Luchia Fitzgerald: [00:00:00] And after that, I was a frequent visitor at the weekends and started to make friends with people and talk to people about, you know, coming out and all the rest of it, although they didn’t use words like that in those days, of course.
Dr. Sarah Feinstein: [00:00:14] What was the words that they would use?
Luchia Fitzgerald: [00:00:16] Well they would use, you know? Well, you know, have you told anybody love, you know what I mean about your circumstances. It was this type of a thing. We didn’t have that terminology in them days, or out pride or anything like that. And so you see, on one hand, it was very one side of the fence. It was very good and supportive. And there was a lot of love in the room, as they say today. But on the other hand, it was very depressing because of the way everybody was treated outside that pub. When they went into the pub, everybody felt equal and loved and cared for. But when they came outside, people were quite frightened for all sorts of different reasons. And because the police were always hanging around outside, along with gay bashers, as they call them today. And so you’d be running the gauntlet from the Union to the New York and down to a club called the Rouge on Bridgnorth Street at that particular time. And there was a lot of young homeless gays around at the time as well. They were homeless because they’d been thrown out of their homes. Are they left the orphanages, a lot of them and cetera. And they were because they had no place to live. They were jobless, homeless and depression set in that ended in mental health issues. And that sent them rock bottom and a lot of young people actually kill themselves around that particular time. I know this sounds very depressing, but it is the truth. And I do believe that they should be mentioned.
Luchia Fitzgerald: [00:01:44] And the thing was, if you got sick, are mentally ill, are depressed around a particular that particular area, there was a good job. You’d really have to end up being referred to a doctor or you went to the doctor yourself. However, some doctors would recommend that you saw a psychiatrist at that particular time. Now, I was one of those people that was recommended to see a psychiatrist because I suffered terribly at the time from depression because I thought I didn’t realise that these people which were gay, like myself, were so oppressed and so horribly treated in society in general. However, I found out quite quickly and I felt very trapped and that there was no way out and did nothing would change me. So I thought, is this my life from now on? So I went to the doctor and I was referred to a psychiatrist, the psychiatrist actually, and opened my eyes to something that I didn’t know about, which was and he said that he could cure me of this thing that was gay and that when I asked questions about what he meant, he said that what they can do is perform an operation. And that would make me as straight as they say today and that I’d be a lot happier then because he thought in his capacity that was this gay thing that was causing me to have depression.
Luchia Fitzgerald: [00:03:10] So I said, OK, then if this is going to make me normal like other people and I won’t be gay anymore and I’d be happy like, you know, everyone in my family and friends that I grew up with, I’d love because I’d love to go back home to Ireland, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Luchia Fitzgerald: [00:03:25] And so I said, well, how does this what is it about this operation that I didn’t know anything about it? Well, he said, well, cut out a piece of your brain, la dee da, la dee da. So I said, OK. I said, I’ll have a think about that and I’ll come back and see you that night. I went into the union and I told some of the staff behind the bar that was gay, older than me. And one of them took me to one side and said, “Don’t you dare go back there. This happens to an awful lot of people, young people, and they’ve disappeared and some of them have disappeared. We’ve never seen any of them again. And some of them have ended up in mental hospitals like cabbages. Please don’t do this.” So I took their word because I trusted them, because they cared and they knew about the oppression of gay people, which a lot of young people didn’t come out in that particular period. So I never went, but I came very close to it. I was that desperate to just be happy.That’s all I wanted to be.