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"1972" PowerPoint   
"1972" Video   

Birds of a Feather
LGBT Legal History Project

"The Seventies"
Commenorating the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the first gay law student associations.
Honoring the law students and lawyers who were trailblazers for LGBT rights in the 1970s.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together* and that is how and why organized LGBT law student activism began in 1972 – first in Los Angeles, then in San Francisco, Madison, and Buffalo.  That was the same year the American Bar Association held its first forum on gay rights at an annual conference.  The nation’s first gay legal organization – the Gay Legal Caucus of the Gay Activists Alliance -- an association of New York lawyers, law students, and legal workers was also created in 1972.  Lambda Legal Defense applied to be a legal services corporation that year.  Appeals were filed in same-sex marriage cases in Minnesota and Kentucky in 1972. [*The phrase Birds of a Feather was inspired by chapter one of The Domino Effect book.  To view a short video (1.5 min) about the formation of the first gay law student association in the nation, click here.


To commemorate the 50th anniversary of these historic events, Spectrum Institute is producing a series of short videos, a memory book, and two webinars.  The project serves two purposes: to honor the LGBT law student trailblazers and pioneering lawyers of the 1970s; to educate the current generation of lawyers and law students about events that helped build the foundation of many of the LGBT rights we enjoy today.  It took courage to openly advocate for lesbian and gay rights in an era when the full weight of society condemned homosexuality and those “afflicted” with it.  We were labeled as criminals, diagnosed as mentally ill, damned to hell by most religions, unwanted by most employers, rejected by the military, and shunned by many families. 


March 30 Webinar. A one-hour webinar was produced by Spectrum Institute and hosted by the OutLaw LGBTQ student association at Loyola Law School in  Los Angeles.  It included a narrated PowerPoint and a short video clip about the advocacy of gay and lesbian law students during the breakthrough year of 1972.  Click here for the video.


Memory Book. A book of LGBT legal history will be published in October 2022.  It will contain historical background information of gay and lesbian rights in the 1950s and 1960s, biographies of more than 75 law students who were involved in gay and lesbian rights in the 1970s, and biographies of 35 lawyers who graduated in prior years and were actively involved in gay and lesbian rights advocacy in the 1970s.


Videos. Short videos of interviews with some of the living trailblazers will be released on YouTube and through social media during LGBT History Month in October.


October Webinar. A webinar will be held at noon on October 11, 2022.  It will be produced by Spectrum Institute and hosted by the Williams Institute of UCLA Law School.  A history professor will discuss the emergence of gay law student organizations in the 1970s. Several trailblazers from that era will make video presentations and be present for the Q&A session.  A law student will make a presentation on how and when “out” transgender, nonbinary, and law students of color eventually emerged as advocates for LGBT rights.  Those who attend the webinar will receive a complimentary pdf copy of the Memory Book.  Join our email list and we will notify you when a date for the webinar has been selected and how to register for it.  There is no cost to attend.


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Spectrum Institute is a 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit.  Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.
All sponsors will receive recognition in the Memory Book, at the webinar, and on the website.
*Benefactors receive 1/4 page display space in the Memory Book.  Major donors get a full page.