Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gay Life in Southern Delaware




The dog days of summer are here already. Still, life is good here in the southern most county of Delaware, Sussex County. The August issue of Delaware today has an excellent article on the New Delawarean. That's me, a retiree from seeking refuge from the tax happy state of Pennsylvania. My school taxes were so high in Pennsylvania that I could no longer afford to live in that verdant state. In addition to the ever increasing school taxes, there were the other taxes like the state sales tax, country tax, and township tax. The tax burden left me no choice but to move to a tax friendlier state like Delaware. It was either Delaware or South Carolina (where my younger brother lives.) Another factor in my decision to move to Delaware, specifically the Rehoboth Beach area, is that it is a more inclusive community. What does "inclusive community" mean you ask? Gay friendly. I don't have to live in a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" environment down here. In Pennsylvania, my partner and I were accepted as long as we kept a low profile. We don't want to be "accepted." We just want to live like other people. We can do that here in southern Delaware. Ironically, we're not involved in the local gay community at all. We live in a neighborhood which is basically straight. There are three other gay couple in this neighborhood, one male and two females. The organized gay community in the Rehoboth Beach area is generally conceded to be Camp Rehoboth. Unfortunately, they operate more like a private exclusive club than an open "all inclusive" organization. Their main function seems to be fund raising to further perpetuate their survival, much the same as TV evangelical ministers are always raising funds to keep them on TV in order to raise more funds. This isn't knocking Camp Rehoboth or their purported function of "creating a more inclusive environment", but stating the reality of their primary function - raising funds. My partner and I are enjoying a comfortable retirement in Delaware without the benefit of Camp Rehoboth and their "sensistivity training" of local police officers. We're retirees just like any other retirees in our neighborhood, gay and straight. We buy groceries, pay our bills, mow our lawn, and have family issues just like any other family. Now that the dog days of summer are here, we're just trying to stay cool like the straight folks.

10 comments:

  1. Okay, let's start with knocking out that word verification so I know I can post: IWSOT - hmmm, maybe it knows I have trouble seeing, and gave me an easy one this time - hooray!

    I'm guessing the bee is subliminal: 2bornot2be - almost a custom license plate!

    I've never heard of a country tax; do you mean county tax?

    I think you want to put an 's' on couple, and turn that into couples.

    I'm just noticing the spelling, as well as the content; and I'm glad you've moved away (as we did from California) a state that simply swipes that 'fixed income' from you in a way that isn't worth staying.

    When I lived in California, I first lived in Laguna Beach - it's an area filled with gay couples, and I think they also feel more comfortable in that community. To me, I never noticed; people are who and what they are, and I'm only repelled by how a person treats me (if it's unkind or rude).

    I'm attracted to people who are kind; honest, and active/creative.

    I simply can not imagine not accepting someone into a community because of their choice of religion or partner.

    I know when I visited Province Town (P-town), there were many gay people there. I did have one bad experience when a woman approached me in the bathroom; I learned it could be safer to go into the men's room while dining at that restaurant (smile).

    I remember my husband being approached by a guy when we were in San Francisco - we didn't know we were in a gay bar, and that was an experience - no harm done, but we just sat a bit closer and hugged openly a bit more to 'signal' the rest of the patrons.

    By now, you should have got the card I sent you - hope you didn't find it too presumptious of me.

    I'm heading on over to see what's on not a ditto head now.

    Today it's back to the dentist; still trying to give me a set of chompers...

    Diane

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  2. I was disappointed to read your misguided take on CAMP Rehoboth. You know little about what they have been doing for the past 21 years, but chose to parrot what others who have never volunteered in the community assume is truth.
    There are literally hundreds of us volunteers who work various events and fundraisers sponsored by CAMP and it all goes back to the community. Whether or not you choose to take advantage of the rewards is up to you, but don't paint with such a broad brush.
    What you and your partner are enjoying is the direct result of the groundwork laid many years ago when you were still in the closet.
    You really should learn more for yourself and evaluate CAMP on its merits.

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  3. I've read and understand your concern that I don't approve of the excessive fund raising activities of Camp Rehoboth. It is very presumptious to state that "what you and your partner are enjoying is the direct result of the ground work laid many years ago when you were still in the closet." What my partner and I are enjoying IS NOT A DIRECT RESULT OF CAMP REHOBOTH'S activity but rather a direct result of our own hard work and integrity, and personalities. I came out in 1963, right after I got out of the service, before coming out was fashionable or safe. I've always insisted that I be accepted for who I am, gay, straight, tall, short, white or black. To assume that I would be accepted because a gay organization like Camp Rehoboth produces sterotypical gay spectacles every year like "Sundance" and "Love" is absurd. Those activities are fine for those who participate in them. But that's just what they are, an excuse for a party for a bunch of gay guy and gals who live at or near Rehoboth Beach. Just as the wealthy robber barons of the Nineties invented charity balls to have an excuse to party because their ostentatious display of wealth started to create problems back then in the midst of so much poverty, Camp Rehoboth throws a party for itself to perpetuate itself to raise even more funds to throw another party to further perpetuate themselves. I would have more respect for them if they organized a group and picked up litter along Route 1. The times that I've volunteered on highway litter patrols accomplished so much more than bidding on a "slave" at some love auction. I think Camp Rehoboth should rethink how they present themselves to the straight community that doesn't reinforce gay stereotypes. As the child said "Look, the king has no clothes." With all due respect, we can agree to disagree. I resent being told that Camp Rehoboth is my saviour just as I would resent being force fed any other myth.

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  4. Wow - I came here to check on the new entires (love those bluebirds), and found this.

    Hmmmm - I'd say from the e-mails and the entries on Ron's blog, that Ron and Bill have created a place for themselves that is of their doing, and no one else's.

    It seems to me Ron an Bill have been ever diligent in working each day, to make their little 'haven'; their part of the world, special, and with no help or aid from anyone.

    Just my observation.

    Diane

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  5. Ron, do we really have to do word verification; then our blogger e-mail and then our password just to comment?

    Don't you think you could set your comments such that it would be a bit easier to tell you what we think?

    It's such a hassle...............

    Possibly you don't know how hard it is; possibly you can make the changes as I have.

    Just asking......

    Diane

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  6. Sorry about the typo' - AND (not an) is what I should have written.

    Still, I see nothing but what you and Bill have done together, to make your 'world' special - no help from anyone..........

    Don't let the remarks of others undermine what you know is true; stand strong, Ron.

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  7. Oh yes, I'm liking the music - see you picked a few from my play-list, and that Grover Washington really gets me going.....

    Diane

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  8. Diane,
    Your prescient comments are much appreciated. Camp Rehoboth is always on a tear to raise funds and even more funds but to what effect? What I resent is being attacked because I dared to question what's with all the fund raising and how will that change my life? I was told "they have sensitivity training with the local police officers" and "they distribute condoms to the local gay bars." Well, I need a LITTLE MORE than that to contribute $375,000 to build the new auditorium.

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  9. Thank you Vanna. I'm glad my post is reaching a wider audience.

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