50 for 50

Stay tuned all year as we highlight moments from the Center’s first 50 years!

Herself Health Free Clinic

In 1972, the Center establishes Herself Health Free Clinic, the world’s first lesbian clinic staffed by volunteers who are all lesbian medical professionals.

50 for 50

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.

50 for 50

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.