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Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center records, 1975-1992 LSC.2204
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions on Access
  • Conditions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Title: Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center records.
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.2204
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.2 linear feet (3 document boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1975-1992
    Abstract: The Los Angeles LGBT Center is a community services center serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community of Los Angeles. Its former name was the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center. The collection contains institutional documents as well as programming and event information from 1975-1992.
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
    Physical location: COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Creator: Gay/Lesbian Community Services Center.

    Conditions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Conditions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center Records (Collection 2204). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Acquisition Information

    Provenance unknown.
    This collection is part of an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives , the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW)  and the UCLA Library .

    Processing History

    Processed by Stacy Wood, 2013. Description enhanced and further physical processing completed by Sabrina Ponce in 2016.
    The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive  at UCLA is an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives , the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW)  and the UCLA Library . These collections expand the pool of primary source materials available to researchers and to the community at large. This partnership was initiated by CSW and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to inventory, organize, preserve, and digitize more than eighty Mazer collections pertaining to lesbian and feminist activism and writings.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7381450 


    In Spring 1971, a group of activists from the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) held a series of meetings at the home of GLF activist John Platania, to create an organization to provide social services for members of the gay and lesbian community, many of whom were marginalized and on the street, in the Hollywood/Silverlake area of the city of Los Angeles, and in the adjoining unincorporated area of West Hollywood, in Los Angeles County. Platania, who had worked for the Los Angeles Community Development Agency, drew up a detailed development plan for a nonprofit organization to offer services via a hot line and services for people living on the street, instituted by the MCC and the Liberation House, a crisis housing facility at 1168 North Edgemont, in Hollywood, opened by the GLF's Survival Committee. The formal proposal, prepared by GLF activist Don Kilhefner, was submitted on July 14, 1971, and the articles of incorporation were signed by Morris Kight, June Herrle, James Kepner, and John Platania on July 22, 1971. The articles were filed in the office of the California Secretary of State on January 4, 1972.
    The Gay Community Services Center opened its doors in October 1971, in a run-down Victorian house designed by William Eastlake, at 1614 Wilshire Boulevard. A second Liberation House, at 1322 North Van Ness Avenue (formerly a residence of filmmaker Jack Warner) and a Gaywill Funky Thrift Shoppe, at 1519-1521 Griffith Park Boulevard, were already in operation. Kilhefner was appointed as the Center's first Executive Director.
    The Center initially provided hotline, information, referral, counseling, housing, education, and employment services; a venereal disease clinic was opened in October 1972. Services were provided free of charge, with the exception of housing for which a nominal per diem fee was charged. In accordance with the founders' concept of "community," the Center was staffed entirely by gays and lesbians. In addition, most of the staff, including professionals and paraprofessionals, were volunteers, although a small number of full-time core staff members received minimal "survival stipends." The Internal Revenue Service refused to grant the Center non-profit status until April 1974, and as the Center was unable to obtain government funding without this certification, it was forced to depend entirely upon donations for the first year of its existence. In 1972, the Center served approximately 75,000 persons with a staff of 85 full-time and part-time volunteers; its income was reported at $41,678.
    In November 1972, the Center received its first grant, of approximately $20,000, for a drug education program, from the National Free Clinic Council (NFCC). Kilhefner and Center Administrative Director Ken Bartley also served as co-directors of a similar grant awarded the Los Angeles Consortium of Free Clinics. The granting of non-profit status by the Internal Revenue Service in April 1974 enabled the Center to apply for public funding, and between August and November the Center received federal and local government grants totaling $410,281, to fund its medical and alcohol and drug abuse programs. The three-year grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to fund the Center's Women's Alcohol Program (WAP) was worth $1 million, a windfall unprecedented for any gay group in the world, and the Center thereby became the first institution with the word "gay" in its name to receive federal funding.
    Early in 1975, the building at 1614 Wilshire Boulevard was condemned, and the Center, which had been searching since late 1974 for new quarters, obtained a lease, with option to purchase, on a building at 1213 North Highland Avenue. In April 1975, on the eve of the Center's move to its new home, two events nearly destroyed the Center. An attempt by Center management to divert some of the NIAAA funds to other Center programs was vigorously protested by the WAP program director, Brenda Weathers, and resulted in the transfer of the grant from the Center to a newly incorporated, independent Alcoholism Center for Women, which remains in existence today. At the same time, a conflict arose between lesbian feminist members of the staff and what they perceived to be the Center's patriarchal male-dominated hierarchy. The controversy resulted in the firing of eleven staff members, who in return picketed the Center's new facility on Highland Avenue. The issue, which resulted in the alienation of many donors as well as a significant portion of the lesbian community, was not resolved until 1978. Nevertheless, a number of lesbian activists, including Lillene Fifield, who had been instrumental in obtaining the NIAAA grant, remained with the Center on the grounds that the Center's work in helping the marginalized members of the gay and lesbian community outweighed the sexism evidenced in some quarters.
    The Center's programs, in particular the Venereal Disease Control Program, which by providing a safe space for testing was able to identify and treat sexually transmitted diseases earlier than the Los Angeles County Health Department, thus saving the county money, had earned the Center the support of local politicians, in particular county supervisor Ed Edelman and city councilwoman Peggy Stevenson. Thus, despite the controversies of early 1975 the Center continued to expand: annual income for 1975 was $527,050, and for 1976 was $645,306. By this time the number of professional and nonprofessional volunteers had grown to 250, and the salaried staff to 44.
    The rapid growth of the Center in the mid 1970s was made possible by the generosity of the Democratic administration of President Jimmy Carter: in particular, by 1981, CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) funds totaled nearly $500,000, (approximately one-third of the Center's $1.8 million budget, and provided the salaries of 41 of the Center's 85 paid staff. The Reagan administration, however, eliminated many social service funding programs, and slashed the budgets of those that remained. Anticipating the end of federal funding for the Center, the Center Board of Directors instituted a robust private donor program to free the Center from the vicissitudes of government funding. Steve Schulte, Executive Director of the Center from 1979 to 1983, who had earned a political science degree from Yale and had worked for the Los Angeles City Council, recast the Center, which had retained the "casualness about dress and rules" of its founders, as a serious, "respectable" institution that would appeal to mainstream donors.
    The Center currently goes by the name of Los Angeles LGBT Center.
    This historical note was taken from the Finding Aid for the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center Records at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.

    Scope and Content

    This collection includes promotional materials, correspondence and organizational documents regarding the programming, campaigns and activities of the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center from 1975-1992.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Organized alphabetically by type, therein chronologically.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Gay/Lesbian Community Services Center. -- Archives
    Bisexuals--Services for--California--Los Angeles.
    Community centers--California--Los Angeles--Archives.
    Gays--Services for--California--Los Angeles.
    June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive at UCLA.
    June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives.
    Lesbians--Services for--California--Los Angeles.
    Transgender people--Services for--California--Los Angeles.