|by Beth Fitton|
I remember before I lived in Rehoboth Beach that I always felt a bit like an oddity. If the guests at a party of mostly straight people knew I was gay, I was the oddity. If they didn't know, I felt like I was pretending to be something other than what I was. While some people at my job knew I was a lesbian, I couldn't really be OUT because the Board might not like having a lesbian in my position. (Would donors continue to give money to a lesbian?) I felt uncomfortable most of the time.
I don't think I'm unique. Many gay people fear loss of jobs, family and even death should they be discovered. Today my situation is about as good as it gets. I have a job where no one would refuse to make a donation because I'm gay. (Duh!) My family is accepting and supportive. The closest thing to a death threat that I get is from my doctor regarding the results of blood work for high cholesterol.
Recently, Mary and I went on an Olivia Cruise in French Polynesia: Bora Bora, Moorea, Raiatea, Tahiti, etc. It was a fabulous trip! Each view of the scenery was better than the last. The food was wonderful. The entertainment was great. Snorkeling was awesome. Plus, as most of you know, the real draw for an Olivia cruise is that it is all women. Remember what I said about feeling like the oddity? Well, on a regular (read straight) cruise that is definitely how most gay people feel. On Olivia, it is all women, all the time. The comfort level is great.
Here's the weird thing about the cruise. While dinner companions and other women that we talked to spoke of the various aspects of the cruise as extremely enjoyable, they were enthralled with the all lesbian aspect. They spoke of being really sad to leave the ship. Time for a reality check! Mary and I didn't actually feel that way. Sure, we'd rather be on vacation than at work, but isn't that normal? What we came to realize is that few of our fellow passengers were going home to comfortable communities where they could connect with other gay people on a daily basis. Some were not even going home to the same house as their partner.
Once again, we were reminded of just how lucky we are. We take a lot for granted living in Rehoboth Beach. Now, Mary and I are more determined than ever to support this community and enjoy the many friends we have made here.
One way that we can all support this community is through the CAMP Rehoboth Founders' Circle capital campaign. Currently, 442 people have made a commitment to the Founders' Circle. They have pledged $963,697.85 with $691,160.95 being received.
If you are not a member, please consider adding your name to the Founders' Circle permanent records. You will be making an investment in our community, plus it's a great tax deduction. CAMP Rehoboth is a 501(c)(3) organization and contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
CAMP Rehoboth's board and staff appreciate the commitment of all who have become recent members of the Founders' Circle, upgraded your original pledge, or made your pledge payment.
It takes ongoing work to keep Rehoboth Beach the best place you've ever lived. Add your help. I promise you'll still enjoy vacations elsewhere.
Pledge Form available in PDF format HERE
Beth Fitton is Development Director at CAMP Rehoboth. She may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 14 October 14, 2005