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Gay Women's Service Center

1168 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
1971 1972

Founded February 1971 by Virginia Hoeffding and Del Whan of the Los Angeles Gay Liberation Front, the GWSC was the first organization in the U.S. incorporated as a social service agency exclusively for lesbians. It was also the first telephone listing in Los Angeles to ever contain the word "gay," made possible by a phone company administrator who also happened to be a lesbian.

Morris Kight, gay rights pioneer and activist in Los Angeles founded the Gay Community Services Center (which became, and remains the LA LGBT Center). He looked to absorb all startup lesbian service centers in LA, in order to consolidate the LGBT community's political power. Sharon Raphael and Mina Meyer from the GWSC were reluctant to incorporate, citing concerns about “joining with the men, because we felt something would be lost." Many volunteers left the Gay Women's Service Center and joined the Gay Community Services Center. Eventually Raphael and Meyer conceded. In good faith, they donated their furniture and took leadership roles. However, Meyer "left the Center because of the sexism. It was just intolerable."

The Center moved to 1542 Glendale Blvd before it became part of the Gay Community Services Center.