Rey Velasco grew up in South and Southwest Philadelphia. He said it was not easy being gay and accepted growing up. Heading straight through school and then medical school, Dr. Velasco went to his first gay bar in New York City in 1980. He found comfort in the music of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, “I was able to see it’s okay to be feminine or wear clothing that was tight or colorful.”
He has dedicated his life to being a doctor and said that being a gay pediatrician was not easy during the 1980s. He has been in practice in Cherry Hill, NJ since 1990.
He first came to New Hope in 1988 and was invited to Borough Councilman Ralph Prosceno’s 50th. surprise birthday party at the Yellow Brick Toad in Lambertville. It was at that party that Rey met Officer Frank DeLuca and said, “I immediately loved Frank DeLuca at first sight.” They soon after began dating and moved in together in 1989. They have been together ever since.
He said that Frank represented New Hope and taught him the importance of accepting yourself and being proud of it, adding that, “You can be who you are and always feel comfortable. I can wear what I want to wear and walk hand in hand with my husband.”
He said he refuses to leave New Hope. He has been an active and vibrant part of the community. Rey was a New Hope Borough Councilman from 2003 until 2015. He registered more voters from 1999-2007 than anyone else in the area and managed Geri Delevich’s campaign in 1999.
He said, ”My husband was a Police Officer in New Hope for 34 years and the only first out gay officer in New Hope. I was elected as an openly gay councilman and served 12 years. I wanted to be on the council to protect Frank from some prejudices that came from being an open gay policeman.”
His fondest memories are meeting Frank DeLuca and buying their home together along with memories of the gay life from 1980-2007 in New Hope. They would go to the Raven, the Cartwheel and the Prelude.
Rey’s favorite places still include the Raven along with Bell’s Tavern, Villagios, Café Galleria, Amelia’s and Tastebuds Restaurant.
An avid patron of the arts, Rey was involved in “Partners in Progress”, a sculptor project and he has been a big continuing supporter of the Bucks County Playhouse.
Rey said, “I don’t have to travel the world to find Utopia because I live here in New Hope. Of course I will travel the world to follow the Rolling Stones but I always come back home.”
Dr. Velasco lives his life by the rules of Karma. He said New Hope equates for him Freedom, Love, Happiness and a gay existence.