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Los Angeles  
 
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ONE's office became a de facto glbtq community center, the first in the U.S. The organization later added education, tours, and lectures to its programming and moved two times. In 1956 Legg, Jim Kepner, and Merritt M. Thompson, a retired University of Southern California professor, founded the ONE Institute of Homophile Studies, and after that the organization was most often termed ONE Institute.

In its heyday ONE attracted a mix of gay, lesbian, and straight allies, including such luminaries as Isherwood, Heard, novelist Ann Bannon, sexologist Vern Bullough, psychologists Blanche Baker and Evelyn Hooker, as well as the drag queen "Miss Destiny," the original of John Rechy's character of that name in City of Night (1963).

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ONE magazine published its first issue in January 1953 and continued publishing until 1968 (with a brief revival in 1972). ONE was arguably more extensive in its cultural influence than Mattachine Review, founded later in San Francisco. From the beginning ONE included women contributors and graphic designers, such as Joan Corbin (working as Eve Elloree) and Stella Rush (Sten Russell). It had a long roster of fiction and poetry writers, essayists, and reviewers.

Among the reviewers was Barbara Grier (writing as Gene Damon) and among the writers were James Barr (Fugaté), Joseph Hansen (writing as James Colton), and Jim Kepner (writing under several pseudonyms). Kepner wrote a popular column entitled "tangents" (usually not capitalized), gathering "gay" news from around the country and around the world, most of it at that time not good news.

Kepner holds a unique place in Los Angeles and American glbtq history, as he was the first collector of publications and ephemera of all things glbtq. Beginning in 1942 and until his death in 1997, he spent most of his money and time building and maintaining this collection, which he opened to scholars in the early 1970s. He gave the collection various names until the final one, International Gay and Lesbian Archives (IGLA).

In the 1950s glbtq people were frequently harassed and entrapped by members of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The first issue of ONE reported the trial of Mattachine member and ONE co-editor Dale Jennings, who protested his arrest on solicitation charges as entrapment. (The jury deadlocked but the district attorney chose not to retry the case.) Jennings's lawyer was George Shibley, who in the 1940s was one of the defense attorneys in the Sleepy Lagoon trial, one of the most famous in Los Angeles dealing with discrimination against Mexican Americans. The language of Jennings's article in the first issue, calling for homosexuals to "unite militantly," was ahead of its time.

In 1954 the United States Post Office confiscated copies of ONE on the grounds that any discussion of homosexuality was obscene and unfit to be mailed. ONE sued the postmaster for the right to mail its magazine. After losing the first two rounds, Legg and heterosexual lawyer Eric Julber finally prevailed in the United States Supreme Court, which decided ONE v. Olesen in the organization's favor. This ruling--the only Supreme Court ruling favorable to homosexuals in the 1950s--was of inestimable significance, for without it there could have been no gay and lesbian civil rights movement.

In 1957 UCLA research psychologist Evelyn Hooker, who characterized herself as "hopelessly straight," became the first psychologist to publish a study proving that gay men were as well adjusted as the general population. She was also one of the first to publish a study of homosexuals that was not a study of prison inmates or psychiatric patients. She identified five areas of Los Angeles where there were clusters of gay bars.

Protest and Progress: The 1960s

Perhaps better than any other writer of the period, John Rechy captured a particular segment of gay life--the world of hustlers and cruising and anonymous sex--in Los Angeles in the 1960s, especially in his novels City of Night, Numbers (1967), and This Day's Death (1969). City of Night offers vivid pictures of several gay areas in Los Angeles, from Pershing Square cruising spots to seedy downtown bars to more domestic sites near MacArthur Park (no longer a gay area) and even the home of George Cukor. Griffith Park, which had become a notorious cruising area in the 1960s, features in Numbers and This Day's Death, the latter of which tells the story of a man caught in a police vice raid. He treated the drag queen world of Los Angeles in "Miss Destiny: The Fabulous Wedding," a section of City of Night.

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