On March 1, 1981 the Billy DeFrank Center opened its doors. Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center was organized
in response to the housing discrimination that gays and lesbians faced in Santa Clara County. The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon
Valley Community Center Records document the grassroots efforts of its founders to build a community center that supports
the vast and diverse needs of the South Bay community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The central
mission of the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center is to work toward promoting a "positive social identification"
by promoting civil rights to advance liberty and justice through collaboration and unity.
The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records (1970-1999) consist of news clippings, newsletters, and magazines.
Included are a variety of related publications with an emphasis on program initiatives and health training resources, including
ephemera and pamphlets. There is a sizeable photographic collection that contains pictures of social events hosted by the
Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center, including Gay Pride San José and other social outings. This collection
is arranged into three series: Series I, Organizational Records, 1978-97; Series II, Educational Outreach and Publicity 1971-1999;
and Series III, Publications, 1970-1999.
The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Center opened on March 1, 1981 in downtown San José, California. The center was posthumously
named after Billy DeFrank, the stage name of William Price (1936-1980). From San José, William Price was a well known African-American
drag entertainer as well as a prominent gay rights activist who dedicated his talents to the development of gay communities
throughout California. He was considered one of the "best-loved goodwill ambassadors" for the LGBT community. At the time
LGBT activists were generally influenced by the political legacy of Stonewall. The Stonewall riots, the escalation of a series
of violent confrontations between gay rights activists and police that began on June 28, 1969 outside the Stonewall Inn (a
bar in New York City), became the genesis of an international gay rights movement focused on social justice and human rights
for the LGBT community. The founders of the DeFrank Center concerned with practical challenges and most concerned about the
lack of housing and employment protections for lesbians and gay men living in Santa Clara County envisioned transforming the
legacy of the Stonewall riots by creating "a place to call home". The grassroots efforts to establish this LGBT center were
driven by forces from within the Lambda Association Board of Directors of San José, San Jose Staté University's Women's Center,
and other local activists. The center became the fulcrum whereby the large and diverse community of lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgendered in the South Bay could find refuge. The inception of the center's success was marked by an increase in
activist support from local political figures such Mayor Janet Gray Hayes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The center continues
to offer a safe haven for a large and diverse community.
7.71 linear feet(approx)
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