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

No Penalty for Early Withdrawal

The Personal is the Political

Things had begun to change. I had new responsibilities; I'd adopted a cat. University communities change faster than almost anyplace else. I didn't intend to withdraw but it had begun. It's the way it should be. I had traveled to the sun and back since my 19th birthday and a lot of people were awfully helpful in so many ways for taking me on this journey that I never expected to have. There were still other days of activity left. I went to gay parades in Chicago and met my future San Francisco roommate on my first trip to visit that city.

But it was becoming more of a time for other people to be the guides in Ames. New people needed to be there to help new folks travel the same route or find their own new one. A 23 year old is a lot older than a 19 year old, even though as a 48 year old I can't remember how large the chasm really was. Young people arriving at Ames needed their own peer group. The rest of us needed to go on with our own pursuits. I'd concentrated on gay politics for so long I didn't learn a lot else during those intense years.

Allen Bell had already moved to Iowa City for the next school year; Joey Franko was living in Des Moines by the time we did Dimension 5. The other people I met in October 1971 had moved on or moved away too except for one or two women, and even they left Ames for other shores not too long after this time.

But lots of the people who came in the 1973 school year remained. They and I talked about getting away from Ames for a long time before we all cut the umbilical cord and did leave. Some of us stayed there until beyond the end of the decade.

—Dennis Brumm

Intersecting Symbols Line