Greg In Hollywood meets Melissa Etheridge at an evening celebrating the gay history of Long Beach
Melissa Etheridge and I have something really important in common: we both came of age as gay people while living in Long Beach.
Melissa came back on Saturday night to the town she called home for more than three years in the early 80s to appear at the gala opening of the “Coming Out in Long Beach” exhibit at the Historical Society of Long Beach.
‘I loved waking up here on a Sunday morning and going down to Fourth Street,’ said the two-time Grammy winner and Oscar winner who played several times a week at the lesbian bar Que Sera.
‘These were the people who believed in me and gave me job,’ she told the crowd of more than 200. ‘You supported me, you helped me grow as a musician, you kept coming to hear me play.’
‘We were a community,’ she added. ‘Thank you for making me who I am.’
I’ll be writing more about this night and be posting my interview with Melissa in the coming days. I just wanted to post something real quick before bedtime.
I also wanted to reflect on my years in Long Beach where I lived from the summer of 1993 until the fall of 2000.
When I arrived there, I was so in the closet that it had a padlock on it. But I began to go to the coming out group at The Center Long Beach on Friday nights and went to my first Pride with people from that group.
There were some tough times during those years. A few broken hearts and dating the wrong guys including one who stole my camera! But it was in Long Beach where, for the first time, I began to feel integrated as a person and it was in my house on Mira Mar where I came out, face-to-face, to so many of my friends.
There’s something so special about those years because I was living in a town where I finally felt comfortable enough to be myself.
I will love Long Beach forever.