The Connexxus/Centro de Mujeres Collection contains the administrative records of Connexxus / Centro de Mujeres, one of the
first Los Angeles non-profit organizations that catered and provided services to lesbians.
Historical note (version 2) by Tiffany-Kay Sangwand
In early 1984, Adel Martinez and Lauren Jardine conceived the idea behind Connexxus, a women-run center in Los Angeles that
provides quality and comprehensive services that cater to women, particularly lesbians. In May 1984, Martinez, Jardine, and
a group of women met in the home of Vivian Brown to discuss the idea and how to bring it into fruition. They envisioned a
space in which lesbians could thrive professionally, personally, and socially.
In January 1985, Connexxus opened its doors on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. Connexxus' initial space was a 1400
square foot facility with ten rooms which served as a space for a library, workshops, rap groups, counseling, meetings, and
other social activities. Lauren Jardine, Ph.D. was hired as the Executive Director. Connexxus operated under the non-profit
auspices of Southern California Women for Understanding until receiving its own 501(c)(3) non-profit organization status in
Connexxus operated for six years out of West Hollywood. In 1986, it opened Connexxus East / Centro de Mujeres, a satellite
location in East Los Angeles. Connexxus offered a variety of services at its two locations including referrals, support groups,
the Alliance (Connexxus Business and Professional Women's Alliance), the West Coast Lesbian Collection / June Mazer Lesbian
Archive, counseling / therapy services, workshops, social events, and a coffeehouse. Connexxus East specifically did outreach
to Latina lesbians in East L.A. Connexxus also collaborated with a number of other non-profit organizations in Los Angeles,
such as Southern California Women for Understanding (SCWU), Alcoholism Center for Women (ACW), and Lesbian Central at the
Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center (currently the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center).
At its peak, Connexxus operated on a budget of over $200,000, which was anomalous among grassroots lesbian organizations at
the time. Their funding was made possible from the City of West Hollywood, donations from the women who utilized its services
and gay men who were allies.
When Connexxus opened, it filled the vacuum for a women / lesbian public space in Los Angeles. During its six years of operation,
other specialized organizations and businesses emerged to serve the dynamic Los Angeles lesbian population. This was reflected
in a decline of Connexxus users; in 1990 Connexxus decided to cease operations. Two of its programs, the June Mazer Lesbian
Archive and Connexxus East, remained open and operated independently after Connexxus' closing.
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