Unlikely Story of Lesbian Community in the Bible Belt in the 1980s Coming to Rialto April 23

Sonoma County Lesbian Reunion is presenting The Unlikely Story of the Lesbians of First
on Sunday, April 23, at the Rialto Cinemas, 6868 McKinley Street, Sebastopol. There will
be showings of the one-hour film at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available,
along with the trailer for the film, on the Rialto website, at https://rialtocinemas.com/coming-

Producer Kathryn L Beranich and co-producer Nancy Kelly will attend both showings for
questions and answers following the film. There will be facilitated small group discussions
following the films for those who are interested in discussing the impact of the film and how it
might apply to Sonoma County.
About the Film

In the 1980’s, a group calling itself First Friday sprung fully formed from the
imaginations of a group of lesbians living in the small city of Roanoke, Virginia. Some of the
women were locals and some moved to the Roanoke Valley for employment. It was the Reagan
era and LGBTQ people were vilified, especially in the Bible Belt. Spurred on by the pure
serendipity of finding each other, the group created safe space, threw fantastic events and
grew a community of lasting friendships, all in the shadow of the Moral Majority.

First Friday started with monthly house parties and went on to produce lesbian
comedians, theatre productions and concerts. Each fall they organized the Roanoke Valley
Womenʼs Retreat, a highly successful weekend campout. In the spring they hosted the Fabulous
February Fling, a fancy dress ball. Women from the mountains, the valleys and surrounding
states, all eager to leave the isolation of the closet and meet other lesbians, took advantage of
First Friday events and the opportunity to be themselves without fear of repercussions.

The Unlikely Story of the Lesbians of First Friday is a nugget of lesbian history mined
from the peaks and valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains and told through the voices and
anecdotes of women who were there.
About Sonoma County Lesbian Reunion (SCLR)

SCLR was founded in 2022. Members are lesbians who lived in Sonoma County from the
1960’s through the 1990’s (regardless of their identification today), and any lesbians over 50
now living in Sonoma County. Our members celebrate and rejoice in their earlier years, their
accomplishments and their pioneering activities. Their activities enable them to reconnect with
old friends and acquaintances, make new friends, and revitalize community spirit. They plan to

support each other as they age and face new challenges. They also aim to be a hub for fun and
for play, and to be a nexus for spinoff groups with more specific or directed goals including
political, social and recreational.