Sunday, April 19, 2009

Olympia queer history is still hidding...

So far in the difficult hunt for Olympia’s Queer History the story is slow to unravel. Interviews are hard and rare to get, and our files, images, and names have disappeared. Some women have surfaced but many of the men moved far and fast or lost their lives to AIDS related illnesses. The greatest difficulty is that after the American psychological association granted homosexuality a sane mind state not even the government documented us anymore. It seems more and more evident as I dig that queer histories, much like our predecessors, are invisible. We as a people seem to have done little to preserve our history and culture. Archives have yielded practically nothing, news papers ignore our actions and movements unless to demean us, zines and news letters scattered across the city made by youth are all I've be able to rely on.

The following is what I have found thus far and would like more stories, names, artifacts..or anything relating to or beyond:

(disco club) 4th ave

In April 1979 three women met with the management to the Conestoga to present a statement demanding that women be allowed to dance together and that dress codes be applied equally to all, not just used to keep certain women out. Police were called to escort same-sex couples out, there was picketing by men and women and same sex couples danced in the restaurant in protest.

Café Intermezzo 4th ave

Women-only meet ups of over to 80 people (feb.1979)Olympia women’s community gathering, the feb meeting of women heard cries for lesbian-only meet ups and the café’ offered to host the lesbian meetings to follow.

Nozama Construction
(amazon backwards)
117 N. Thomas Olympia,wa.

Nozama was a lesbian-feminist construction company, which through word of mouth flourished in Olympia for some 15 or so years. Gene Eberhart and Erin Haper as well as follow-up workers and owners drove around in trucks with nozama noitcurtdtnoc to flash rear view mirrors with AMAZON CONTRUCTION.

Drag balls and Drag Court in Olympia

Thecla was a major site for the balls and community. This is a major subject I need more information of, so far just the knowledge it that there was a court in Olympia has been a painfully sweet tease.

Olympia Food Co-op

The Co-op seems to have been a central meeting site for Lesbian action and community. There was monthly Lesbian Caucus work days in 1978 but I cannot yet confirm how it went, how big it was, who lead it or how long it lasted. The lesbian caucus is radical lesbian-feminists who meet regularly for educational, political, and social activities.

Rainbow Restaurant

4th and Columbia
In 1978 held weekly gay/lesbian nights. The Evergreen Queer Alliance held weekly Wednesday night hangouts at the restaurant. Their weekly meetings were very divided into gatherings sch as bi women, queer men, lesbian-dykes, queer people of color, trans-support, and various others but the wed night meet-up at the rainbow restaurant was for all sorts of queer people to just hang out. I would really like more information on these meet-ups and this resturant.


Matrix was Olympia’s first (and seemingly last) “lesbian-feminist rag, as well as a channel of communication between women where we can confront, address and reflect on our differences and celebrate the personal experiences, needs and goals that bring us together. Matrix is committed to analysis of state institutions, exposing conditions, of oppression in our society, encouraging development of women’s writing skills and sence of feminist theory in action. Also a calendar of events, Matrix is an alternative of the Lesbians and Feminist of Nothwest. “

Rejection of Chuck Harbaugh

In 73-74’ the Evergreen state college declined a openly gay faculty for hiring on the basis of his open sexuality and liberalism. The school already had a queer student group and in stated that it may be “ready” for openly queer students but not faculty. Committee formed towards changing the discrimination laws to protect applicant faculty and staff from discrimination based upon sexuality. Closeted employees, GRC, deans, and over 200 signatures gathered, student group support letters and sounding board meetings were held to keep chuck on a hiring list. He was applying for a position as a developmental psych staff. Willie L. Parson for the deans on November 1974 declared the position could not be offered to Chuck.

Initiative 13 1978

To repeal Seattle’s Fair employment and open housing ordinances which protect gay citizens had a lot of activities, actions, and opinions printed towards it. Calendars during this time showed meet-ups, actions, discussion groups, forming committees and many other organization around the subject.

extra glimpses...
There was an ACT UP chapter, a Queer Nation chapter, lesbian Avengers active in Olympia at different points in time. I have found personal zine contributions talking about someone's experience or involvement with them but have not found anything more solid then..."then i met up downtown with the lesbian avengers for drinks..."

I am looking for copies of the magazine/zines of matrix and issues and any photos!

conestoga, cafe, intermezzo, LGBTQ Olympia, olympia history, Initiative 13 1978, chuck harbaugh, evergreen queer alliance, matrix, rainbow restaurant, olympia food co-op, drag balls, drag court, thecla, nozama construction, queer zines, gay resource center, olympia lesbians,

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