From "Our Own Community Press," Norfolk's gay newspaper
[ I wrote the article below for my Blog, but thought I'd also preserve it here ]
The First Time I Heard Gay Music
I can pretty much pin it down to a date, September 15, 1979. And here's how it happened. I moved to Norfolk, Virginia, in September of 1978, and came out of the closet immediately, as I joined the UUGC, as we called the Unitarian Universalist Gay Community. Now, it wasn't really a "church group," but the UU Church very generously let us use a meeting room and an office in their building. I quickly got involved with this group, and they did Everything that needed done, gay-wise, in Norfolk, from the gay hotline, pot luck dinners, the newspaper, held conferences, and whatever gay organizing that came up. Back in those days it was okay to call it the "gay community," it was long before the politically correct days of Gay & Lesbian (or Lesbian & Gay), and the B&T weren't even on the radar.
September 1979 we were scheduling a concert, to benefit the hotline,
and brought down from Philadelphia very-gay singer/songwriter Tom
Wilson (he later went by Tom Wilson Weinberg), and our unofficial
organizational leader, Jayr Ellis, thought a great idea would be to
get local gay business people "involved," so persuaded a
furniture store owner to house Tom, and his partner John, while they
were in Norfolk for the concert. At the very last minute the furniture
guy backed out, and Jayr asked if I could put them up. Sure, I had
ample room in my condo, so I picked them up at the airport.
The first photo I took at that UUGC concert, and Tom's partner (since 1973), John Whyte, even joined in the singing on one number, a favorite spoken-word piece called "1:00 a.m." Below that are his two solo albums, "Gay Name Game," and "All-American Boy," (1982), along with "Don't Mess With Mary," which he wrote for the 1994 Stonewall 25th Anniversary, and "Get Used To It," (1993), one of Tom's musicals. Another much-performed one he wrote was "Ten-Percent Revue," and he's still writing musicals, with one in working stages currently, about Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. Tom and I have stayed friends over the years. In the bottom photo we are at a house concert in NYC, July, 2004.
I've had the pleasure of interviewing Tom twice for my QMH show, and you can see that coverage in my April 2001 and September 2003 shows. And please check out his website, at http://www.tomwilsonweinberg.com