GAY AUSTIN September 1978
for 3 years
By ART MORRIS
GAY COMMUNITY SERVICES opened Its doors at the
University Y in Austin on August 1, 1975.
But the organization was actually born across
the Drag as a group of UT students who called
themselves Gay People of Austin. The People moved
to 2330 Guadalupe when the University Y recognized
them as a viable group serving a previously neglected part of the Austin community, and offered
office space 1n their headquarters above Sommers
A totally volunteer organization, GCS 1s staffed by
and for the gay people of Austin and Travis County.
Counseling and information services, available to
both telephone and walk-1n inquiries, make up the
bulk of GCS' day-to-day activities.
Although some of our counselors may be professional,
they all function at GCS as non-professional peer
counselors, relying on personal experiences and
their own common sense 1n reacting to and discussing
gay people's lives and problems.
Many of those who call or come to GCS for peer counseling are gay people 1n the process of coming out
who need to talk to someone 1n a non-judgmental
position who understands their problem.
In more complex situations, GCS operates a referral
system using psychiatrists and psychologists screened by the organization so that we know they are
supportive of gay people. GCS also makes referrals
to other professionals, such as dentists, doctors
FREQUENTLY, non-gay groups are interested 1n having
contact with gay people as a learning experience.
The GCS Speakers Bureau provides speakers to any
group requesting them. Frequent requests arrive
from UT, St. Edward's University, Southwest Texas
State University 1n San Marcos, Austin Community
Col lege,Southwestern University 1n Georgetown and
Huston-Tillotson College. Church groups, high school
classes, and local TV and radio stations have also
called upon GCS for speakers.
GCS Peer Counseling Coordinator Tommy Connell rapping with Kelly Kay
Our newspaper GAY AUSTIN has been published for over
two years, starting out as a four page mimeographed
newsletter, and gradually growing 1n quality and
support. Published on newsprint for nearly a year
now, the paper has subscribers 1n Texas, California
Published monthly and distributed in Austin free,
Gay Austin may be found at any of our advertisers'
establishments, at GCS, 1n bookshops along the Drag,
and in the Austin/Travis County Collection of the
Austin Public Library.
Since its Inception, GCS has sponsored a Friday
night Rap Group which meets at 8:00 p.m. In the
GCS lounge above Sommers Drug on the Drag. A good
place to meet gay people 1n a quiet atmosphere,
the Rap Group is open to everyone. Discussion
ranges from coming out to promiscuity, relationships,
and whatever else the group wants to talk about.
The only Austin gay organization with a permanent
telephone line, GCS acts as a clearinghouse for
Information significant to other gay organizations
Including the Austin Gay Political Caucus, Austin
Human Rights Coalition, Austin Lesbian Feminist
Organization, UT's Lesb1an/Gay Alliance, Texas
Gay Task Force, Lesbian/Gay Democrats of Texas and
Metropolitan Community Church.
Pertinent Information 1s recorded on the answering
tape which 1s available on the phone when GCS 1s
Included in the Gay Community Services Directory
and Source Book published by the National Gay Task
Force, GCS 1s funded by private donations, the advertisers of GAY AUSTIN and the United Urban Council of Austin.
GAY COMMUNITY SERVICES 1s open dally from 6-10 p.m.
upstairs over Sommers Drugstore at 2330 Guadalupe.
The phone number 1s 477-6699.