JimDeYoung writes: gay/lesbian visitors to Halifax would have a place to stay (with volunteer hosts who could help orientate them.) I came up with the motto " you don't have to put out to be put up".
The Billet system was my idea, and I coordinated the hosts & assigned the billets. I enlisted volunteer hosts to act as such. I then got friends in various maritime locales to spread the word about it. If they found anyone who'd like to come to Halifax for a weekend, my friends put them in touch with me, & a billet arranged.
Meals were the guest's responsibility, unless the host went further than required (a bed was all that was promised & expected) and offered any meals. A guest's stay was limited to a weekend (maximum of 3 nights) unless prior arrangements were made providing otherwise (& rarely done). There was no charge for anyone staying, though some of the billets bought hosts thank you gifts. It was just meant to show the small town visitor that Halifax Gays & Lesbians could be hospitable, without sex necessarily being involved. I used to have an information flyer done up that I sent out to friends to pass on to prospective guests (visitors) but I don't have a copy anymore.
It was plainly stated to both potential guests & host that the guest didn't have to put out (have sex with the host) to be put up. It was just meant to facilitate potential (though impoverished) visitors to Halifax's gay scene, to get away from smaller local towns & feel the gay freedom of Halifax's homophile community.
The system was active for about 4 or 5 years between the late 70's & early 80's. Almost 400 visitors, who might not have otherwise gotten to Halifax (to take a break from small home towns) experienced the big city. I had 35 steady hosts when I dismantled the billet system. Some of the visitors came to Halifax more than once, & many new friendships developed out of the host & billet (guest) encounters. There were no major problems encountered.
We've never met but I wanted to send off a thank you for your work on the Billetting Service you had in place back in the early 80's. As a result, a friend of mine (Larry Plush) and I visited Halifax in 1983 and was put up by Bryan Doucette for the weekend.
As a result of meeting Bryan on that short weekend, we began a relationship that still goes on to this day. In the 1994 we legally changed our last names to Garnett-Doucette in celebration of our 10th year together.
As Bryan and I move into our 21st year, I realized that this would not have been possible had it not been for the Billetting Service. Thank you again.
Ron (& Bryan) Garnett-Doucette Halifax, Nova Scotia
DanielMacKay writes: when I came out in '82 this was just winding down. Although it wasn't required, there was lots of sex going on - hey, it was the early '80s.
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