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Dignity/USA Records
2007-004  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Records of Dignity/USA, the oldest organization for Roman Catholic members of the GLBT community, from it's founding in 1969 until the early 1990s. The materials include correspondence, minutes, motions, and work papers of the organization's Board of Directors and House of Delegates; records of Dignity's biennial National Conventions; correspondence files of Dignity officers, including Joseph Killian (Joe Gilgamesh), the first elected president of Dignity; and extensive subject files, containing correspondence, reports, press releases, notes, copies of magazine and newspaper articles, and other materials relating to Dignity's day-to-day operations, its efforts to obtain recognition from the Roman Catholic hierarchy, both within the United States and at the Vatican, of the spiritual needs of gays and lesbians, and its active participation in the secular movement for the recognition of GLBT civil rights. Additional materials include records of the regions and chapters into which Dignity is divided; the materials relating to the Los Angeles chapter, always the largest in the organization, are particularly extensive. The collection also includes a collection of photographs and slides documenting the history of Dignity, and extensive files of newsletters published by the national office and by each region and chapter.
Background
Early in 1969, Father Patrick X. Nidorf, an Augustinian priest and psychologist in San Diego, began a ministry for gay and lesbian Roman Catholics as an extension of his professional work. He chose the name "Dignity" to stress his basic goal: to bring dignity into the spiritual and social lives of gay and lesbian Catholics. Word of Nidorf's ministry spread, first by word of mouth, then through advertisements Nidorf placed in the Los Angeles Free Press and (beginning in January 1970) the Advocate. To guard against the possibility of religious fanatics or homophobes disrupting or dominating meetings, Nidorf required the return of a completed application form, and, when in doubt, a personal interview. The monthly gatherings were open only to individuals over 21 years of age, with a membership card issued by Nidorf; annual dues were $5. Nidorf also issued a simple monthly newsletter.
Extent
47.8 linear feet (94 archive boxes).
Restrictions
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Availability
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.