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GCS, GLCS, and The Center

From its humble beginnings in 1978, the board of directors of of GCS, GLCS, and The GLBT Center has seen many faces and names throughout the decades.  With each succession, the organization saw changes in the community, and changes within the its mission.  

This listing has been compiled from memory and from public corporate records which didn't always correlate to the actual membership of the time.  Corrections are always welcome.



NCOD History

In October 1988, the first National Coming Out Day (NCOD) celebration in Central Florida was held at Winter Park's Central Park. Spearheaded by local activist Joel Strack and We the People, the local rally coincided with other first NCODs around the country.

A second annual NCOD celebration is reported to have taken place at the same Winter Park location in October 1989. Between 1990 and 1994, the History Museum has no record of NCOD celebrations being held in Central Florida.

From 1994 through 2004 (eleven years) the University of Central Florida's Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Student Union (GLBSU) celebrated NCOD every year, first on campus and then on the steps of City Hall. During this period, the event was called "A Light in the Closet" and featured coming-out stories and a candle vigil for those unable to come out of the closet.



Swim Orlando

In 1999, Russ Crumley started a masters swim club at the downtown YMCA. The Y had refused to allow the group to play volleyball, but permitted the swim team as long as it was a masters-level group that was open to all members of the Y.  Rick, a devoted swimmer and teacher, was the primary driving force behind the group.


Team Orlando Volleyball

Informal teams played off and on at the Parliament House for years... In 1998, Russ Crumley started an indoor volleyball league - Team Orlando. There was a lot of interest, and it attracted about 8 teams in its first season. They played at an indoor facility near Maguire and John Young Parkway, because the downtown YMCA refused to host an openly gay league. However, the court costs were simply too high, given what each player could/wanted to pay and it ceased operation the next year.


Q Sports

Russ Crumley started QSports in 1998 to see if there was any interest in a gay sports on the web. It was actually the first gay sports site on the web to reach beyond a local market. The staff at ActiveMind created the first site. IThere was a great deal of interest, but it also meant a great deal of work. Along the way, Russ discovered Jim (sports nut) and Cyd (writer for LA Times) - the awesome guys at OutSports -  and realized they were far more capable and committed to running a sports page. He referred his members to their site and closed QSports in 2001.


Central Florida Softball League

One morning in May 1997 (or thereabouts...) Russ Crumley ran into Algieri Pabon and he chatted about his weekend in Tampa that had included watching a game of softball in Hyde Park. He commented "It's a shame Orlando doesn't have one..." and I replied "Why not start one?"  They both thought it would be a great idea. Russ had never played baseball or softball, and I think it was a first for Algieri, too. Russ talked about people who might be interested and I called many of them that week. He printed up flyers on his home printer and scheduled the first "game" at Delaney Park on a little league field. Vince and Russ papered Southern Nights and the Firestone parking lots, and got an immediate response. About 24 people showed up at the park for the first scrimmage. In fact, the field was so small almost everybody hit a home run! 
In June(?), a small group made some shirts and traveled to Tampa to play an informal game with one of the Tampa teams. There they learned lesson #1: summer is way too hot for softball!
Russ went online for research and called other leagues (Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, etc.) to find out how they organized their leagues and incorporated the Central Florida Softball League in July 1997. It organized into teams -  and met in his dining room for the first year - and began planning a Fall season. The new league continued to advertise for players and fielded a total of 8 teams for the first season in the  Fall of 1997.  


The Movement began in the early eighties when several groups of parents of gays sprang up in different parts of our Country. Then, following the 1979 March on Washington for Gay Rights, 26 parents from these groups met for the first time and the Movement was born --headquartered in Washington D.C.
In 1989 an entry in my checkbook register shows a contribution to P-FLAG in Orlando so that was about the time that Allene Baus was working very hard to get the Orlando Chapter started.

Orange Blossom Bowling Association

Orange Blossom Bowling Association premiered May 21, 1985 at Bowl America Winter Park for a 14 week Summer league.  Charlie Hogan of GCS provided $50 in seed money to assist the league in getting started. Major sponsors of the league were the Silver Hammer Saloon, Cellblock M, and Orlando attorney Timothy Straus.

When the league opened its first checking account with Sun Bank, they were surprised to see the check when they arrived bearing the name "Orange Blossom Blowing Association". 


Act Out Theater

Lewis Routh was the founder of Act Out Theater. Act Out Theatre performed at The Parliament House with it’s initial production being his own THE WHORES OF A DIFFERENT COLOR. Subsequent shows at the PH were Harvey Fierstein’s SAFE SEX and Robert Patrick’s POUF POSITIVE which featured Paul Wegman. The group then moved to the Phoenix at Aloma in Winter Park. Their first production there was Harvey Fierstein’s FORGET HIM. Their lesbian themed play was Merrill Mushroom’s BAR DYKES.

Moon Parties

In the late seventies, Orlando area lesbians wanted a space for their own as the Orlando bar scene remained a man's world and many females, (gay or straight) did not feel welcome there. The moon parties were started by a small group of women (womyn at the time) who had been publishing a newsletter called "Changes," that featured poetry, advertising, and articles about women's issues.  The Orlando moon parties were simple social gatherings held in a home or backyard setting. About 50 women typically attended the gatherings that occured on or near a full moon.

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