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Pat Turner describes early experiences as a lesbian growing up in the south, conflicts with her enthusiasm for religion as a young person, and her family’s reaction to her sexual orientation. She talks about the relative lack of gay social life in Tennessee, despite the existence of certain bars in Nashville. Discusses how her first letter to The Ladder became an article, and the response from readers. Describes working on The Ladder, and later experiences after the Stonewall.
Discusses her child, a son. He was the product of her one-day marriage. She kept him for about 8 months and then her brother and his wife took him and raised him. He would spend the summers with her until he was 12 and then he lived with her and spent the summers with her brother and his wife.
Believes lesbians make better mothers because they know more. She didn’t want her son to go into gay life because she felt it would be difficult for him, she doesn’t believe that gay men relationships last. She believes you can teach someone not to be gay.
They talk about gay men and lesbian relationships and social interactions. She would call upon her gay male friends to be her date to events that she needed a date, also sometimes family events. They talk about marriages between a gay man and gay woman. Debra says that she knew quite a few couples who had done that to put up a front, but that those relationships always worked out well. Debra also talks about marriage between two women. She never wanted to get married but knew women who did.
They also discuss alcoholism and drugs among the gay community.
On the second tape, Debra further discusses fights in the lesbian community. Madeline asks if she knew any lesbians who played sports in the 1940s and 1950s. Debra believes lesbians played sports but cannot definitely say so.
Debra discusses her experiences as a lesbian. She talks about her first lesbian relationship when she was 12, how she was married for one day, how her mother knew something was different about her, and how her sister figured out she was a lesbian because she was only married for one day.
She talks about her relationships with women, how she never openly acknowledged that she was gay but if she was asked she wouldn’t deny it.
They discuss monogamy, she was mostly faithful, but she also talks about jealous partners and how when one is accused of things, one might as well and go ahead and do it.
She doesn’t believe that a lesbian relationship is any different than a straight relationship.
They discuss bars and areas in Buffalo that she would frequent: Moon Glow bar, Pearls bar, Ralph Martins, Ryan’s Hotel, Little Harlem. They also discuss dating rituals, fashion, and relationship/ courting roles.