Letter to the Editor of Options and Article Writer Kim Stowell,
Thank you for the effort to write and publish a history of 40 years of Options: A Mainly Accurate and Very Loving History, pp 18-19. This story is both important and loving; but, it does have some significant inaccuracies. We hope Options will publish these corrections so that we may have a more accurate history going forward.
Some facts to fix the incorrect info in the article, taken directly from the first 13 issues of the publication:
The first Options was published in May, 1982 – Sub-heading: RIGTF News (RI Gay Task Force)
The Rhode Island Alliance for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights (the correct name) was founded a full 11 months after Options – independent of each other though some of the creators were the same (and an important distinction from RIGTF)
Kate Monteiro and Tina Wood – as fabulous and as activist as they are – did not work directly with Options during its formative years
The first issue DID include advertising
The publication was not referred to as GLORI (Gay and Lesbian Options of RI), at least not when founded and not during its first five years of publication. Please show where/when that happened?
While Options could not have survived without the years’ long contributions of time, talent, and energy by Michael Guy, Sally Hay, and Jim Seaver (among many others), it is not true that theirs were the “first names associated specifically with the publishing of Options.” Options was founded by a small group of dedicated activists working together. The first-year crew included these leaders (some who did not share their last names):
Editor: Jos Fayette
Design Editor: Bruce Natke
Advertising Manager: Bill Pierce
Staff: Ed, Tom, Diane Cook, Linda Sable, "Dr. D.," Chuck Noice, Judy Scarfpin, Bill, and Alex.
By June, 1983, it appears that Jos Fayette and Bruce Natke had moved on and Diane Cook assumed the editing and publishing roles, helped by a crew that included some of those named above as well as Marilyn (now M’lyn) Hines, Nancy Bennett, Cheryl Auger, J.K. Gaffney, Jeff Alcook, and John Leo (among others).
These facts can be checked out by looking at the early issues of Options carefully archived at the Providence Public Library in the LGBTQ Community Special Collections. Also, we have this information directly from one of the Lesbian co-founders of Options as well as the past issues.
Re-creating our early histories is important – they matter. And even more so when they are accurate!
This is a constructive lesson for all of us:
We could all do better research - including to interview those still around who can help with reconstruction of long-ago facts
Keep good notes of meetings and staffing
Document what you know – especially as memories fade
Know your resources (e.g., Providence Public Library among others)
Mev Miller, Lesbrarian and Instigator of Wanderground (Wanderground.org) and M’lyn
Hines, with apologies to anyone whose name and contribution we have inadvertently omitted–please write in to contribute to this history.