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Early History of The M.S.N.

Two photo's of the first M.S.N. Potluck, Social and General Meeting - can you recognize anyone?  March 4th, 1995.

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This is the context of the speech that Ray gave at our 19th Anniversary Dinner held at Casas Adobes Congregational Church on March 1st, 2014.  There were 55 members and male guests in attendance. 

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Early History Of 

The Men’s Social Network

By Ray Evans, Founding President

March 1, 2014

Approximately 19 ½ years ago during a telephone call between Jerry Curl and myself, the need for an organization for gay men in Tucson came up. Jerry, Les, and  I had met in another organization (The Cronies) for gay men here in town soon after we had moved to Tucson. not too many months after that Jerry became active in that organization and they started having a number of additional activities for gay men in Tucson. That organization subsequently scheduled a planning meeting to discuss future activities for the organization only to find that some of the members preferred to not try to draw new members into the organization, didn’t want to have younger members in the organization, and preferred to go back to what the old organization was before all those new people started coming to the meetings.

That night after that meeting Jerry called me to tell me about the meeting since I Couldn’t attend. During that telephone conversation I mentioned to Jerry that I thought Tucson needed a social group for gay people outside the bar scene. It was just a passing remark to a friend. The next day Jerry called me to say he agreed with me and we needed to start such an organization. as Jerry, Les, and I talked about the possible start up of such an organization, we decided to form a Steering Committee composed of a representative from each age decade to plan for the start up of such an organization. Those people chosen were:        Glenn Eyett----------20’S

Les Elliott-----------30’S

                           John Brownlee-----40’S

                           Ray Evans---------50’S

                           Don Rector---------60’S

Jerry did not want to take any kind of a leadership role but volunteered to handle all of the public relations and what a wonderful job he did. Those of you who were around then can remember how he greeted everyone who came through the doors, and served as the greeter for all who contacted M.S.N. through telephone calls and the internet.

The Steering Committee, much to my dismay, asked me to serve as the first President.  The Steering Committee planned for six months before the first General Meeting was scheduled for March of 1995.  They set a goal to have a total membership of 35 at the end of the first year. We exceeded that at our first meeting and went on to having over 100 people in attendance at our 1st Anniversary Dinner.  

As we moved through that first year we dealt with a number of unexpected issues such as:

1. Alcohol at meetings - one of the first activities was a brunch at my house where two members brought Mimosa’s for everyone,  not understanding that it was an alcohol free event.   

2.  We had an overnight trip to the cabins on Mount Lemon where a member kept hitting on everyone in his cabin until he was confronted by two members holding hefty pieces of firewood.  Seems even adults sometimes have difficulty understanding what appropriate behavior is. 

3. MEN ONLY UPROAR - when we did a Thank You Dinner for the church that allowed us to use their facilities. The Steering Committee had to determine that our organization would be FOR MEN ONLY.

The Committee had started inviting a different gay organization to each Monthly Potluck to honor them for the services that organization provided to the GLBT community.  That went fine until we invited members of the church where we were meeting.  Some members became very irate because there were “women” at the meeting, thus the NO WOMEN rule at our Monthly Pot Lucks. 

It was a great year, exciting, exhausting, eventful!

We continued outgrowing our meeting spaces:  the Cornerstone Church Hall, the YMCA,  the Scottish Rite Temple.  It seems the Casas Adobes Community Church Hall has been our best, and longest held, meeting place. 

I met a lot of gay men I still have as friends.  I met my life partner, David Lilley, through the M.S.N. and just maybe we impacted positively on the lives of many gay men in Tucson.

Ray Evans, Founding President with Partner, David Lilley

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06/20/15tg

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