Gay & Lesbian Sierrans
Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club
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The Angeles Chapter, Gay and Lesbian Section began as a grassroots effort in 1986 as the Gay and Lesbian Committee, with a few people who shared the environmental cause of the Sierra Club but wanted to enjoy wilderness "out of the closet," in the company of other lesbians and gays. Members of the Sierra Singles were already enjoying the social opportunities afforded by Section status and their own newsletter. Many gays and lesbians would continue their membership or join the Sierra Club if there were similar opportunities for participation. The success of the San Francisco section was proof that there was a large, unrecognized population of lesbians and gays who wanted to actively participate in the Sierra Club. A proposal was submitted on September 22, 1986 to the Angeles Chapter Council for the formation of a Gay and Lesbian Section of the Angeles Chapter. The proposal was rejected by a vote of 12 to 3. Reasons for rejection were unclear, but appeared to be the result of a fear of "promoting" gay and lesbian lifestyles, and involving the Club in "gay politics." A revised proposal to address these concerns was submitted, and again rejected.
Undaunted, advocates of a Gay and Lesbian Section redoubled their efforts in the next two years to answer the concerns of the Club, broaden support, and encourage members of the gay and lesbian community to join the Sierra Club. Although there was no official recognition of their group, the Gay & Lesbian Committee met on January 5, 1987 and scheduled the first hike: Pt. Mugu, 8 mi RT, 120 ft. gain, to be advertised in gay and lesbian community publications. About 50 people showed for the hike, a respectable number for Sierra Club outings.
Finally, in November 1988, the third attempt at recognition was successful -- the Gay and Lesbian Section was recognized by the Angeles Chapter. Present membership, as of 2007 is 250 and includes active participants from Los Angeles to Orange and Riverside Counties, and as far north as Bishop.