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Guide to the Lesbian Agenda for Action Records, 1987-1991
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections
  • Material Cataloged Separately

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Lesbian Agenda for Action Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1987-1991
    Accession number: 1992-08
    Creator: Lesbian Agenda for Action
    Extent: .75 linear feet in 2 boxes
    Repository: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.
    San Francisco, California.
    Shelf location: Housed at the GLBT Historical Society.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The records of the Lesbian Agenda for Action (#1992-08) were received from Roma Guy, board of directors member.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Audio-Visual Materials

    There are none in the collection.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Lesbian Agenda for Action Records, 1992-08, The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Historical Note

    The Lesbian Agenda for Action (LAFA) was founded in January 1987 as a sponsored project of the San Francisco Women's Centers (also known as the Women's Building). LAFA was formed to promote lesbian visibility in society through political and social action.
    The major contribution of LAFA was organizing conferences. In November of 1987, LAFA held it's first conference Lesbian Political Action. The conference goal was to build a consensus on the most pressing issues on the lesbian political agenda, and then devising strategies to make government more responsive to them. Issues discussed ranged from domestic partners to the politics of substance abuse.
    In 1989, LAFA sponsored a "Report back to the Community" from the Second Annual Old Lesbians Conference. In November 1989, LAFA along with the Bay Area Lesbians of Color sponsored The Dynamics of Color Conference: Building a Stronger Lesbian Community, Combating Racism, Honoring Diversity. The conference was attended by over 600 women. The conference created and taught new ways of dealing with racial dynamics and aired issues around racism seldom discussed fully - among them land rights of indigenous peoples, anti-Arab racism, and the dilemmas facing lesbians of mixed heritage. The last program on record that LAFA sponsored was a forum on Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome in March of 1991.
    During 1990 LAFA became split over whom to endorse for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors election. Two out lesbians, Carole Midgen and Roberta Achtenberg were running. In the end, both women won seats on the board of supervisors.

    Scope and Content

    The LAFA records (.75 linear feet) document the many activities of this important organization from its founding in 1987 to 1991. The records are divided into four series; administrative, conferences, outreach/publicity, and miscellaneous.
    The administrative records documents the formation of policy and the day to day operation of LAFA. Included are minutes of the Board of Directors and committees, correspondence, financial information and budgets. The files are arranged in alphabetical order by title. There is extensive materials from the three LAFA committees, Lesbian Visibility, Organizational Development, and Political. One folder also concerns the early organization structure of LAFA. At its inception and throughout its existence an effort was made to be as inclusive as possible for all lesbians with a commitment to multicultural leadership and hence much time was spent on creating a working structure. Though this series contains a wealth of material on the functioning of LAFA, the researcher should be aware that gaps exists in the minutes for both the board of directors and the various committees. There is also an undated file containing a Three Year Program Development Plan. The plan outlines the proposed activities of each committee. The series contains two files documenting planning retreats held in 1988 and 1989. The retreats focused on setting an agenda for LAFA and creating a sense of unity of purpose.
    LAFAs main achievement was holding various conferences bringing lesbians together to identify issues of concern and then bringing these issues into the political arena. The series is organized chronologically by conference date and then alphabetically by folder title for each conference. Some of the items included in this series are minutes, correspondence, printed materials, notes, and speeches.
    The first Lesbian Political Action conference was held just a few months after LAFAs creation in November of 1987. The materials document the planning of the conference such as issues for workshops, planning and logistics. Documents from the actual conference including speeches, publicity and evaluations.
    There is one folder of documents from the "Report back to the Community" from the Second Annual Old Lesbians Conference (August 1989) containing the proposal, programs, correspondence and other items. There are many files documenting the Diversity of Color conference held in November of 1989. A number of committees were set up to facilitate the conference. The collection contains minutes and related materials from the Children's/Youth Program, Fundraising/Finance, Logistics, Outreach/Publicity, Program and Steering committees. Other files from the conference include evaluations, personal notes, planning materials, programs, proposals, and publicity.
    The Outreach/Publicity files contain news articles, publicity flyers, the LAFA newsletter The L Word, of which the records contain four issues, and mailings to attract more member, provide updates on LAFA activity, and raise money.
    The miscellaneous series contains the achievement award presented to LAFA by the Alice B. Tolkas Democratic Club in 1987.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Politics and elections

    Related Collections

    Title: Carmen Vasquez Papers,
    Identifier/Call Number: 95-5
    Title: San Francisco Women's Building Records,
    Identifier/Call Number: 96-15

    Material Cataloged Separately

    1 folder of materials concerning planning for the National Lesbian Conference (Atlanta 1991)

    1 folder of materials concerning San Francisco Domestic Partnership Ordinances, 1987-1989

    1 folder of materials concerning the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Democratic Clubs, 1988-1990