The Gay Liberation Front
Despite many successful activities in previous years and increasing acceptance among the mainstream, in 1973, the San Diego chapter of the Gay Liberation Front disbanded. Nationally, other chapters were also disbanding as the GLF and other radical gay-rights groups, lost steam. In many cases, members left to join, or found, more moderate groups and organizations.
In San Diego, the focus changed from the controversial tactics of the GLF to the Gay Information Center, which, up to that point, had been little more than a phone help-line and referral service. A decision was made to focus on the founding of a Gay Community Center. The official name of the new organization was the Center for Social Services. “Gay” was left out of the name because many members of the community, who were still in the closet, would be hesitant to write checks to, or donate to an obviously gay organization. Also the phone company wouldn’t publish the phone numbers of organizations that used the word “gay” in their name.
Many members of the GLF, such as Jess Jessop, were founding members of the Center’s Board of Directors or were involved with the Center in a volunteer capacity. The Center also continued many of the activities of the GLF so, in many ways, the GLF didn’t fade away so much as it transformed into the new Center.
One familiar activity was Gay-In 3, which took place as part of the Center’s Pride Week activities. The July 1st event again took place in Balboa Park. The event ran from noon to 4:00 p.m. and people were invited to bring “Picnic Lunch, Frisbees, Guitars, Radios, Whatever.” It was only the third Gay-In because none was held in 1972 and it wrapped up a whole week’s worth of Pride activities by the Center, MCC and others.