Stay tuned all year as we highlight moments from the Center’s first 50 years!
In 1972, the Center applies for nonprofit, tax-exempt status at the IRS building in Hollywood. The IRS denies the application and advises the Center that it is “neither benevolent nor charitable” because it serves homosexuals. The Center appeals the denial, beginning several years of litigation.
In 1974, the appeal of the IRS decision is successful and the Center becomes the first openly LGBT organization to receive tax-exempt status, but only on the conditions that it not “advocate the practice of homosexuality or contend that homosexuality is normal” and that no “avowed homosexuals” would server on its Board of Directors.
The Center accepts the tax-exempt status, but does not comply with the conditions. Although never followed in practice, the conditions were legally removed a decade later. In 1992, 20 years after the initial denial, the Center purchases the IRS building in Hollywood and moves in to its new headquarters, now known at the McDonald/Wright Building.
October 1971: With $35 dollars in the bank, the Center rents its first formal headquarters at 1614 Wilshire Blvd., becoming the first organization ever to proudly display the world “Gay” on an external sign. Known as the “Gay Community Services Center” with an all-volunteer staff, the burgeoning organization files its incorporation papers that same month.