The Gay Men's Discussion Group was born in April, 2007, meeting once a month at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center to discuss issues relating to our lives and the gay community. Originally called the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Men's Discussion Group, our name was changed in 2015 to more clearly depict our membership and purpose. Our intention is to provide an opportunity for all gay and bisexual men to express their thoughts and ideas.
The earliest meetings of the group consisted of a core of individuals, led by Frank Orioli and Nick Romano, who attempted to create something new, outside the typical bar scene or "dinner meeting" setting (Valley Boys already had that covered). We were looking for a way for gay and bisexual men to talk about topics of interest and meaning while enjoying the company of others in a safe social setting.
Many of the group's original members are still active; a few, sadly, have passed on. One, Stephan Hengst, along with his husband, Patrick Decker, went on to create Big Gay Hudson Valley, with whom we cooperate on a large number of events.
As time moved on, the discussion group grew and participated in several events. For a short time, we met every other week, which proved to be confusing when encountering months with five Thursdays. In 2009 the group began to meet every Thursday and we've been following that schedule ever since.
With greater success and a core of members, we began sponsoring events at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center and outside the Center, often with Valley Boys. Several book readings by authors such as Lance Ringel (Flower of Iowa) and Joe Cosentino proved worthwhile. We sponsored healthcare forums and information gathering sessions with Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley and Hudson Valley Community Services.
Being affiliated with the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center provides us with access to a number of programs, opportunities to interact with other groups, and a central location and safe space. We cooperate with many other LGBTQ groups and organizations with a goal to work with all groups equally. We welcome new members and ideas.