Writer's club at Gay City
Summer 1999

My main menu,


My friend in Seattle invited me to a gay writer's club, but remarked that it was too bad we didn't have any of our writing with us to share. Then we realized we could stop in at an internet cafe and get print outs from our web pages. There happened to be such a cafe right around the corner from the writer's club. We both got print outs from stories we wanted to share and both stories were hits at the club. Only in the 90s can you be 90 miles from home and still rummage through your files.

The building looks like a doctor's office and it is full of offices and conference rooms.  Home of Seattle's Gay City health project.  It's an organization for promoting healthy lifestyles in the gay community and AIDS prevention work.

Picture taken summer of 1999

Revisiting middle school ?
(No Mr. Swisher was actually his real name!)

My review of Gay City University 2000

Took train to Seattle for weekend of Feb 25 2000

It was like going back to my Junior High days, Several weeks ago,  when I took the train to Seattle and attended "Gay City University." GCU is a one day event where a middle school is rented by an organization called Gay City.  They use it to offer classes.  There was also a school lunch room complete with long tables. There was also  an opening assembly, a school song and there was even a school nurse; in drag of course.  It really did remind me of the Junior High (these days called middle school) I went to, many years ago, in the town of Pullman, Washington. 

Back then there was a teacher named "Mr. Swisher."  I am not kidding.  Mr. Swisher taught orchestra.  He really wasn't that swishy; even though he had the name.  He was a great teacher too.  Several hundred students (mostly people averaging in their 40s) attended this future replay of the middle school.  Gay City University taught classes ranging from "home buying strategies for gay men" to a class on the "sociology of gay male prostitution;" taught by a former prostitute.  Other classes ranged from auto mechanics to the gay history of Seattle.

One of the classes, I took, dealt with self publishing - creating one's  own "zine." We talked about things like putting out ones own newsletter  with a ditto machine. We also discussed self publishing on the Internet.   Younger classmates may have had no memory of what ditto copies looked like; or more importantly, what they smelled like.

Another middle school memory, I had from years back, was having crushes on certain people.  Gay City University had a "system" for registering one's crushes.  Little green slips were passed out at the beginning assembly.  If another classmate looked real interesting, one was to use the green slip to write down the number from that person's name tag along with a secret note.  The green slips were to be anonymously placed into a box on the stage of the auditorium. 

At the end of the day, there was another assembly where the green slips were handed out to their appropriate recipients.  The "principal" promised not to read the secret notes. 

I noticed that one person got a lot of the notes.  He was a handsome blond with a dynamic personality.  As they were handing out the notes, they kept calling his name.  Finally the principal ask him to "just sit on the stage"; rather than having to get out of his chair and walk to the stage each time his name was called.

The history class taught me a lot about early life in Seattle; gay life that is.  Photos and memories of places with names like "The Garden Of Allah" came up.  We heard about a notorious card room under The Double Header Tavern in Pioneer  Square.  Memories around the Double Header date back to at least the 1940s.  The Double Header is still in business making it, possibly, the oldest gay bar in America. 

I really enjoyed my day of "going back to school" at Gay City University.  Gay City sponsors many community building activities in hopes of building a healthier gay community.

Exit to more information about Gay City Health Project.