John Jenrette? The one who had a quickie with his wife on the Capitol steps? Is he gay?
What about the gay men and women who live in Charleston now? If it weren't for people like John Jenrette, that great house with the Chinese Chippendale decoration on East Bay Street wouldn't be there...nor many other beautiful houses all over the country. And he is far from being the only prominent gay man who has/is playing a part in present-day Charleston. Dozens of man and women have been at the heart of making Charleston a destination for folks who love art and music, gardens and houses, and they are an important part of the city's history. Why the seemingly arbitrary cut-off at mid-20th century?
Hopefully the state legislators who wish to deprive state-supported colleges and universities of funds if they associate any activity with LGBTTQIA people will not discover that Greene's site is hosted on and part of the College of Charleston's website. Y'all hide it now, 'cause the rest of the state, especially elected officials aren't so tolerant.
I was on the board during the time of Charleston Pride moving downtown and I will say with a loud voice that the decision was only made after a survey went out to hundreds of pride participants. The board was met with overwhelmingly amounts of people wanting pride to at least attempt to hold the parade downtown! We went into the City of Charleston office and were granted a permit to hold the event downtown Charleston. I know we were all shocked especially since most people thought it would never happen! To look at this as a bad thing is just awful! Charleston Pride could easily change venues and I think mixing it up is a great thing. Instead of complaining why don't you join the pride board and make a push to alternate between downtown and North Charleston! I for one am 100% for that!!!!
Not hiding behind a vague screen name!
Well said, Ben. That aligns with what older family members have told me as well.
However, the impression that Charleston specifically / SC in general was some sort of big KKK rally until just before whichever transplant arrived is indeed common. "When I moved here in 1998 from New Hampshire, gay men were just starting to live without the fear of instant public execution in Marion Square."
Back in the early seventies when I had a catering company called "The Movable Feast," we did quite a lot of adult men gay receptions held at private homes in what is now called "The French Quarter," and around Ansonboro. All the events were black tie and other than the fact that they were all men, with several older committed couples, the events were just like any other downtown reception. Most of them came from prominent families and I recognized them at other receptions all over town. They appeared to be unconditionally well received. I think, contrary to the perceptions stemming from popular urban legends of Charleston's social insularity, that Charlestonians then were far less brittle and more forbearing than commonly depicted.
Wonder if there will ever be a serial rapist pride parade? A deviant behavior pride parade? An adulterers pride parade? a child molesters pride parade? Perhaps and alcoholic and drug users pride parade? How about a blasphemers pride parade or a fornicators pride parade. These people need to come out of the closet least they become neurotic..
Obviously, whoever wrote this article never read my Wicked Charleston books or taken my tour.
I can't believe this article neglected to mention that Harlan Greene wrote "Why We Never Danced the Charleston." I read it after checking it out from the Charleston County Library eons ago (aka the mid-80s). Excellent book. I was a teenaged girl when I read it, so, it was quite eye opening. And soon after, when I was in my 20s and more involved in the downtown scene, I do remember learning there were many more LGBT folks in Charleston than I'd imagined. Some "out," some reeeeeeally "in" (and some still there). To me that part of Charleston was always the most fun... the "what you see is not always what you get" side of the population.
The other effect of moving downtown? The Pride organizers spit in the face of the people of North Charleston who accepted them when the City rejected them. I am glad that this event has been a success and has been able to grow and hope that it does grow. But, the way they treated Mayor Summey who put his political neck out there and lost votes for supporting the event was not classy.
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