Records of Dignity/USA, the oldest organization
for Roman Catholic members of the GLBT community, from it's founding in 1969
until the early 1990s. The materials include correspondence, minutes, motions,
and work papers of the organization's Board of Directors and House of
Delegates; records of Dignity's biennial National Conventions; correspondence
files of Dignity officers, including Joseph Killian (Joe Gilgamesh), the first
elected president of Dignity; and extensive subject files, containing
correspondence, reports, press releases, notes, copies of magazine and
newspaper articles, and other materials relating to Dignity's day-to-day
operations, its efforts to obtain recognition from the Roman Catholic
hierarchy, both within the United States and at the Vatican, of the spiritual
needs of gays and lesbians, and its active participation in the secular
movement for the recognition of GLBT civil rights. Additional materials include
records of the regions and chapters into which Dignity is divided; the
materials relating to the Los Angeles chapter, always the largest in the
organization, are particularly extensive. The collection also includes a
collection of photographs and slides documenting the history of Dignity, and
extensive files of newsletters published by the national office and by each
region and chapter.
Early in 1969, Father Patrick X. Nidorf, an Augustinian priest and
psychologist in San Diego, began a ministry for gay and lesbian Roman Catholics
as an extension of his professional work. He chose the name "Dignity" to stress
his basic goal: to bring dignity into the spiritual and social lives of gay and
lesbian Catholics. Word of Nidorf's ministry spread, first by word of mouth,
then through advertisements Nidorf placed in the Los Angeles Free Press and
(beginning in January 1970) the Advocate. To guard against the possibility of
religious fanatics or homophobes disrupting or dominating meetings, Nidorf
required the return of a completed application form, and, when in doubt, a
personal interview. The monthly gatherings were open only to individuals over
21 years of age, with a membership card issued by Nidorf; annual dues were $5.
Nidorf also issued a simple monthly newsletter.
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).