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The author with Laura Macintosh photo courtesy of Laurie Eiserloh AFTERWORD I BY LAURIE EISERLOH Reminiscences of Gay El Paso IIt was 1991the year of the jewel-tone suit. Ann Richards was the governor, and I was the 20-something executive director of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. I ascended to the job after my boss, Glen Maxey, became the first openly gay man elected to the Texas Legislature. In January 1991, my friends and I marched on the state Capitol three times in 10 days: first for lesbian-gay rights, then to oppose the Gulf War, and finally with Ann Richards in the People’s March on the Capitol. As my friend, the late great AIDS activist Gene Harrington, used to say of the lesbian and gay rights movement back in the 1990s, “We are going to change the world, and if we don’t do it today, then we will tomorrow.” On the Friday evening that now comes to mind, my endlessly patient partner Jess and I were waiting in front of the El Paso airport on a cold, clear, December evening. Laura MacIntosh, doyenne of the local gay group, had invited me to El Paso to build awareness about the work of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. This was an important event since Austin-based LGRL had little presence in El Paso. Jess and I had never met MacIntosh, and she had not given us a description of herself. So we while we enjoyed the late-afternoon light on the Franklin Mountains, we were also slightly uneasy. Jess and I both believe that if you don’t know what to expect, it is best to dress up to show respect, and we had: panty hose, pumps, skirts, pearlsthe works. Two women in a small blue pickup truck pulled up to airport curb. One was quiet and steady in the driver’s seat. The other waved, pushed open the passenger door, and approached with her arms wide, ready to embrace us. This was Laura MacIntosh our host for the weekend. Though her surname was “MacIntosh”a name that reminded me of a rainy day in London, Laura was pure El Paso. Her family was Mexican, from Juarez I believe. She was pretty, soft, and plump, with hennaed hair, pink lipstick, and the most intricate manicure I have ever seen. Each crimson nail had a flower painted on top of the polish. Laura’s smile was warm but subtlelike sunshine on a Mardi Gras day. After embracing us, Laura instructed us to climb into the open back of Pantyhose and all, we obeyed. Soon we were speeding west on Interstate 10. The dark mountains were spangled with street lights that sparkled preternaturally in the crisp air. It was very cold. Jess and I covered ourselves in a scratchy wool blanket that was apparently left in the truck bed for this purpose. Twenty minutes later, we arrived at a trailer park west of Sunland Park Mall. As we entered Laura’s simple but comfortable home, she introduced us to the driver of the truck \(her partsweet smile who worked as a paramedic. Laura’s 11-year-old son Ian greeted us at the door. He had been practicing a stringed instrument, a celloI believe. He was a smart, funny kid who would say, “Prepare to whine!” before he would complain about something. A tiny, wirehaired dog named Pookie, who also had polish on her nails, danced around my feet. Laura was a writer. One of the many things that impressed me about her was that, although she had little money, she rented a small office so she would have space for writing. “A room of one’s own with a lock and a key,” she told me, quoting Virginia Woolf. The next morning she started extensive preparations for the party where she would introduce me to people 30 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 9, 2007