Speaking of disco, for International Women’s Day, here’s a photo of my queer aunt hanging out with her loud and proud posse in Cancun, 1952. (She’s in the right corner, wearing the scarf on her head.)
Her sister, my mom, came out in the early 70s as well. Together they raised my brother and me in California. (He’s the only straight one in the family. And he’s awesome.) My grandfather, their dad, was a musician who specialized in tropical ballads and was popular in Cancun back in the day. He loved music, drinking and women. Passions he transfered to his two daughters more than any of his three sons.
As long as I can remember, there was always music or singing or somebody playing a guitar in our Echo Park/Silverlake house. And, in the late 70s/early 80s, it also meant lots and lots of disco. When people say disco was the music of the urban minority, I know what that means first-hand. We were always comfortable, but that never stopped my mom and aunt from fighting for other women, especially other single moms.
I learned to see life and came to love disco through their struggles and joys. I especially loved Fridays when my mom came home from work with a couple of six packs for her and a stack of 45s for us. TGIF.
This is the main reason I got into and continue to write about electronic music. And as I post about the death of one of their favorite disco singers on this day, I am reminded of their enduring influence. My aunt has passed away, but my mom is now retired and back in Cancun.
She’s still feisty. And she still loves my mixtapes.