bumbled through and made up some story.
  • But that didn't work.
  • I chose a straight woman and that was a bad choice.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Yeah, we've all been there, too.
  • PAT COLLINS: She didn't much talk about me anymore.
  • I mean, talk with me anymore.
  • But it was coming from where you had to hide.
  • It was coming where it was shameful.
  • I told you about the bar scene that I finally
  • found in Rochester, which was a negative thing to do.
  • I found, when I moved to York, Pennsylvania,
  • there wasn't any bar scenes there.
  • That was a small little town.
  • But there was one place where, once a year,
  • they had a big party.
  • Somebody threw a huge thing and I met some women there.
  • And then I found the little network
  • of small group of women that were there.
  • Again, not my peers.
  • So when I came to Rochester, I met
  • some women who were my peers, and men as well.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: But you liked the Riverview?
  • PAT COLLINS: Oh yeah, I loved the Riverview.
  • There was-- because that's where all of the people
  • that were connected with the Gay Alliance in one way or another.
  • Or I met them there and, you know,
  • rallied them to the cause.
  • I was always gathering volunteers.
  • You know, we'd sit and talk, and play pool, and dance.
  • And of course, if I didn't have a partner at the time,
  • I was there to try and pick up a woman.
  • But sort of not-- sort of so--
  • hoping for-- you know, that kind of stuff.
  • And I did date several different women.
  • And it just didn't work out.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Several?
  • PAT COLLINS: A lot of women.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Most of the Rochester's lesbian community
  • back then, or so I've since heard.
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, it wasn't as bad as Patti Evans.
  • She introduced every lesbian that moved here to--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: OK.
  • We're recording this, remember.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yes, yes.
  • PAT COLLINS: Oh, I forgot.
  • Well, I love Patti Evans and I want her belt
  • to (unintelligible) too.
  • So what can I say?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Talk a little bit about the women
  • who you met, in terms of profession, in terms of--
  • were they professional?
  • Were they--
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, I felt empowered by working
  • at the-- volunteering at the Gay Alliance.
  • It made me stronger.
  • It made me less homophobic myself.
  • It made me proud to be who I was.
  • If we had-- there was also the NOW, and Women's Pride,
  • and all of that kind of thing was going on.
  • And I was involved with that, as well.
  • And at work, where I was, one woman at a staff meeting
  • once turned to me and she said, "Are you married?"
  • I said "Yes."
  • And she said, "Well, who's your husband?"
  • And I said, "Well what makes you think he's a man?"
  • And I don't know how that flew out of my mouth, but it did.
  • I must have felt safe enough with this woman.
  • And she and I are still good friends today.
  • And so I did have this one person that was close to me.
  • But then, I went to the Unitarian Church
  • and found acceptance there.
  • And so I got feeling better, but I was still very closeted
  • at the different not for profit organizations
  • I worked at, which were the--
  • well, the Y, the Arthritis Foundation,
  • and the Easter Seal's Society.
  • I got fired from that one for being gay.
  • Well, and the Arthritis Foundation, too.
  • I was just getting too open.
  • And the Y here, eventually, because I was getting too open.
  • I was having workshops for lesbians on how
  • to improve their relationships.
  • I was having workshops on how to--
  • on lesbian mothers and things to do.
  • And I was just--
  • I was program director, so I thought well this--
  • I can just go for it.
  • And, so.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: What you were looking for, I think, Evelyn,
  • a while back, was the others around at that time.
  • And this probably isn't politically correct to say it,
  • but a lot of them, I think, were people
  • who didn't have a lot to lose by being open.
  • To which I mean that they may have already lost
  • their families or not, or their families were far away.
  • But they weren't always looking over
  • their shoulder, afraid that the families were
  • going to find out.
  • And they weren't in professional positions
  • somewhere, where they had spent a lot of time
  • getting where they were, and trying
  • to build their career in whatever direction it was.
  • So that there were a lot of hard-working,
  • some top-notch people, but not people
  • who were moving with the same goals
  • as some of us who were out of college and building,
  • you know, more of professional level careers,
  • or in college, you know.
  • PAT COLLINS: That was true of the women, yes.
  • But the men were professional men.
  • And they just took it on to be active.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Were out?
  • Do you know?
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, I don't know.
  • Bob Sweeney?
  • Was he out?
  • I don't know.
  • Jim Ide?
  • I don't know.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: I don't know.
  • PAT COLLINS: I don't think so.
  • I don't think John Noble was.
  • Tim Mains?
  • No.
  • He was one of the first, I think,
  • to come out at the school where he was a counselor.
  • But I don't think most of us, at the beginning,
  • that were professionals, who knew we'd be fired.
  • Now, one thing that happened at the Gay Alliance
  • when I was president was they wanted--
  • one of the TV stations came and wanted to interview me.
  • And I said, fine, but I'll lose my job
  • If you take a picture of my face.
  • So I even took my rings off.
  • And I had them take a picture of me from behind, as we talked
  • and I was interviewed.
  • And I walked into work the next day, and they say,
  • I saw you on TV.
  • And I was too naive to have them go over my voice
  • and my West Virginia accent gave me away.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: It was much worse back then.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah.
  • So you know, that started the downfall of my working there.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • I think there's a--
  • what you're hearing a lot is the difference
  • between the sixties and the seventies,
  • and the North and the South.
  • You know, when I came out in the seventies, being gay
  • wasn't talked about.
  • You never read the word in the newspaper.
  • It was before Ellen or any of those other--
  • PAT COLLINS: Oh, lord.
  • Yes.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: --sitcoms came in with anyone talk--
  • nobody just talked about it.
  • We existed as though we didn't exist.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: It's kind of interesting
  • because in my perception of the late sixties
  • and early seventies was everything was open.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Oh, no.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: The free love the hippy movement and all
  • that stuff.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Oh, no.
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, that was with straight people.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: That was straight people.
  • PAT COLLINS: That was straight people and California,
  • with straight men.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Or with gay men.
  • PAT COLLINS: I mean, with gay men.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: But not--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: But here--
  • not.
  • But when I came out, I told my two closest straight women
  • friends.
  • And-- one of whom was Chic--
  • and the three of us decided, you know, well, maybe we all are.
  • We should go explore this.
  • We talked about it, you know.
  • And I mean, it was just--
  • I came out at church--
  • the Unitarian Church.
  • And either people accepted it or they didn't say they didn't.
  • I mean, they didn't treat me differently.
  • But that was between the mid-sixties
  • the mid-seventies of the way things had changed.
  • PAT COLLINS: And Judy's experience
  • was the exact opposite of mine.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • Yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: I lived in fear, and past abuse,
  • and non-acceptance from parents, or my sister,
  • or anybody in the family, period--
  • cousins.
  • You know, no one knew because you don't dare tell the secret.
  • And you know, I was-- any chance I
  • had-- if I was at a conference from somewhere,
  • I was going in dingy bars, walking down the streets in New
  • York City at night by myself, and in California
  • because I knew there was the Daughters of Bilitis there.
  • So I flew out there just to get to know
  • some people who were gay.
  • I thought I was the only gay person in West Virginia.
  • And I walked into the Study, the bar,
  • and the bartender said, "Well honey, I'm from West Virginia."
  • And she told me--
  • oh, that's how I learned.
  • She was the one that told me, she
  • looked up in a book about the bar in Charleston, West
  • Virginia, where I was living.
  • I had to fly to California--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: To find a bar in West Virginia.
  • PAT COLLINS: --to find that.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: To find a bar in West Virginia.
  • Yeah.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Wow.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: (unintelligible).
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: But even with the women's movement,
  • the feminist movement, which was growing in strength there--
  • they weren't lesbian friendly.
  • PAT COLLINS: Oh, not at all.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: They were terrified
  • of the presence of open lesbians in their group.
  • PAT COLLINS: --in their group except-- and most of the--
  • and a lot of them were lesbians.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yes.
  • PAT COLLINS: But they--
  • Betty Friedan--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: So are we talking about NOW?
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: NOW and--
  • PAT COLLINS: National Organization of Women.
  • Betty Friedan--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: --the feminist movement.
  • PAT COLLINS: --didn't want anything to do with lesbians.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: No.
  • PAT COLLINS: And yet, many of them were lesbians,
  • but they got really--
  • they got picked on.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Well, they didn't want men saying, well,
  • of course, you know, you're these tough bull
  • dyke's because you're--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Right.
  • Sure.
  • Right.
  • Yeah.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: It's always the insult thrown at women
  • if they don't follow the rules is, they must be a dyke,
  • you know.
  • So yeah, it was a free time if you were--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: If you followed the rules.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: --if you followed the rules
  • about who could be rebellious.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Right.
  • Right.
  • Well, it's interesting because I would have always thought
  • that the feminist movement and the women's movement
  • was always right in line with lesbian movement.
  • PAT COLLINS: Oh, not at all.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Of course.
  • It should have been.
  • PAT COLLINS: Should have been, but not at all.
  • And women-- Judy and I got together in '76?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: I think so, yes.
  • PAT COLLINS: Or '77.
  • And I wanted a family.
  • So here, I had it all, you know, a little three
  • and four-year-old.
  • So we had a family.
  • It was perfect.
  • Not perfect, but it was perfect.
  • And--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: How old were your kids when the two of you
  • got together?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Three and four.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Three and four.
  • OK.
  • PAT COLLINS: But the trouble was that even the lesbians then,
  • except for those who were mothers of boys,
  • didn't accept little boys.
  • They thought they should give them up to their fathers
  • because they didn't think they should raise the patriarchy.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, it was called--
  • people would ask, why was I babysitting the patriarchy?
  • I should've given both of my kids
  • up to their father, rather than Pat and I raising them.
  • But if I had to keep our daughter--
  • PAT COLLINS: --was what society thought.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • If I had to keep our daughter, that
  • was understandable a little bit.
  • But why I kept the boy?
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, this is what the lesbian community,
  • at the time, was saying.
  • But we helped form, along with Tawn Feeney, a women's--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: And Lynn--
  • Lynn Wicks.
  • PAT COLLINS: --a lesbian parents group.
  • And I helped with some programming and things
  • like that.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Now, talk a little bit
  • about the attitude toward you, in the lesbian community,
  • as, for lack of a better term, an ex-heterosexual?
  • I mean-- you know--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Had I billed myself as a bisexual,
  • I think the attitude would have been very negative because back
  • then, bisexuals were sort of ridiculed as not--
  • as being afraid to come out.
  • But I didn't.
  • As a-- billing myself as a lesbian--
  • this is what I am.
  • I just realized it.
  • Here I am.
  • I'm not going to go out with you for five years
  • and then decide I was just fooling around kind of thing.
  • I didn't have any problem in the lesbian community with that.
  • PAT COLLINS: Because you called yourself a lesbian.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Because I called myself--
  • PAT COLLINS: Boy, if you called--
  • I mean, I sure discriminated against bi's--
  • bisexual women because I felt they were dangerous.
  • You know, you go and invest your time and love with a bi
  • and then she goes and goes back to a man.
  • That's about the worst insult, in my thinking,
  • as a soft butch, that could possibly be.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And what about the attitude toward family?
  • Toward two women being together, raising
  • children in that society?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: In the lesbian society?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Right.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: I said with-- you know, they just--
  • a lot of the lesbian-- well, let's see--
  • the real, radical lesbian feminists
  • thought we shouldn't be doing it.
  • You know, we're babysitting for the patriarchy.
  • PAT COLLINS: With our son.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: With our son.
  • Well, with Laura, too.
  • You know, it was like he had the kids.
  • You know, he impregnated me.
  • I had them.
  • I should have given them back and let him deal with it,
  • you know.
  • The majority of lesbians, I think,
  • just weren't all that interested.
  • You know, it wasn't-- they didn't see that as part
  • of their life back then.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Well, there was this kind of--
  • better way of putting it-- but this kind of amazonian attitude
  • that I've come across with that lesbian community.
  • That yeah, that whole ideal of being together with a partner
  • and raising a family was so totally against their amazonian
  • goals, or a way of living.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yes.
  • Yeah.
  • Yeah.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Absolutely.
  • And you know, as people who eliminated
  • from their imagination the idea that they would
  • have a family with someone.
  • Because back then, that was before we
  • could have dreamt of being artificially inseminated,
  • let alone--
  • there just wasn't a lot of interest in it.
  • So where there wasn't a lot of interest
  • in having babies themself, there wasn't
  • a lot of compassion for the issues that parents--
  • not just lesbian parents, but parents, go through.
  • You know, you couldn't just, on the drop of a hat,
  • decide to go out.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah.
  • I would say that was among the group of separatists.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: No.
  • No.
  • I'm say-- no.
  • PAT COLLINS: You don't think so?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Among the group of separatists,
  • they didn't want us to have our kids.
  • PAT COLLINS: That's what I'm talking about.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Among the general population of lesbians,
  • of all of the other lesbians that we knew back then,
  • there was only one who ever offered to help with the kids
  • and take them for us-- from us for a few days.
  • PAT COLLINS: Oh, yeah they weren't into kids.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: And that was Chic.
  • PAT COLLINS: That's right.
  • Yeah.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Now, among the gay men, we had more support.
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, I couldn't necessarily say that,
  • but we went in search of two uncles
  • and found two uncles that were very sweet.
  • (doorbell rings)
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: No, I think, the lesbian-- the out lesbian--
  • halfway-out lesbian community was young and excited.
  • Excited about the freedom and excited about the possibilities
  • of--
  • PAT COLLINS: (unintelligible)
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: --they weren't interested in someone
  • who came along with a diaper bag and kids who got into things.
  • PAT COLLINS: Thank you.
  • Take care hon.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: You know, there would be parties
  • and we had the kids, you know.
  • And when I was single parenting, it was worse, you know?
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Sure.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Parties that--
  • I couldn't afford a babysitter.
  • I was back in grad school and, you know,
  • there just wasn't a lot of support.
  • We managed to find friends who were
  • supportive of our parenting over the years.
  • PAT COLLINS: And we found straight friends
  • at the Unitarian Church and I went to workshops
  • on step parenting.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: With straight UUs.
  • PAT COLLINS: With straight couples.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: All straights in that.
  • PAT COLLINS: And we went to marriage enrichment classes
  • with straight couples from the UU church.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: And not to say too much about the UUs but,
  • you know, they had dances.
  • The only place that would rent a space or let us use--
  • I don't even know if we paid anything
  • for it-- for dances was the downtown First Universalist
  • Church.
  • PAT COLLINS: And so we marched our little selves down
  • to that dingy basement and tried to decorate it
  • as best we could.
  • And that's where we danced--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Was this the place
  • we were just at for the pizza thing?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Um-hm.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Yeah, OK.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: It's improved.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: OK.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: He's going after the water thing--
  • watering tin, which has some water in it.
  • PAT COLLINS: I don't know what you're talking about.
  • Oh, that's what he's doing?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: I think that's what he's-- yeah,
  • he wants attention.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yes, he's playing with--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: But it has water in it.
  • PAT COLLINS: It does?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, I was in route to take it out
  • to water the flowers out there.
  • PAT COLLINS: OK, honey.
  • I'll put it over here.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: OK.
  • He'll come play the piano soon.
  • PAT COLLINS: Can we get you all something to drink?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, would you like a glass of wine or--
  • PAT COLLINS: Or a beer or a mixed drink or--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Coffee--
  • PAT COLLINS: --or coffee or a soda or tea.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Only if you guys are going to have something.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: I would have a glass of wine.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: If you're going to have a glass of wine,
  • I will have a glass of wine.
  • PAT COLLINS: You got it.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Red or white?
  • Both are open.
  • PAT COLLINS: I'll get them.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: I prefer red if it's opened.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Red?
  • OK.
  • I have some nice Cabernet.
  • PAT COLLINS: Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Oh, excellent.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: How about you?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Just water.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Just water?
  • PAT COLLINS: I have cider and stuff like that, too.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Any diet stuff?
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah, I've got diet--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Mountain Dew and Diet Root Beer.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: That's-- anything diet.
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, which one darling?
  • Root beer or the Mountain Dew?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Diet Mountain Dew.
  • Or Root Beer.
  • Root Beer.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Are you getting the stuff, honey?
  • Thank you.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah, I've got it.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Thank you.
  • I'm still getting--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: So I want to get some of your (unintelligible) I
  • mean, she's--
  • she's entrenched into the new Gay Alliance--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, yeah.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: --and doing all sorts of work
  • with that, and the CETA funding and all that stuff.
  • What were you doing at the time?
  • And how involved were you?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: I was not terribly involved.
  • And again, and I'm sure you--
  • if you haven't talked to a lot of people together,
  • you'll find this.
  • Pat and my memories differ on this.
  • Pat remembers me as being much more involved than I was.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Well, I'm still thinking
  • you had kids to take care of, right?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: I had kids and I was in graduate school.
  • I was in a doctoral program at the time, at U of R.
  • And so, you know, I didn't get involved in the politics
  • of it-- the organization of it.
  • I did meet some of the discussions
  • at the lesbian group when it was held there.
  • I did work on some of the fundraisers
  • with some of the groups.
  • I remember, we were--
  • we had a big to do over the fact that we
  • decided to do a fundraiser at--
  • maybe it was Cornhill Festival--
  • something like that.
  • And it was right after Anita Bryant
  • had been making her big spiel.
  • PAT COLLINS: Oh, god.
  • Anita Bryant.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Do I have this story right?
  • PAT COLLINS: I don't know I haven't heard it.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Thank you.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: And so we were going to sell lemonade
  • on a hot day-- evening.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Certainly not orange juice, right?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: No.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Don't worry about it, Pat.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: And we have a sign
  • that said, when life gives you lemons,
  • make lemonade from the Gay Alliance.
  • And one of the people on the committee
  • got there the day of-- a whole committee planned this,
  • but of course, as it turned out, Pat and I
  • were the ones who ended up doing it.
  • And one of the committee members came there late on the day of.
  • And Pat and I had made an executive decision
  • that we were not going to squeeze lemons.
  • We got frozen lemon juice.
  • And oh, there was to do about that.
  • Do you remember that?
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Oh, such a big to do.
  • PAT COLLINS: How stupid that was.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Because we--
  • PAT COLLINS: --we used frozen lemonade instead.
  • But no one else was doing it, or something like that.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Well, there was a whole committee planning it,
  • but it ended up just you and I doing it.
  • PAT COLLINS: Oh yeah, I remember that.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: So, you know, I did
  • some of those kinds of things.
  • And when the Speakers Bureau got going, I did enjoy that.
  • I was one of the slightly more mature, years-wise--
  • older than some of the other people who were more out,
  • that was willing to go and talk to groups.
  • And so I think--
  • I enjoyed that a lot.
  • And you know, I think that they called on me a bit
  • because they had--
  • the others to choose from often were like early twenties.
  • I was in my thirties.
  • Not a big difference, but back then, a difference.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Yeah.
  • Sure.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: So Pat was much more involved
  • in the organizational.
  • Pat has always been more of an organizer anyways than me.
  • But at the time, Pat was taking an active role
  • in parenting the kids, but I was certainly
  • still doing the primary role when we got together.
  • And when Pat and I first started to live together,
  • I had a small house in Webster, right on the lake,
  • that was part of my job.
  • It was given to me by a very wealthy family.
  • Not given to me--
  • rented to me, rent free-- rent and utility free,
  • in exchange for watching three of their children after school.
  • So I was going to U of R in the morning,
  • dropping our kids off at Montessori Preschool,
  • going to U of R, taking classes, coming back-- oh,
  • and working a few hours as a graduate assistant.
  • And then coming home in time to get our kids
  • and be home to babysit these other kids,
  • and then occasionally going back out for night classes.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Wow.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: I was not getting into a lot of--
  • I couldn't even organize myself, let alone anything else.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Wow.
  • That's a lot.
  • I want to talk about some of the--
  • over the years, some of the major events that you remember.
  • I mean, let's start with Anita Bryant.
  • Talk to me about that whole thing that
  • was happening with Anita Bryant, particularly here in Rochester.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Pat, your memory is probably
  • different than mine.
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, I'm sure we sat around and bitched
  • and moaned about it all.
  • I think that was the one activity
  • we thought of to try and--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: To do something about it.
  • Yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: --counteract the whole thing--
  • to do something about.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: To make a statement.
  • PAT COLLINS: We may have had a march somewhere in all of that.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: I don't remember marching.
  • I remember being too scared to march.
  • PAT COLLINS: --in downtown.
  • Oh, I think we--
  • yeah, that's right.
  • I would go to Take Back The Night marches or--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: --NOW and stuff, but I was always
  • too afraid to march in the gay pride marches.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • I was afraid--
  • PAT COLLINS: But--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: What were the Take Back The Night marches
  • about?
  • PAT COLLINS: The take--
  • OK, the Take Back The night.
  • Was part of a spin off, I think, from NOW,
  • and saying that women should have a chance
  • to walk the streets at nights, without worrying
  • about being raped, or being mugged, or being just whistled
  • at, or anything that was unfair, basically, in treatment.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: We shouldn't be afraid to go out.
  • PAT COLLINS: Shouldn't be afraid to go out.
  • And so we-- and I think Chic had a lot
  • to do with getting this one started, or something
  • along that line.
  • And so we--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: There was a group, too,
  • against women against pornography.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah that was a different group.
  • That was Chic.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: And that was all--
  • some of that same--
  • we marched on that too.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: OK.
  • I have to ask, who is this Chic person?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Chic Parker.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Clair Parker.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Clair Parker?
  • PAT COLLINS: Clair Parker.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: My first partner.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Oh, I did not know this.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Yeah.
  • Yes.
  • PAT COLLINS: The one thing funny that
  • happened in the Take Back The Night, which I think occurred
  • during the day, if I'm not-- or it
  • was some march that we were marching,
  • that was a related cause.
  • A friend of mine was in a wheelchair,
  • and her father was the basketball coach
  • for the group of men who were in wheelchairs
  • that played basketball.
  • And she was marching right beside me in her wheelchair.
  • And before the march, they said you can buy some spray, the--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Pepper spray.
  • PAT COLLINS: --pepper spray.
  • So I had it in my pocket.
  • And as we were crossing Main Street on Clinton, traveling
  • on Clinton, a car rammed the crowd--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: On purpose.
  • Not real fast, but on purpose.
  • PAT COLLINS: --and knocked the wheelchair over.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Oh my god.
  • PAT COLLINS: She was the one that probably saved us
  • from broken legs.
  • And so I got her back up, went rushing over,
  • and a bunch of other women followed me to the car.
  • And they rolled the window down.
  • And I had this pepper spray in my pocket,
  • and I forgot to use it because I'd just bought it.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Oh, we were pounding on the car
  • and rocking the car.
  • PAT COLLINS: So well, we pounded on the car,
  • and then we started rocking it.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Scared the hell out of the guy.
  • PAT COLLINS: And scared the bejesus out of this guy.
  • And he had another guy with him.
  • And they just started backing down the street as fast
  • as they could go.
  • You know, never to be seen again.
  • But I just wish we could have turned the car over.
  • I mean, I really do.
  • But I knew not to get involved in too much of that stuff
  • because I was so angry about women's rights,
  • about women abuse, about the bashing of gays, and stuff,
  • that I would have done very violent things, I think,
  • if I was with another group to help me.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: And then we went with Chic,
  • and whoever else had gotten the against pornography walk.
  • And I think I, or someone else, helped
  • break a window of a porn shop--
  • heterosexual porn shop.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: We were plastering signs, you know,
  • on walls and on street signs.
  • PAT COLLINS: And we plastered--
  • God Barrale plastered signs all over the place and stuff.
  • But of course now--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: It was a radical period.
  • I mean, it was the 1970s.
  • We were very radical.
  • PAT COLLINS: Now, I might think differently.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Anita Bryant--
  • what was the buzz about her?
  • PAT COLLINS: OK.
  • Anita was against gay men.
  • And she--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Well, against gays, period.
  • PAT COLLINS: --against gays, period.
  • She was the big advertiser of Florida Orange Juice.
  • And she was a very pretty woman.
  • And I think she was also a singer.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: That's why they had gotten her to advertise.
  • And she sort of reminded you, I think, of Connie Francis type
  • singing, but not quite that same voice.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: And she came out just crazy against gays.
  • And so all of--
  • I mean, she just asked for it.
  • I think someone threw a pie in her face and--
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Oh, yeah.
  • Yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: --and all that kind of good stuff.
  • But what was later found out, and the press never let it out
  • to the world to know, was that her husband was gay
  • and then she divorced him.
  • And that's probably what caused her to act the way she did.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Anytime anyone protests just too loud,
  • you know there's something ain't right.
  • PAT COLLINS: Just like the evangelistic guys
  • that we've caught and gay men-- sexual things.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Now, she was to come to the Dome Arena.
  • PAT COLLINS: Was she?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: No, I don't remember that.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Um-hm.
  • PAT COLLINS: That I did not remember or know.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And there was actually a rally downtown
  • in opposition at the same time.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Do you know what-- when that was?
  • PAT COLLINS: Do you know the date
  • because I don't remember that at all.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: --what years because I don't even
  • remember the Dome Arena being in that time.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: 1978 or '79.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Really?
  • PAT COLLINS: No kidding.
  • How could I have missed that?
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And Matloff--
  • Ernie Matloff spoke.
  • A number of gay leaders spoke at that rally.
  • Her campaign was save the children.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: That's right.
  • That's right.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Save the children--
  • that's what her whole--
  • PAT COLLINS: What a bitch.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: --shtick was about.
  • PAT COLLINS: Well, I know, if it was '78, Judy
  • and I had just gotten together.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: You were slowing down
  • on some of your involvement.
  • PAT COLLINS: And stopped--
  • yeah.
  • We slowed way down.
  • We were getting to know each other.
  • We were getting to know the children.
  • The children were getting to know me.
  • They were also realizing their father truly
  • had moved to Alaska and was not going
  • to be part of their lives, and blamed me for it, of course,
  • in their subconscious.
  • And so we were dealing with a lot to make our family work.
  • And so pretty much after, you know,
  • '77 Judy and I were still gun-ho at the Lesbian Resource Center.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: I think '78 we started to--
  • PAT COLLINS: And then, in '78, I'd
  • say that's when we about had burned out and that was enough.
  • We had to pay attention to our family.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: Now, you mentioned Montessori.
  • Did your kids go to Montessori all the way through?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: No.
  • No.
  • Back then, they just had it, I think, through kindergarten.
  • And ours just went through--
  • Matt went through kindergarten and Laura just
  • went up three years, up until kindergarten.
  • PAT COLLINS: But while we were living in Webster,
  • we talked to the Webster schools about Matt
  • starting in first grade.
  • And they said that the Webster schools are
  • going to be very biased against you, as a lesbian family,
  • And you'd better move.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: So we did.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Matt was starting--
  • his father had just moved.
  • He's the oldest of our two kids.
  • His father had just moved to Alaska
  • and dropped out of sight, as far as Matt was concerned.
  • And he was having some acting out problems
  • and the school counselor figured out that we were lesbians.
  • And she was the one, she said, I think
  • your son needs counseling, but I think
  • he doesn't need counseling within the Webster school
  • system.
  • I can give you the names of some counselors who
  • will be very comfortable with your lifestyle
  • and could help him.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Oh, good for her.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • I mean, she was wonderful.
  • She was wonderful.
  • PAT COLLINS: That proved to be true
  • because I applied for a job in Webster
  • somewhere along the line, when I was still in human services,
  • to be--
  • I think it was a youth counselor.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, some youth program.
  • PAT COLLINS: And they hired me.
  • And over the weekend, they called me
  • and said, "Are you a lesbian?"
  • I said, "Yes."
  • And they said, "Well then don't come to work on Monday."
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, someone had told them.
  • PAT COLLINS: That was that.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Someone had--
  • or word yeah--
  • EVELYN BAILEY: So where did you move to?
  • PAT COLLINS: We didn't.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: We moved to West Irondequoit.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah, we bought a house.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Just down the road from House of Guitars,
  • we bought a house there.
  • PAT COLLINS: The library was across the road.
  • Little deli where the kids could get-- penny candy was there.
  • They could walk to school for all three schools.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: We lived there until they were out of school,
  • and Laura graduated.
  • EVELYN BAILEY: And that district was--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Much better.
  • Much better.
  • PAT COLLINS: It was better, but it wasn't 100 percent.
  • The health teacher was telling--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: This was in high school.
  • PAT COLLINS: -- negative gay jokes in class, Matt--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah.
  • And incorrect information about AIDS,
  • about how AIDS is transmitted.
  • But I went to the--
  • I was not-- neither of us were parents
  • to go running to the school, like a lot of parents do today,
  • and saying, why are you beating up on my kids.
  • But that was one of the few times
  • I did go to see the principal.
  • And I said, "This is what I understand is happening,
  • and you've got to have it stop."
  • And he said, "If that is happening,
  • and I will check it out, it will not happen again.
  • And if you ever hear of it happening again,
  • come and tell me."
  • PAT COLLINS: And it happened again.
  • She went and told him again.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: And that was it.
  • PAT COLLINS: And it did-- it did stop.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, I mean, it stopped.
  • So we got good support.
  • I remember when our son was in like first grade or something
  • and it was coming up to Mother's Day.
  • And the teacher felt like she was-- she told me this later
  • at a parent teacher meeting.
  • She said she was being so with it and with the times
  • and up to date.
  • And she said to the kids, "Now, today we're
  • going to make little gifts--
  • cards for our mothers for Mother's Day.
  • And some of you will want to make
  • two cards because you might have a mother and a stepmother."
  • And Matt's hand went up and said, "Can I make three cards?"
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah, because his dad had remarried.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Yeah, and he says, "I've got three mothers."
  • But she thought it was funny and told me about it later,
  • you know.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: That is kind of funny.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: So we--
  • on a whole, the system was good.
  • The kids got some harassment in school.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Oh, yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah, Laura was being called a lesbian
  • in the parking lot in grade--
  • junior high?
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Junior high.
  • PAT COLLINS: Yeah, and so Judy sat
  • and had lunch with the mother--
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: Or breakfast, yeah.
  • PAT COLLINS: --or breakfast, and explained what was going on.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: The mother of the kid who was doing the--
  • PAT COLLINS: And the mother explained that her daughter
  • was having problems.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: The mother said she'd stop, and she did.
  • KEVIN INDOVINO: Oh, good.
  • PAT COLLINS: She talked to her and did
  • whatever needed to be done.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: So it wasn't perfect, but it really--
  • PAT COLLINS: But it wasn't horrendous.
  • JUDY LAWRENCE: In the seventies and eighties,
  • it was not a bad place to raise--