Roanoke-based WVTF’s Unmonumental program aims to collect stories from RVA which look past some of the bigger talking points in town. And with the events in Orlando, producer Kelly Libby went in search for our city’s early LGBTQ-bar days for the scoop on what life was like.
Her search lead her to Bill Harrison who is always more than happy to talk about his heydays at places like Dial Tone:
“I’ve lived in Richmond since the mid-70s, and actually my initial introduction to the gay community was through a gay bar. I was in college, and I had become friends with a guy who was a good friend, and a few months into the friendship he came out to me. I, at that time, did not even know what the word ‘gay’ meant. I knew that I was homosexual, but I did not think that you actually did anything about it. I thought you would just put it in the back of your mind and marry a woman.
“And so when Jack came out to me, he told me about a gay bar in Richmond, the Dial Tone. And he said ‘I know a couple hundred gay men,’ and I thought to myself, ‘he’s really a liar, because there’s not 200 gay men in America.’