An event held at the Richmond Triangle Players playhouse last month gave a wealth of insight into the history of Richmond’s LGBTQ community. Speakers spanned 70 years of personal experience – living through some of the best and worst times to be LGBTQ in RVA.
But before we dug too deep, the infamous Dirt Woman spoke to the crowd via pre-recorded video:
Following Dirt Woman (a hard act to follow, even pre-taped) was Ray Bentley, the former owner of the ChaCha Palace and Club Fame. His clubs were some of the many LGBTQ friendly spots in town during the 70′s and 80′s. He was also known for years as “The Movie Machine,” showing midnight movies and other special screenings.
Finally, Richmond’s queen-lesbian historian, and founder of the Radical Lesbian Feminists here in Richmond, Beth Marschak, spoke about the history of LGBTQ folks in the 50′s and 60′s. Marschak details the hardships of no-dance bars, and secret basement house which allowed gay folks to congregate in a time where it was quite illegal. Marschak literally wrote the book on Richmond’s gay history, you can pick it up here.
There’s lost more footage from the even you can find here (via Jerry Williams) – We’ll be posting sections from the event over the coming weeks.