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social sciences

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Los Angeles  
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Still, lesbians had less presence in West Hollywood than gay men, although Connexus, a lesbian social services center, operated in the city from 1984 to 1990. This center sought to extend its services when it opened the Centro de Mujeres in East Los Angeles, where it could serve lesbian Latinas. At the end of the 1980s Connexus brought the West Coast Lesbian Collections from Oakland, eventually to be housed in West Hollywood and renamed the June L. Mazer Lesbian Collection, an archives of books, papers, sound recordings, and objects such as tee shirts and softball uniforms. It remains open for lesbians as a center for research and a source of community.

Gains in glbtq youth services were made in the 1980s. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) opened its first national office in Los Angeles in 1981; the Los Angeles chapter is one of the organization's most active chapters. In 1984 Virginia Uribe at Fairfax High School created Project 10 to counsel glbtq youth, and in 1985 Teresa de Crescenzo, partner of Betty Berzon, founded Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS).

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Advent of AIDS

A description of symptoms first termed GRID (Gay Related Immunodeficiency Disease) was first published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on June 5, 1981, based on information and research provided by UCLA medical professor Dr. Michael Gottlieb and Los Angeles gay physician Dr. Joel Weisman. The report was authored by Gottlieb and CDC Los Angeles staff member Wayne Shandera. In 1982 Los Angeles researcher and activist Dr. Bruce Voeller suggested the term AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).

In response to the overwhelming toll exacted by AIDS in Los Angeles, numerous groups mobilized to raise awareness of the disease and to care for those who suffered from the virus. AIDS Project LA (APLA) was formed in 1982, with services beginning in 1983 as a telephone hotline. APLA grew to include client services, educational services, advertising campaigns (including the now-famous "LA Cares" ads), and government affairs programs. In August 1985 APLA coordinated testimony to the Los Angeles City Council, and the city became the first in the nation to ban discrimination against people with AIDS. Project Angel Food began in 1989 and now serves more than 1,000 meals daily, including a second meal to the neediest clients.

The announcement in 1985 that actor Rock Hudson had contracted the virus and his death months later made the world aware of the disease and helped facilitate fundraising. Elizabeth Taylor and other Hollywood figures assumed leadership roles in the fight against AIDS. The American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) was founded in Los Angeles in that year. In July 1985 actress Ann-Margret and Mayor Bradley headed the first AIDS walk sponsored by APLA.

Among other Los Angeles writers and filmmakers who documented the ravages of AIDS, Paul Monette wrote extensively about how he and his lover Roger Horwitz coped with the disease. Monette's Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir (1988) remains one of the most moving works about the epidemic.

As of 2004, about 80,000 persons had died of AIDS in Los Angeles, while over 56,000 persons were living with HIV.

The Third Wave of Gay Liberation: 1990-2000

As if a decade of the rigors of AIDS were not enough, in September 1991 Governor Pete Wilson, thought to be a moderate Republican and a friend of the glbtq community, vetoed AB 101, a bill that would have banned discrimination in private employment in California. In Los Angeles the night the veto was announced, the leading glbtq activists were out of the city, but a spontaneous street demonstration began and continued for two weeks.

More than 50,000 persons marched to various locations around the city to protest and to promote awareness of this injustice. These demonstrations were an outgrowth of ACT UP, Queer Nation (both founded elsewhere), and the other protest movements that formed during the years of government inactivity on issues surrounding AIDS and its treatment.

Wilson himself was zapped--a protest method harking back to the times of the GLF--when he spoke at UCLA. The cover of the university's glbtq student newspaper showed the helmeted and riot-batoned police summoned to keep order, a sight not seen on campus since the anti-war protests of the 1970s.

The Advocate described these actions and the year 1991 as the beginning of a third wave of activism.

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