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Early Gay Liberation Movement at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 1971-1978
Lambda Line

The Whole of Ames Counterculture

The Assortment of "Fringe" Groups That Made Up the Counterculture

Dugan's Deli


Dugan's Deli was a local deli/bar and meeting place which was frequented by a motley assortment of folks who were often affiliated with groups considered to be part of the local counterculture.

Free Flowing

From the beginning much of the 70s Counterculture in Ames was interconnected. It was natural such connections would be made; from 60s hippies and antiwar activists through 70s gay people and lesbians there were too few people in the town and university to support large and vast groups on the fringe. Some other Counterculture people were members of the Phoenix Party, which published the leftist paper, Free Flowing; they were highly involved in ISU student politics as well as other causes in Ames. They supported us in a 1974 demonstration against the I.S.U. Christian Fellowship. Some of the same folks were also in what was known as "The Lunch Bunch" that met around noon every day in the union to discuss the world and themselves. There were also groups as diverse as the Human Sexuality Committee, the US/China Friendship Association, and probably a lot of others I've forgotten right now that were directly or indirectly involved with the Gay Men's group and Lesbian Alliance. Some of the sturdiest of Marxists of the day still apparently viewed gay people to be a manifestation of capitalism that would wither away. Some of the strongest of capitalist gays viewed Marxists as those who would wither away given time. Who was more correct? New trends of thought such as Libertarianism (at least new for me), were starting to convert some people to their own brand of social liberalism mixed with fiscal conservatism. I still looked to Barcelona in the 1930s for guidance, but was to busy living my life and involved with gay politics to bother studying it in real detail so I was rather a failure on many political levels.

Bookmark, Little Read Bookstore

There were still some antiwar folks around, and there was the holiest of all meeting places, Dugan's Deli, on West Street, where all of the groups mentioned and more, along with thoughtful and even horny professors would interact and meet with the rest of us. Dugan's was the only place in town you could go and comfortably be yourself no matter who you were.

The alternative bookstore in town, which catered to any or all of us, was called The Little Read Bookstore.

Photos: Above right, Free Flowing. the 1970s radical newspaper in Ames. Lower right, a bookmark from The Little Read Bookstore.

Intersecting Symbols Line