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Gay and Lesbian Center Marks 25th Anniversary

When the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center started 25 years ago, gay bars were still being raided and the Internal Revenue Service did not grant tax-exempt status to gay organizations.

“Society has evolved a great deal since then,” said Jim Key, spokesman for the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center in Hollywood.

The center also has changed--from a small, all-volunteer agency when it started in 1971 to an organization that now serves 14,000 clients every month.

This year, the center’s staff is marking 25 years of helping to improve the lives of gays and lesbians and to change society’s treatment of them. Mayor Richard Riordan was on hand at a party Wednesday to honor the center’s accomplishments.

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To mark its history, the center has begun assembling a time capsule that will be opened at the organization’s 50th anniversary. A Speedo swim trunk from Olympic diver Greg Louganis, a tube of lipstick from gay singer RuPaul, and the uniform worn by an openly-gay soldier who challenged the government’s policy on gays in the military are among the first items preserved in the capsule.

The center this week unveiled its new logo, which makes the words “gay” and “lesbian” a prominent part of the organization’s seal--a big change from the days when gay and lesbian organizations did not dare indicate their identities.


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