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How Rehoboth Beach became a paradise for queer locals, outcasts & closeted DC government workers

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The following is an excerpt from Queering Rehoboth Beach: Beyond the Boardwalk by queer historian James T. Sears and available June 11 from Temple University Press.Rehoboth, which was established in the 19th century as a Methodist Church meeting camp, has, over time, become a thriving mecca for the LGBTQ+ community.

Queering Rehoboth Beach is more than just an inspiring story about a community’s resilience and determination to establish a safe space for itself in the wake of the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

It is also a terrific beach read.During the 1950s, Rehoboth became a furtive beach destination…Subscribe to our newsletter for a refreshing cocktail (or mocktail) of LGBTQ+ entertainment and pop culture, served up with a side of eye-candy.From the 1950s and into the 1960s, closeted locals and DC government folks cruised secluded beach dunes or attended weekend afternoon cocktail parties with pitchers of Manhattans or martinis.

The most exclusive were near Silver Lake, at the summer home of Bob Gray, President Dwight Eisenhower’s appointments secretary, who was becoming DC’s most sought-after lobbyist. “His travels on the social circuit were so extensive,” detailed the Washington Post, that the gentleman who “smiled like a diamond” would wear out “two tuxes annually.”Others hooked up at the Pink Pony, a Boardwalk bar owned by WWII veteran Ted Nowakowski Sr.

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