American attorney and activist GERALD GERASH was born. Attorney Gerald Gerash could be appropriately be called one of the founding fathers of Denver’s gay community. Whenever he saw a gap, he tried to fill it. When there was no community center, he made sure they got one. When gay groups were splintered and unorganized in the early 1970s, he brought them together under one roof. When laws were used to discriminate against gays, he helped put an end to it.
Gerash attended the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Colorado. In his own words, he describes the establishment of the LGBT Center in Denver:
“In Denver, apart from the bars and bath houses, there was only one place where Gays could socialize—the Rocky Mt. Motorcycle Club. For Lesbians, life was more diverse. Activated by the women’s liberation movement, some were already involved with groups like NOW, both in leadership and in its Lesbian Task Force and in Big Momma Rag, a feminist newspaper, mostly run by Lesbians, with a national circulation and very supportive of Lesbians and Gay rights. [My lover] Lynn Tamlin told me he found a Lesbian at Metro State, Jane Dundee, who was interested in Gay Liberation. I immediately phoned Terry Mangan. A few days later, we had our first meeting at our apartment. Jane brought her house mate, Mary Sassatelli, and with Lynn, Terry and I, we created the Gay Coalition of Denver. It would, over the next 3 years, change Gay life in Denver forever. The amazing story of how the Gay Coalition of Denver came to grow and flourish is also the story of how and why The Center came about.”
In 1975 he helped form UNITY, the first-ever umbrella organization for Gay groups to share information and work towards common goals. Out of that group sprang the Gay Community Center of Colorado—an organization of which Gerash is credited as being the founder. In 2010, Gerash was honored as a Grand Marshal of Denver’s 35th annual PrideFest.
Gerash writes about his experiences here: http://www.denvergayrevolt.com/origins_of_center.html