Something Personal; A Woman's Place Is In The House: A Portrait of Elaine Noble; 105
Something personal you know number one I want you to meet me.
The sixth district depended upon a noble victory for many will probably hold significance because she is the first person to be state representative. Her supporters feel that she's broken the ice. However according to him it's not a victory for the gay community but a victory for someone who is ready to deal with the issues in her district. Noble said quaters the banks for Boston Seven News. When I ran for political office it was really important to me to be open about my gayness even though I felt a lot of pressure from people telling me to either downplay it or not say anything about it at all. And it was important to me because it's part of who I am personally and part of my politics. And I I didn't really think that I had to play that kind of game and I wanted to win.
Well I think I was about 20 or 21 years old and I I think part of the biggest motivation is so that. Was that I no longer wanted to live sort of a dual life and especially live that kind of lie with my parents. So that I went home several times to tell them and never really did it when I finally got around to telling them I think. Like any other parents they're really concerned and upset and wanted to know what they had done wrong. So that I had to be around them to tell them that they didn't do anything wrong it wasn't their fault that they weren't to blame. And. It was a question of really being there to sort of almost reverse roles and to let them know that I cared about them and that they should in turn care about me even though my lifestyle was different than the one that they might have. Preferred for me. But I really think it's important however painful I mean. I had to face the fact that if my parents couldn't accept me for who i am i could i had
to to run the risk of saying that I'd never see them again of cutting the cord. And that's pretty hard for anybody to do with their family but I think that's an important place to start. Because if you you start with your own roots then you're able to extend yourself and help other people. But if you haven't dealt with those people around you or close to you it's very difficult for you to help anybody else. Down there is Barney Frank's district. And as you come up here in the middle of the street our district divide so that in essence technically he has people on the side of the street. And I have people on this side of the street. People pretty much in these two blocks of beacon and wall borough and Commonwealth Avenue. I have concerns about the buildings that they own 50 percent of them are owner occupied buildings. There are people that really demand and should get good city services they carry a big ball of the taxes in the city and they really should get the
kind of services that they're paying for. But as we move through the district I think that you'll see the different kinds of factions but that's pretty much. The makeup of the people who live in the brownstones in this part of the Back Bay. OK this is. The other part of my district. It's part of the Fenway. It hasn't got the same kind of problems as the back part has. It's not as stable in terms of owner occupancy and the kinds of problems here are very very different. When they were making history they made this one up because it was the backyard of three of the politicians districts. And of course they had major problems some real crime problems it's got some real problems with lighting as well it's. As housing the housing shortage is probably the biggest major problem over in this area. The make up of the population in this district is a lot of elderly a lot of Spanish speaking a lot of people from Costa Rica from Asian countries. Some blacks. It's a very mixed race probably one of the few truly
integrated communities in Boston. It's an area that hasn't been properly represented I don't think in at least 15 years. So in essence when I'm faced with this solving. You know 50 year old problem. You know. Her son was just recently one of the problems that we're having in the family areas. With the park in the ballpark traffic there's a high rate of a lot of damage not only to lives but to property going on a lot of people don't realize the toll that it takes on the community. And one of the people that recently got deadly heard was your boy. And. We go yeah you're going to you know I sort of go over this and I've got peace here. It's but this is this is Brian I don't know if you can see her son or not but I'm going to tell you what happened to him or maybe his mother.
Friday night about nine forty. Nine Petersburg great crime was struck in the air with a pool if you can pull can. He pushed the fellow to try to get away from him. Then as he did the fellow fell and attempted to pick up a piece of glass to further do damage to the brain. This fellow was completely apparently loaded. I don't want to hear you want and I react. The information at the art jazz festival. Yeah I think probably why I put this is from Jenny. Somebody. In jazz but. I think you should go ahead and besides just the charges that are against him
she go ahead look for damages in the land for a couple reasons known because there are damages the good for your head but also the guy should be taught a lesson they have to worry but again I don't and it wasn't regular and it couldn't have been. After my election I turned my campaign headquarters into the Fenway community center. It was something that I felt the community really needed. I have office hours there and usually a drop in during the week. Early morning as he said he didn't care either. I'll tell you what first thing Monday morning. I mean it's the principle people it's been you know violence in business and let me see what I can do.
I'm really this most people would just not do anything about this question of even bored it was when it was running. You know you want to you know. Now go back to Monday on this. OK. Thank you for taking the time. Thank you. What it was they want they want me to come over and do some. No we're going to they want to send. Representatives here to see you. Sure. On the 15 I don't have them come right over. Well absolutely. Well I tried to make an arrangement for you to go in there. Yes you know I have come here and just you know we work because really there's a possibility that they may cut the funding or a necessary part of
rehabilitation. So that's so naturally I'm trying to help. It's possible just to get to continue with the money but I'm just not going to do this stuff and. Like you did for me. Yeah some of that so you can tell them to come over on the 15th. I want to see you. OK. Well if you said so I'll do whatever I can I know you're OK. If you come with them to thrive. Might. You could you come. Here. OK so it's you know we really had very good meetings and it was more than just punch cards you're about agencies which is unusual to say the least but we you know we're hopeful that this thing is
going to work out well. Just basically the meeting has to do with it. I have a lot in common with with an all Paul in that my focus is on constituent service and that's my priority is getting out to the people of my district and responding to them and trying to do that as well as often and there's consistently as possible. You know it's not the first time I've lived with somebody but I think it's the first time I've ever made as serious a.. The qualitative. Commitment that I'm making to her. It's probably the most textured relationship I've ever had. That says a lot of wonderful joy and caring and humor and that I really haven't found another relationship. Have you met and your relationship began one chanted evening across a crowded room I saw I was an unusual looking woman really did was a big party in a
New York City loft. And so I marched right over and said hello. And she said her name is only noble. And then I recognized her because she had recently won the election. Both sort of feel that we like to get to know each other better but neither one of us really knew how to do that. And the more I was around the more I thought this is one of the most delightful human beings I ever met my wife. So call her out and said This is an indecent proposal and we took off from her. When I finally decided that I wanted to to ask her if she'd come to Boston and that we should share a lot together. We were out in front of the bomb what Sachs I guess. She said Do you want to come live with me and I. Want You know those in funny moments in a person's life that particularly in the gay life there's no ritual. And she said yes she would come to Boston but one of the things that I truly had to get rid of. Was that my I had to get rid of wearing khaki double knit. Maybe she'd come to my house. Yes I said throw these documents out. Because they stretch out of shape you know you
get a permanent bag kind of stuff that you just couldn't put up with me wearing a double knit. Did you know the way. Did you not. Know it sir. It's great to discover someone. It's it's how often in your life particularly if you're a woman are you affirmed by anyone for just being yourself and particularly for being strong. And it's the first time in my entire life even though I spent eight years of that life in the women's movement that another woman. Has felt confident enough about herself to say to me You are terrific and I love what's powerful in you. Instead of saying Wouldn't you lower your voice a little there. You know it's terrific I feel like I just crossed. It's. Women. And. Men. Well I think that there's a lot more. Laughter and a lot more joy. Because there are no rules in our relationship they're not dictated to us so we can make up our own.
And there are no real limits drawn and we can make up our own limits. Which is a wonderful freedom. For the first time like Oh are you something do you. Right way ahead of you. Well usually what I do is just push my hair back in the big neon L goes off and I never really have to. Explain myself. Or in small groups somebody usually closed them in before I have a chance to flash my bracelet at them. No I don't usually make a habit of saying to anyone I mean. You know I think that my my lifestyle my lesbianism has been stated by a lot of other people and it's pretty noticeable when I walk into a room as to how moves away I will with it and who is no I. Mean I don't I don't feel that threatened or that fragile that I need to say I'm a lesbian stay away from it. If I'm if it comes up in a political censor or a certain comment is made where I feel I have
to speak up then I'll bring it up but I don't I don't feel that free I would have to say well I'm a lesbian and these are the boundaries. Because if it's not articulated articulated in a man finds out and it seems to bother him it's his problem it's no longer my problem. Well then. Hey. I don't know you'd have to ask a man I think probably a lot of men like a lot of women see lesbians in a stereotypical fashion. And because I don't bring my dog woman or my leather boots I usually to a party or my leather jacket they assume that that I'm straight. I mean that's the heterosexual normally assume if you if you don't fit into a stereotype you must pay. So that when they find out you're a lesbian they get really upset about it because it's one that may not possibly be for them. You know they do physical things. I mean people do they physically step back from it. And it's very embarrassing to be a homosexual and see somebody react that
way. I mean I feel. I wind up pitying them. You know. And at the same time being angry that they could be so stupid. You know it's funny you're back. What's this just some correspondence that I need to answer in some books from the library that I don't want to get resumes of people who somehow think I can get them a job. A bill for my answer. The price of privacy is $30. For the answering service. You know all of my phone messages that I didn't answer from yesterday. How many you get today. I did between 40 and 50. When there's a full moon. And that's beginning cause for the fall no one is on the phones about well and safe. This is from an attorney. This is from the Boston Food Co-op they're opening up a thousand membership to a thousand
people do I know any people to tell us poor thousand people together right. Mary Ellen Smith These are ones that I want to make and this is about a woman. Were raped at gunpoint worth. What can I do about that. That I don't know I have to talk to and find out what rage that nothing is being done so I heard him talk to us as a name of a woman that has a thoroughbred horse that might want to exercise with us. I think sure I'd love to see part of my problem is that I don't get exercise the way I'd like to that I'd like to take a couple hours a week to just go riding which is cheaper than a therapist and it's something I really enjoy. Good for me. All right. Go. It's very awkward it puts me in a real and Tom situation applied to the speaking
engagement with the NOW chapter who want to ostracize me I think you can understand that politically. Yeah well yeah well the point is that the publicly now has never apologized and I want that apology then so did my lesbian sisters publicly and I'm sure you would like it publicly too. But I'd sort of like oh I am not going to come anywhere to speak for now until they publicly apologize to me and my sisters it's really important to me. I think you can make that connection since. Well I'm very glad you did make a phone call. Now you know the terms of which I I would come down talk to you. OK OK all right very good. That's not a letter. But. I wasn't sure how she was going to tell you but she said far out
that you know we all were kind of as one of us you know it's one of there's this information when most people have this idea that we have a great staff and a great but it's not true at all. For instance Candy was worth study through a student through Emerson she's graduate and she's just been coming in to help out since she's graduated. Yeah and Chris is on a summer program into her program. My salary before taxes is twelve thousand five hundred dollars of course for me it's the most money I've ever made I think I made about 10000 before taxes when I was a college teacher. But also my my my I never had to belong to so many organizations or pay for so many ads or give money out on the street to people who you know really don't need the way that I do now since I'm in this position I mean it's a it costs a lot of money to be a state rep it really does. How low is steering there. Terry writes Oh I know.
Listen I stalked him yesterday I guess you weren't around to sign you're not a republic first. And I was just wondering if you could leave your papers there and I'll sign I'm on my way into work tomorrow morning. OK. All right. Sure I'll be there. Then I'll be there for sure tomorrow we talked about him. OK. OK. I'm not his rep. Everybody Your everybody. OK. All Randy Gibson at the core is number. What do you mean by being everybody's right. Well we get letters like that anyway you know people saying well I live in Schenectady New York and you're not really my rep but I feel you're my natural rep. Could you please handle my welfare payments in New York State. You know it's true I've got people like I'm the guy who wrote I mean an example would be he used to live in this day and his gang and he moved to California and not he wanted me to help him with his welfare check in California.
He doesn't live here anymore because you are gay that I should help him with of California. This is Stephen. The guy. Here we're friends now. It was because he was laid off. How are you. Can I do for you. And they were. Due to return. I just got your message. Hi how are you. What can I do for you. From my my limited perspective I can't speak for women on a higher level but I really think that women bring a different perspective to whatever process or every profession they decide to get in. Granted a lot of people say that with
when women get into power perhaps they'll be just as corrupt as men. That may be true at some point but we're talking about women who really have had 2000 years worth of conditioning and have developed qualities that many of us no longer see as bad qualities and as a matter of fact I think that there are qualities that that men would would be a little better off if they if they gave way too to recognizing them within themselves. Some nurturing qualities some caring qualities. Realizing that that whole concept of macho stiff upper lip is not a healthy one for anyone to have and that some of the qualities as a feminist that I revere particularly and other women that serve in this house have nothing to do with maleness they're totally female qualities and women do not have to walk around asserting their femaleness like men have to go around asserting their manliness their masculinity. Women really can reveal some things to each other in a way that their
egos on threatened. It's a whole different way of doing business. Women do business different differently than men. With all the craziness and the madness and the sadness and I go through and one day it's probably the way my relationship with my friends of the one things that really make the pinnings are the one stabilizing factor in my life. Stand. On the. Guys seems. Right by. Me and I do stand safe from these hypnotic women who are defined by the man you really want to meet them in here. This funny look. So talk to.
Me because. I looked him up he said he. Never felt something. And women women and men like the man. In her right mind is a great.
Word. I really have one words. For me. Running around telling people in the street a recession is the right thing to. Do. You know him as usual. During a recession. I guess you know you started your petitions tracks. From the we want guys from China. With the most difficult. I think probably the most difficult will be like after doing something like this agreeing to do this film that I can assure you that I get five days of harassing phone calls. And of crazy people writing me letters and Jesus people wanting to save me. And I have I answer all the letters if they sign them. The phone calls blow me away. I mean I really get freaked out by the phone calls and one of my aides is very good.
Candy is very good with the telephone and responds. In a really great ways I was telling you when she says yes her Alltel representative Noble her day of doom is coming up and I talk to you Sarah about of great. But it two or three in the morning. When somebody well I mean when you get a long distance call. It gets to you after a while when the operator says Elaine noble and I say yes and they say long distance and then. Whispering male voice comes on and encourages me to do the physical impossible act. It freaks me out at 3 o'clock the morning I get a little upset about that. I think that's probably what gets to me more than anything is dealing with the fact that there are so many irrational in just damaged damaged people out there we have no idea. And we call them crazy people we call them. But it's a combination of people that were made by our society.
Of lonely twisted. Sick abandoned people who decided that I should become a focal point for all of their misfortunes. That gets to me that really that really gets to me of those and it always happens on an emotional thing it's never a logical rational one. And I think just on a gut basis. Those sort of twisted minds are the ones that. Just make me really say hey do I really wanted to continue doing this. And then I get a phone call from Betty Mohali has having problem with her SSI benefits or. Or from somebody who's having problem with prostitutes down the street and they need some help. So I had to ask them to keep it down so that. And. So I sort of figured that on really fulfilling a task and I just go on. A.
- Something Personal
- Episode Number
- Producing Organization
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Contributing Organization
- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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- Documentary about Elaine Noble, the first openly gay person elected to a state legislature, who began serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1975.
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- Copyright 1975
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- Moving Image
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
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Identifier: 99841 (WGBH Barcode)
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- Chicago: “Something Personal; A Woman's Place Is In The House: A Portrait of Elaine Noble; 105,” 1977-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-33rv1gdz.
- MLA: “Something Personal; A Woman's Place Is In The House: A Portrait of Elaine Noble; 105.” 1977-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-33rv1gdz>.
- APA: Something Personal; A Woman's Place Is In The House: A Portrait of Elaine Noble; 105. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-33rv1gdz