While Poodle Beach in Rehoboth, Delaware is a summer holiday destination for many people today, the beach once served as a safe gathering spot for the LGBTQ community. This beach’s important place in LGBTQ history may soon be recognized with a Delaware Public Archives historical marker.
In June Rehoboth resident Frank Cooper submitted an application for the marker. In the application Cooper wrote, “In the past, when the LGBTQ community faced pervasive, often violent discrimination, this one area of beach provided fun, relaxation, and socializing free from harassment. For decades, it was one of the few such beach resorts in the United States that were safe for members of the LGBTQ community.”
The Delaware Public Archives Historical Markers Program approved the application in December. While Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills enthusiastically supports the project, the proposal still needs to get official support from city government. Mills plans to bring the proposal before commissioners in February or March. Once the marker has been approved by the commissioners, work will begin on writing the text for the marker.
According to Philadelphia Gay News, Poodle Beach became a popular spot for the LGBTQ community in the early 1980s after two gay cousins decided they did not want to drag their chairs to the gay beach far past the end of the boardwalk. Others soon joined them, and the family crowd moved north to accommodate them.