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Gay Community Services Center

1614 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017
1971 1975
Outside L.A.’s old Gay Community Service Center (now the L.A. LGBT Center) circa 1971. Back

In 1969, a loose association of activists, including gay and lesbian rights activist Morris Kight, began volunteering to provide mental health support and referrals to LGBT people, & discuss the consept of a Gay Community Center.

1971: With $35 in the bank, the "Gay Community Services Center" files its incorporation papers, opens its first "Liberation House" for homeless LGBT people, and rents its first headquarters at 1614 Wilshire. It provides services including counseling, family services, and a V.D. clinic.

1972: The IRS denies the Center's application for non-profit status at the IRS building in Hollywood, explaining the Center is "neither benevolent nor charitable" because it serves homosexuals. That year the annual budget is $42,000 and services are provided by an all volunteer staff. The Center also establishes the world's first lesbian health clinic staffed by volunteer lesbian medical professionals.

1974: Appeal of IRS decision is successful. The Center becomes the first openly LGBT organization (and the first organization with the word ‘gay’ in its title) to receive tax-exempt status.

1975: The Center moves to what was formerly a motel at 1213 N. Highland Ave. It receives the first federal grant ever given to an LGBT organization: $1 million for alcoholic services to women. Staff reported that during the first year between 1,700 – 2,500 men and women passed through the doors each week.

Outside L.A.’s old Gay Community Service Center (now the L.A. LGBT Center) circa 1971.