Upcoming Event Dates: 

June 02, 2024 04:00PM

On June 2 at 4 p.m., CAMP Rehoboth will host a book launch event for James Sears’s Queering Rehoboth Beach: Beyond the Boardwalk. Sears’s book chronicles the rise of the LGBTQ+ community in Rehoboth Beach, and its history through the early 2000s.

“It’s important to understand our past so that we can know how to chart our future,” said CAMP Rehoboth Executive Director Kim Leisey about the book and its launch. After a discussion of the history of LGBTQ+ life in Rehoboth Beach, conversation will open up to the community to talk about what’s transpired since the early 2000s, and what lies ahead. 


Full Book Description

"Create a More Positive Rehoboth” was a decades-long goal for progress and inclusiveness in a charming beach town in southern Delaware. Rehoboth, which was established in the 19th century as a Methodist Church meeting camp, has, over time, become a thriving mecca for the LGBTQ+ community. In Queering Rehoboth Beach, historian and educator James Sears charts this significant evolution.

Sears draws upon extensive oral history accounts, archival material, and personal narratives to chronicle “the Battle for Rehoboth,” which unfolded in the late 20th century, as conservative town leaders and homeowners opposed progressive entrepreneurs and gay activists. He recounts not just the emergence of the gay and lesbian bars, dance clubs, and organizations that drew the queer community to the region, but also the efforts of local politicians and homeowners, among other groups who fought to develop and protect the traditional identity of this beach town. Moreover, issues of race, class, and gender and sexuality informed opinions as residents and visitors struggled with the AIDS crisis and the legacy of Jim Crow.

Queering Rehoboth Beach is more than just an inspiring story about a community’s resilience and determination to establish a safe space for itself in the wake of the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It is also a terrific beach read.

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