Special Collections

Valerie's: Dance, Disobedience, and LGBTQ+ Activism in Southern Maine

Monday June 2, 1975 Biddeford Saco Journal

Monday, June 2, 1975, Biddeford Saco Journal 

Many residents and visitors to Maine are familiar with Ogunquit's reputation as a "gay-friend;y" seaside destination - a sort of Provincetown of the North. Before openly catering to a gay audience became de rigueur, it was common for establishments to require queer patrons to "play straight" in order to participate. After the arson of a local queer-owned bar called the Stage Door in neighboring Wells, a group of young activists decided to take matters into their own hands by staging an act of public disobedience at Valerie's, a straight-owned supper club in Ogunquit. What followed is a story of compassion, bravery, love, and yes, dance. 

 

For the Valerie's podcast several sources that are easily accessible through the USM Special Collection Digital Commons were used:

 

USM Lesbian and Gay Oral History Project.

1999 interview with Stan Fortuna and Peter Prizer  

1999 interview with Susan Henderson 

 

Querying the Past: LGBTQ+ Maine Oral History Project Collection

2016 interview with Steven Bull 

2019 interview with Peter Prizer

2019 interview with Stan Fortuna

 

Maine Gay Task Force Newsletter Archives

Maine Gay Task Force Newsletter, Vol.1, No.04 (December 1974) featuring a listing for a New Year's Eve event at The Stage Door.

Maine Gay Task Force Newsletter, Vol.2, No.02 (February 1975) featuring "Stage Door Threatened" article. 

 

Past Events

Maine LGBT History: Life & Activism in the 70s. Part One. Panelists Mariah (Susan) Breeding, Stephen Leo, Wendy Ashley, Steven Bull, Stan Fortuna discuss their involvement in events important to the history of the LGBTQ+ equality movement in Maine. Wendy Ashley talks about the action at Valerie's beginning at the 9:00 minute mark.