Liberation House | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Liberation House

In 1971, the Gay Community Services Center (GCSC) transformed this modest Colonial Revival-style bungalow into a haven for formerly homeless LGBTQ individuals.

The GCSC was an offshoot of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), which was founded by gay rights activists Harry Hay, Don Jackson, and Morris Kight in response to the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York.

The GCSC was formed to provide a greater support system to the group's constituents. It continued after the GLF formally dissolved in 1972.

In response to the large number of homeless LGBTQ individuals living in Los Angeles, particularly adolescents, the GCSC began leasing the house to young people who had been living on the streets. Residents paid $1.50 per day toward rent and utilities.

The demand for placement in the house became so great that the GCSC created four other Liberation Houses to reduce the number of LGBTQ people living on the streets.

The GCSC also opened the Funky Gaywill Shoppe and Recycling Center on Griffith Park Boulevard to provide employment for residents of the Liberation Houses.

Today, the GCSC, now known as the Los Angeles LGBT Center, is the world's largest LGBTQ community organization.

When the Liberation Houses were established, there were very few social resources available to LGBTQ people in Los Angeles.

Anti-LGBTQ sentiment remained at a high throughout the city, and sodomy and oral copulation laws were still in effect and heavily policed. Public support for what would become the Briggs initiative-which sought to ban LGBTQ individuals from working in the California public school systems-was growing throughout the region.

The GCSC incorporated in October 1971. Because of the lack of social services available to LGBTQ individuals, the organization opened a gay men's sexually transmitted infections (STI) clinic and provided group therapy, individual counseling services, and family services.

In 1974, the GCSC became the first LGBTQ organization to be granted nonprofit status. This marked a major milestone for the community, as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had originally rejected the application because the GCSC's services were intended for LGBTQ individuals.

 

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