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Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing History
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS-2004-06-07
    Physical Description: 14 boxes (5.838 linear feet)
    Date (inclusive): 1906-2008
    Abstract: The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records consist of news clippings, newsletters, and magazines. There is a sizeable photographic collection that contains pictures of social events hosted by the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center, including Gay Pride San José and other social outings.


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records, MSS-2004-06-07, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

    Processing History

    Collection processed by Jeannette Eaton, finding aid EAD encoded by Jeannette Eaton, and reviewed by Danelle Moon. Collection number changed from MSS-2010-10-25 to MSS-2004-06-07 in July 2018 by Leilani Marshall. Accrual of National Organization for Women Records processed by Michael Lara, finding aid EAD encoded by Michael Lara, and reviewed by Kate Steffens in February 2020. Folder level description added to Series I-III by Kate Steffens in March 2022.

    Organizational History

    The Billy DeFrank Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Silicon Valley Center (also known as the Billy DeFrank Gay and Lesbian Community Center) opened its doors on March 1, 1981 in downtown San José, California. The center was posthumously named after Billy DeFrank, the stage name of William Price (1936-1980). From San José, William Price was a well known African-American drag entertainer as well as a prominent gay rights activist who dedicated his talents to the development of gay communities throughout California. He was considered one of the "best-loved goodwill ambassadors" for the LGBT community. At the time LGBT activists were generally influenced by the political legacy of Stonewall. The Stonewall riots, the escalation of a series of violent confrontations between gay rights activists and police that began on June 28, 1969 outside the Stonewall Inn (a bar in New York City), became the genesis of an international gay rights movement focused on social justice and human rights for the LGBT community. The founders of the DeFrank Center concerned with practical challenges and most concerned about the lack of housing and employment protections for lesbians and gay men living in Santa Clara County envisioned transforming the legacy of the Stonewall riots by creating "a place to call home". The grassroots efforts to establish this LGBT center were driven by forces from within the Lambda Association Board of Directors of San José, San Jose Staté University's Women's Center, and other local activists. The center became the fulcrum whereby the large and diverse community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the South Bay could find refuge. The inception of the center's success was marked by an increase in activist support from local political figures such as Mayor Janet Gray Hayes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The center continues to offer a safe haven for a large and diverse community.
    The mission of the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center is "to strive to be the community's premier resource hub and a recognized leader in promoting health, strength, diversity and inclusiveness". The DeFrank Center affords its members opportunities to develop "positive social identification" and is committed to political advocacy on behalf of the community and to continue the struggle for civil rights. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people of all ages benefit from the resources and support services offered by the center staff of activists and volunteers. The Center facilitates vital sexual education programs through workshops and other social engagements for a broad-based community.
    In collaboration with Family and Children Services, the DeFrank Center provides a safe and confidential space for youths to gather and receive counseling, as well as educational and professional medical resources. In addition, another youth centered program, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, helps to empower youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools. The adult programs similarly provide a confidential space for HIV testing, and support groups for men and women, including those for addiction recovery and LGBT elders, as well as groups focused on the family. The DeFrank Center provides community referrals to local agencies that address Aids/HIV, child and teen services, crisis centers, domestic violence, shelters and other similar services.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records document the grassroots efforts of its founders to build a community center that supports the vast and diverse needs of the South Bay community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The central mission of the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center is to work toward promoting a "positive social identification" by promoting civil rights to advance liberty and justice through collaboration and unity.
    Bulk Dates 1970-1999


    This collection is arranged into four series: Series I, Organizational Records,1979-2008; Series II, Research, Educational Outreach, and Publicity 1943-2000; and Series III, Publications, 1962-1999. Series IV is a accrual of National Organization for Women materials and publications.

    Related Materials

    Ted Sahl Collection, MSS-2001-01-01
    Mark Porsche Papers, MSS-2003-04
    Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Periodicals Collection 1968-2003, MSS-2005-05

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    GLBT studies -- California
    LGBT studies
    GLBT studies
    Queer studies
    LGBT studies -- California
    Gay rights -- California -- San Jose
    Civil rights -- California -- San Jose
    Gay rights
    Gay and lesbian rights
    Gay liberation movement
    Gays -- California -- History
    Gays -- Civil rights
    Gay and lesbian studies
    Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center
    Bay Area Nonprofit Organization
    AIDS activists -- California -- San Jose
    Community Action