Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Homophile Effort for Legal Protection,
Incorporated (HELP, Inc.), records
Bulk Dates: 1970-1975
Collection number: Coll2008-052
Collection Size: 5 archive cartons, 1 archive
half-carton, and 1 oversize box. 3.3 linear feet.
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Los Angeles, California 90007
Abstract: Minutes, membership applications and lists,
lawyer referral reports, newsletters, newspapers, and related ephemera of the
Homophile Effort For Legal Protection, Incorporated (HELP, Inc.). The
organization was formed in 1968, in response to the subjective and aggressive
behavior of the Los Angeles Police Department Vice Detail. Members were offered
general legal assistance and if arrested for "homosexual activities" they were
provided bail bonds and lawyer referral services. By the late 1970s, societal
changes practically eliminated the need for many of the services HELP
Languages: Languages represented in
the collection: English
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in
writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner.
Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in
the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant
copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for
all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Box #, folder #, Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated
(HELP, Inc.), Records, Coll2008-052, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los
Method and date of acquisition unknown.
Collection created in September 2008 by Michael C. Oliveira, with the
assistance of Richard French, from materials in box 104-34, and in ONE National
Gay & Lesbian Archives "HELP, Inc. (Homophile Effort for Legal Protection,
Incorporated)" subject files.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the
National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The organization that was to become the Homophile Effort for Legal
Protection, Incorporated (HELP, Inc.), began with a proposal developed in early
1968. The first known meeting of the American Federation for the Advancement
and Defense of Homophile Society (AFADHS) organizers was in September 1968 at
The Patch, a bar in Wilmington, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. The organizers
proposed the establishment of an alliance of bar owners, personnel, and patrons
to defend against harassment and provide legal assistance in the form of bail
bonds and attorney referrals. In a period of several weeks the AFADHS became
the less ambiguous Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated. HELP
provided bail bond service and lawyer referrals to its members and those vouched for
by existing members. The primary focus of the organization was to provide
support when its members were arrested for "homosexual activities." The
aggressive prosecution of victimless crimes by the Los Angeles Police
Department and the change in political climate led to the organization's rapid
growth. HELP also supported the California State Committee on Sexual Law Reform
to change the laws regarding sex between consenting adults.
However, the organization was plagued by periodic episodes of infighting
and was also not able to maintain the on-going support of the bar owners. By
the late 1970s, changes in society's attitude toward gays, recognition of gay
political power, reforms of California sex laws, and changes in police
priorities practically eliminated the need for many of the services HELP
Colburn, Cal. "Hotline."
Magpie, September 27, 1968, 3.
Richards, Yale. "From under My Soap Box."
Magpie, January 1969, 4-10.
Vincent, Cliff. "What Else Is Happening in L.A.?"
Magpie, December 20 1968, 20-24.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection contains the records of the Homophile Effort for Legal
Protection, Incorporated (HELP, Inc.), an organization that provided legal
assistance in the form of bail bond service and lawyer referral to members for
a nominal annual membership fee. The organization coalesced after repeated
raids on gay establishments by the Los Angeles Police Department Vice Detail.
The collection consists of five series: (1) Administrative Records, (2)
Correspondence, (3) Bail Bonds and Attorney Referral Records, (4) Financial,
and (5) Printed Materials. The Administrative Records include minutes,
membership lists, and applications. The Correspondence Series contains
chronologically organized and unorganized correspondence, as well as
correspondence subject files. The Bail Bonds and Attorney Referral Records
consist of lawyer referral lists and lawyers' reports on the status of
defendants' cases. The Financial Records series contains unorganized bills,
receipts, and a check register, along with records of fund raising events. The
Printed Materials Series contains HELP publications, brochures, and other
materials by which the organization informed its membership.
The series are arranged chronologically, with the exception of the Bail
Bonds and Attorney Referral Records, which are arranged with the attorney
referral lists followed by the attorney referral reports, arranged
alphabetically by attorney.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
American Federation for the
Advancement and Defense of Homophile Society (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Black Pipe (bar : Los Angeles, Calif.)--Raid,
Gay clubs--California--Los Angeles
Homophile Effort for Legal Protection
(Los Angeles, Calif.)
Legal assistance to gays--California--Los
Police--Los Angeles Police Dept. (LAPD)--Vice