Dorian Society

Dorian Society: Oral History

Ken Hoole, Dorian Society

I had met [Rev.] Mineo Katagiri, and at that time I was still struggling with the issue of being gay. I wasn't comfortable with it. ... Katagiri encouraged me to visit the Dorian Society meeting and see what it was about, and see if it was something I was interested in. So I did, and things just sort of clicked.

It really represented a significant change in my outlook on life, because up to that point it seemed as if all the gay men I met were, to some extent, unhappy or misfits or -- I don't know, just not making it real well. And when I met people in Dorian, I met professional people who were happy, productive individuals -- very much involved in their work -- and for whom being gay was only one aspect of their personality, their lives. It wasn't their whole existence. So for the first time, I began to get the message, "Hey, I can be gay and I can be happy and productive." That was the first time I ever got that message.

Anyway, between that and their saying, "Wouldn't you like to be president?" [laughter] I jumped in! ... I presume Katagiri must have given me a phone number or a name, because the meeting was held in somebody's apartment.

Interviewer: On Capitol Hill?

Ken: Yes. Yes! [laughter] Absolutely!

Interviewer: We're talking about the late 60s, right?

Ken: Yes, 1967.

Interviewer: And the move from Pioneer Square is just now starting to sort of drift up towards Capitol Hill? Or was it already in process, well along?

Ken: It was probably in process. ... I would say most of us in Dorian were probably of a more conservative nature than the people who formed the Gay Alliance. ... I can remember talking to them once, and one of them saying, "We need to demand this and that!" And some of us said, "That's not the way to get anything. We're not going to accomplish anything by demanding anything." So there was a real rift, very different idea about how to approach these things.

Ken Hoole, interview by NWLGHMP, tape recording, Seattle, WA, 30 June 2004.