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1970s 1980s 1990s 2000-2009 2010-Present
1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979

Year 1970

MCC SD Logo7006 - Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego (MCCSD) is chartered June 6. Rev. "Papa" John Hose is the first full-time pastor.  [see footnote] Services are conducted at the Chollas View Methodist Church, 906 47th St. San Diego

Gay Liberation Front is founded by Bob Brunsting at San Diego State College.  see video

Tres Femme (lesbian social organization) is founded. The Prodigal (a publication of MCCSD) becomes the first local gay publication with regular distribution.

The Gay Information Center (San Diego’s first hotline) is established by Stephen Bell of Gay Liberation Front

Gays United for Liberty and Freedom (GULF) runs a hotline for gays. Bill Gautier, the famous drag personality Glenda, is instrumental in founding the organization. It is operated from his home in the 1500 block of 30th Street.

7007 - In an effort to bring any level of government into a meaningful conversation on the rights of homosexuals, Rev. John Paul Stevens began a fast on the steps of the County Courthouse on Sunday, July 5th.

The Women’s Studies Dept. is founded at San Diego State College. It is thought to be the first such department in U.S. academia.

Local publications of the 1970s:

  • The Hummingbird - Monthly Dignity Newsletter
  • Pacific Coast Times
  • San Diego Son
  • Tres Femmes
  • Goodbye to All That
  • Feminist Communications
  • Thursday’s Child

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Year 1971

Jess Jessup - click on image for a larger viewJess Jessop set up an answering machine in a utility closet. It was a help line available to anyone in the LGBT community.

 

Jack WalshMayoral candidates address membership meetings of MCC and GLF concerning lesbian/gay issues.

►GLF endorses Jack Walsh for mayor. GLF members work in Walsh campaign and carry political message to San Diego gay bars for the first time.

 

 

7111 - Gay Liberation Front (GLF) pickets San Diego Police Department to protest police harassment of gays. It is one of the first organized public gay demonstrations in San Diego.  See Editorial Retrospective.

Year 1972

7205 - The San Diego Chapter of DignityUSA (LGBT Catholics) is founded by Pat McArron & Pat McSweeney.  McArron serves as president for the first three years. Masses were celebrated in Old Town at the Catholic Cardijn Center.  [see footnote]

7210 - Oct 3, 1972 the first meeting is held at 2240 El Cajon Blvd, the home of Bernie Michels, to plan for the first Gay Center in San Diego.

Here is where the ideas for a future LGBTQ Center took form. San Diego's trailblazers and pioneers, Bernie Michels and Thomas Carey began the planning and organizing for a future LGBTQ Center for Social Services.


Metropolitan Community Church presents its first San Diego Follies, a review of community talent and outrageousness.

Nicole Ramirez-Murray organizes a successful boycott of several local bars that refuse to admit cross-dressers.

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Year 1973

Royal Court de San Diego (a social and fundraising organization) holds first coronation of Empress Tawny Tann and Emperor Omar at the Royal Inn Convention Center.

7301 - Robert Kinsel is convicted of violating Sec. 647a of the California Penal Code on January 30, which makes it a register able misdemeanor for anyone to solicit a lewd and dissolute act in a public place. The arresting officer testified at length about his "cruising" the club in question, stating that it was part of his duties.

San Diego Son and Pacific Coast Times begin publication of news for the lesbian/gay community. Prior to these publications, the MCC Prodigal is San Diego’s only regular gay publication.

The GLBT Center on B StThe Center for Social Services opens at 2250 "B" Street with a variety of programs designed to meet the unique concerns of the lesbian/gay community.

Womancare Clinic opens its doors in the fall of 1973 and from its inception has welcomed lesbians as clients in the self-help well-woman participatory clinic. It also provides a lesbian safe space for individual appointments and offers a woman controlled conception (donor insemination program) in a supportive environment.

Diablo’s hosts a benefit for guide dogs for the blind.

Anne Babcock and Cris Bearden of Grossmont College launch a club called Gay Awareness in October. The organization’s long-term goals are for "political/ social equality for all homosexuals."

MCC expands to the North County in October by holding services in private homes in Escondido, Vista, and Oceanside.

7311 - In November, ABC-TV affiliate KCST augments its regular news with a special report on the San Diego gay community. It features the Emperor and Empress Halloween Ball as a "typical gay social event. Rev. Howard Williams and his "companion" Roger are interviewed as a representative gay couple.

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Year 1974

Mr. And Miss Gay San Diego contest established.

Teddy Roosevelt Republican Club of San Diego founded for lesbian/gay political action by Nicole Ramirez-Murray.

 

On a summer day, 200 gays and lesbians march in protest for the first time through downtown San Diego to publicly proclaim their sexual orientation; some cover their heads with paper bags for fear of reprisal.. This action is recognized as the first organized LGBT march in San Diego.

Nude bathing on Black’s Beach in La Jolla is legalized.

Feminist Communications begins publication. It covers topics such as the KKK in San Diego, the Berkeley Women’s Music Collective, separatism, and distribution of the drug Depo Provera in the third world. It features a calendar insert of Las Hermanas Coffeehouse events. (It ceases publication in 1979.)

7406 - The North County Study Group of the MCC is granted Mission status by the Board of Home Missions on June 1. The interim pastor is Rev. Howard Williams.  see footnote

Rev David FarrellThe board of directors of MCC appoints Deacon David Farrell to assume leadership of MCC as worship coordinator until such time as a new pastor is chosen by the congregation.

The Pacific Coast Times expands distribution to Los Angeles, San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Palm Springs, Costa Mesa, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.

Judith Knight starts Project Repair where women learn trades and building skills.

7408 - The Gay Center is burglarized August 28. Four nights later a brick is hurled through the front window. Lighted flares are also thrown on the lawn in recent months. As a security measure, The Center is staffed 24 hours a day.

7409 - The San Diego Union headline for Sept. 13 reads "8 Arrested on Felony Sex Counts." 23 additional persons are listed in the story, with names, addresses, and occupations. The men are arrested in the men’s room of the May Company in Mission Valley and charged with counts of sexual perversion, lewd conduct, and solicitation. On October 5 about 80 to 100 straight and gay persons meet in the parking lot of the May Co. and form a loop around the store chanting "Don’t shop May Company" and "End police spying." Many demonstrators cut up their credit cards in symbolic protest.

7411 - The gay community holds United Gay Week, Nov. 19-26 to raise money for gay and lesbian causes.

The Hunter Fine Arts Society is formed by Conrad Hunter and Assoc., Inc., the first fine arts club for the homophile community. Subscribers receive a monthly color catalog with art and art reviews on featured artists.

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Year 1975

San Diego Democratic Club (SDDC) is founded by Bob Lynn for lesbian/gay political action.

 

Las Hermanas (women’s coffeehouse and performance center) opens on Wabash Avenue.

First Gay/Lesbian Pride Parade is held. Minnesota State Senator Alan Spear and nationally known lesbian activist Barbara Gittings ride in the parade and speak at the rally.

Gay Students Union is established at San Diego State by Gary Gulley.

San Diego Lesbian Organization is founded.

MCC moves into its own building at 1355 Fern Street. It is the first lesbian/gay organization to own property in San Diego.

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Year 1976

Stepping Stone is founded, a residential recovery program for gay alcoholics in San Diego. It is one of only a handful of recovery organizations for gay men and lesbians in the U.S. and is one of San Diego’s oldest gay organizations.

Gay Activists of San Diego (GASD) forms to defend the right of every person to equal protection under the law without discrimination on account of sexual orientation or affectional preference. It seeks to demonstrate by public confrontation how discrimination against the gay minority subverts the Constitution, substitutes "public policy" for common law, and deprives everyone of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.

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Year 1977

Al Smithson

 

Al Smithson, well-known San Diego attorney and columnist for the Pacific Coast Times, is appointed to the Democratic State Central Committee by Assemblyman Pete Chacon. Smithson is the first San Diego gay activist to serve on this committee.  see another photo

7706 - Third Annual Pride March & Festival. An estimated 1,200 to 2,000 people gathered at India and F streets at what is today Pantoja Park. ►

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

◄7711 - The West Coast Production Company is opened November 11.  During the late 70's WCPC in San Diego, CA was an innovative discotheque breaking in much of the disco music of that period.

Update reports that 43,000 people attend the third anniversary celebration of the legalization of nude bathing at Black’s Beach. KCST-Channel 30 reports that only 6,000 attend, and suggest that this signals the decline in interest in Black’s Beach.

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Year 1978

Lutherans Concerned/North America logoLutherans Concerned (organization of gay/lesbian Lutherans) establishes San Diego chapter.   [see footnote]

 

7806 - The original gay-pride flag was hand-dyed by Baker. It flew in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978. (However, it was by no means the first time that spectrum or rainbow colors had been associated with gay and lesbian peoples.

San Diego County sends largest contingent of lobbyists to Sacramento for Constituent Lobby Day on Assembly Bill-1 (Art Agnos’ anti-discrimination bill).

North County Gay Association is founded by Doug Moore.

The first Lesbian Health Clinic of San Diego opens, staffed with women counselors and practitioners. It is in operation at the Beach Area Community Clinic.

A new local magazine appears on the scene, The Inside Scoop. It is created by Bruce Ingram and Bob Bergman.

John Drummer purchases The San Diego Son for $3,000.

The first issue of "The San Diego Pride" is published August 18, "serving the Southern California Homophile Community with Pride."

Harvey Milk7811 - San Francisco’s first openly gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, is assassinated November 27, as is Mayor George Moscone by supervisor Dan White. Over 200 lesbians, gay men, and supporters gather together for a memorial service at the Organ Pavilion in San Diego’s Balboa Park to hear gospel readings, speakers, and hymns. For once, the entire gay and lesbian community came together to mourn two great men. Harvey Milk was a living example of judging people who are suitable for public office on the basis of one’s ability.

The newspaper of the San Diego Lesbian Organization, Thursday’s Child, is launched. It covers SDLO such events as lesbian child custody cases, Harvey Milk murder, Gay Alliance for Equal Rights, and Califia, a feminist education retreat near L.A. (It ceases publication in 1981.)

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Year 1979

Update launches its first issue. Headline news is the recent police raid at the Fourth Avenue Club and the subsequent founding of the Gay Alliance for Equal Rights. Gay Alliance for Equal Rights forms in response to increased harassment of the gay/lesbian community by the San Diego Police Department.

The Wing Cafe, a feminist restaurant-gallery-performance space on B Street in Golden Hill, opens.

MCC produces the city’s first gay radio program, "MCC on the Air." It is broadcast on XEMO-AM 860 from 6:30 – 7:00 Saturday evenings. The program features a message or sermon, prayer, MCC choirs and information about MCC.

Betty Berzon, author of Positively Gay and national president of the Gay Academic Union, helps launch the San Diego chapter of the GAU in July.

The Community of the Resurrection opens August 1 adjacent to the MCC. It is a monastery.

Bob Burgreen◄7908 - On August 23, Assistant Chief of Police Bob Burgreen announces that San Diego will hire qualified gay and lesbian persons as officers.

Greater San Diego Business Association (GSDBA) - gay and lesbian business organization is founded.

 

7910 - First National Lesbian & Gay Rights March on Washington, DC takes place on Oct 14, 1979 ►

Dr. Al Best

 

Al Best runs for San Diego City Council as first openly gay candidate for elected office in San Diego. Al finishes 5th out of 11.

 

 

First-year SDSU professor Bonnie Zimmerman teaches an experimental class in the Dept. of Women’s Studies on "Lesbian Life and Literature."►

The San Diego Lesbian Organization operates a new woman-run hotline serving San Diego.

Mariposa Foundation establishes headquarters in San Diego and New York. Its purpose is to conduct research on human sexuality, particularly homosexuality, and to produce accurate educational materials for the general public.

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Footnotes:
Footnote:  See "The Beginnings of GLBT Christianity in San Diego, 1970-1979"  (source: Journal of San Diego History, Volume 53, Number 3)
 
Footnote 2 Rev. Howard Williams, retired MCC Clergy died on Wednesday, June 25th, 2003. He had been retired and living in the Dominican Republic at the time of his death.  Rev. Williams was instrumental in the founding of several MCC churches, including San Diego, CA and North Hollywood, CA (USA).  Cause of death and any further details are unknown.

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