Pride Month Edition of Meet Your Neighbor: Connie

“I was having a birthday party at Bonnie and Clyde’s. Gladys was in the corner and smiled. She has a beautiful smile. I asked my friend Vicki ‘who’s that?’ She said ‘you don’t want to know her because she doesn’t speak English.’ I left it at that. I was more interested in my party. I wasn’t looking for a woman at that time. But also, Vicki had a thing for her and didn’t want Gladys to meet me. But, Gladys came over and asked me to dance. I’m not really a dancer, but I said yes. The following Saturday, she was waiting for me. We moved in almost right away.

We started going to the men’s bars in Queens. There were no women’s bars out here. I said to Gladys, we’re just going in there to drink and mind our own business. We were almost welcomed with open arms. There was a man who hated lesbians. The first time we went in, it was Betsy Ross and then it became Magic Touch. I used to work there for a while. Buddha, the manager, was a bingo caller and one day I said I could do that! Believe it or not, that’s how I became the caller. Now, I do bingo here at the center.

I didn’t go to her country for a long time because I was afraid of planes. She’s from Cartagena, Columbia. Slowly she got me on a plane from here to Florida. Never do I drink at 8 o’clock in the morning, but I drank two bloody mary’s and I didn’t care if the plane came down or not! When we went to Columbia, we were already together for 18 years. Her sisters and brother loved me. They were so sweet. I cried when I left because I wish they had been my parents.”

- Connie, Queens Center for Gay Seniors Program Participant

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