Jackie Yordan was, according to many who knew him, an “incredible sweetheart and an amazing person… He was truly one of the biggest heartthrobs of the period in New York. The thing about him was that he had no attitude at all and he couldn’t have been sweeter. So, everybody loved him. “And, he was “the hottest guy… top of the ‘in’ crowd.”
1989 to mid-1990s—My husband, Ron Oyer, had a travel business in the 1990s that catered to gay men, geographically mostly from California and New York, though also from many other states. Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Mykonos (Greece), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), were the most popular destinations. The groups featured handsome men looking for excitement and fun. As you can see from the following pictures taken during several different trips to Mykonos in late summer, they found what they were looking for in that magical meeting place on the Aegean.
A few pictures of Michael Dowell and me in the early-to-mid-90s. We lost Michael in 1995. The last shot is a self-portrait he drew of himself coming back to me after an extended stay with his family. It actually captures his happy, adventurous “let’s go” gait. He was hilarious, sweet and always game for a new experience. We’d met in late 1989 at a bar called Trunks in West Hollywood. He was wearing a beige cowboy shirt under a mink vest… yes, mink. He winked at me and I laughed a little, but thought he was cute. I’d like to say those six years were non-tumultuous ones in my early 20s, but there were quarrels, money issues, struggles over our future stability and ultimately a health scare that would become increasingly evident and then eventually take him away from me. It’s difficult for me to think of this as ‘just’ gay history, though our fashions would suggest otherwise. But history is just life as seen through a lens from the future. And tumultuous or not, this was a lovely part of mine.
In all my years at the Pines, my housemates were always fellow worker bees who toiled hard for our time at the beach. Our delight in arriving there, especially in the Plague years, was sometimes overwhelming as seen in this photo circa 1991. Celebrating left to right are an ecstatic Gray Coleman, an incandescent Tom Shoemaker, a blissful Steve Yorra, a thrilled Bill Goeren and a somewhat blurred but equally happy yours truly. Actually, I think we were also hamming it up under a thunderstorm, but this photo still illustrates what a unique and joyous place Fire Island was to many of us. – Steve Bolerjack
In June 1994 the world gathered in New York for Gay Games IV as well as for a massive march outside the United Nations marking the 25th anniversary of Stonewall. I was 31 at the time, newly single, new to New York, and ready to party. I played squash in the Gay Games—getting knocked out in the first round—but my spirits were revived by attending the Stonewall 25 march a few days later. Along the parade route i met two Dutch “girls” who had to have my picture taken with them.
1985 – During a solo vacation in Ibiza in September 1985, I met a muscular hunk, traveling with his younger boyfriend, who professed to be Freddy Mercury’s bodyguard. It was the first indication I’d received that Mercury was probably gay. And, I remember thinking, “Boy, he has good taste in men!”
Circa 1997: While Cherry Grove and The Pines were the center of gay life on Fire Island, another small enclave of gay culture thrived just east of The Pines. About 1/2 hour walk, past Egg Land (where naked old men sat, drooping their stuff in driftwood nests they built around themselves) and Barrett Beach (where daytrippers from Mid Island go) Water Island was smaller (no stores) and much more rustic.
I grew up in Albany GA, that is nothing like Atlanta. I may not look excited in this picture, but i will never forget this birthday. I got my own stereo and a Diana Ross and the Supremes Album. I was probably 10 or 11. I was too young to know GAY, I just knew I loved to dance to Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and all of the big soul Divas I amassed an enormous collection of soul dance music and would spend hours dancing – usually with myself. I didn’t know then how much dancing would pay off in the disco days ahead.
Richie and I met as teenagers in the gay clubs in Boston and both moved to NYC in 1979. We used to go to Studio 54 and Mudd Club together and he introduced me to all the drag queens going to studio back then. His main look was wild punk eye make up, a blond mohawk, a dress made by wrapping electric tape around his body, which I would have to painfully pull of at the end of the night, fishnets, pumps and a stolen pair of my underwear.