Wednesday, February 16, 2011

exclusive retirement homes - not welcome

I was going to continue my post from yesterday, and I might still get back to that at some point.  But one nice thing about not having a "readership" or following, I can skip around and let my thoughts go wherever they want, and no one complains that they had trouble following.

I read a post this morning on someone else's blog about retirement homes. And it reminded me of something. Back in 96 I spent almost 6 months travelling the US in an RV (more on that story would have been in installment 4 or 5 if I'd continued on with yesterday's post). One of the places we visited was in Arizona. I forget the exact name, but near Phoenix.  As we were travelling we would research and stay at various campgrounds, and my then partner found this lesbian only campground/trailer park that was set up for retired women only space.  There was a fairly large population staying at this park, and there was another women only park just down the road.  Both had similar rules and restrictions. The premise was this was a space where women could live in a RV community, park their RV or in some cases a mobile home or a park model, during their retirement years.  The place was women only, men were not welcome on the grounds.  Even children were frowned upon and only allowed during certain "daylight" hours, and could not be out running around even then without being with an adult. They had organized dances, and card games, and other community events. While we were there they were having one of their dances and the park down the street was hosting the dance.
I found the place disturbing. Partly because we were there with my daughter who was 10 at the time. Partly because it was so exclusive. My partner thought the place was great. And would have even considered buying into it except for the fact they didn't allow men visitors at all, and she was very close to her brother, not to mention all the neices/nephews that her sisters and brother had.  I think she was ok with the idea of restricting access if it didn't have to apply to her.
The one highlight/memory I have of visiting that place was meeting the woman who was living in the RV next door to our site.  Her name was Elaine Mikels, she was in her mid-70's, and an amazing interesting woman. She had just recently written a book about her part in the events during stonewall.  Both my partner & I ended up getting a version of her book (she had two different editions) and having her sign them.  At that time she was splitting her time between this place and Sante Fe NM.  She seemed to prefer Sante Fe.  She was also opposed to some of the more extreme views and rules/restrictions that were in place there at the campground.  For example she thought it was a mistake to restrict access to both men & children.  Children she felt are our future.
Some things I think are great to participate in a "lesbian or GLBT" space/atmosphere. But I wouldn't want to live year round in a place that was so restrictive.  I have enjoyed vacationing places where gays are openly welcomed. Where it is ok to walk down the street holding hands, or to kiss your lover without fear. But then again those places do not exclude anyone. Other than maybe bigots.  And I'm not sure they are excluded as much as that isn't any place they want to go or would feel comfortable at.  I remember several years back talking about a vacation I was planning to P-town (Provincetown, MA) with some coworkers.  One of them made a comment warning me that there were a lot of "lesbians & gays" there and to watch out. Obviously he didn't realize he was talking to one. LOL


Diane J Standiford said...

Well, of course I agree with you. I would NEVER want to live in an exclusive place. That is NOT how I roll. Ick.

Doug B said...

I kinda like a mix. I'm not much of a joiner because I find a fellowship of like-mindeds somewhat stuffy after a while. I moved into the community where I now live just as it was beginning to open up to everyone. At first it was for retired folks only. I think that wasn't working out well financially because the people kept dying off. LOL. But I guess I can understand why some people want to be exclusive.

Jade said...

I remember that place. I remember not fully understanding that it was a rule situation though... But I do recall being in a campground while in Arizona where I was to stay in the RV.... I found that place... very boring to say the least... I enjoy being outdoors and I remember not liking being cooped up when we stayed there... You may have tried to explain the rules... but honestly I don't think I understood at the time....

And as a side note... I think that would be an interesting place to visit... but I don't think you would want to live there... I don't think it is right to completely ban children and men... As you even said children are the future... I mean I can see not letting them run around amuck but if they being supervised and with a parent/adult I wouldn't see the issue... and then the men thing?.... I mean if you want it to be a Women ONLY location thats fine... But to restrict visitors?

I mean I am sure that there are many women that would like that place but then have brothers or relatives they are close with.... Or say you move to a place like that... well then I would be able to visit... but what about My Boy? he wouldn't be able to join us... and if we get married someday in the future and have kids.. well then you wouldn't get to see them either... Then you are just missing out on so much... I just think that rules like that are way too strict... there should be a leeway situation there...

But hey... thats just my two cents ;oP

MS Day Dreamer said...

@J - Yes, the whole sabbatical trip was full of interesting places to visit, but don't know that you would want to live there.
but no worries, M & I have no plans to retire to such a place, so you & your boy will be welcome.