Dorian House, pioneering gay counseling service, opens in Seattle on July 7, 1969.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 3/13/2003
  • Essay 5408
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On July 7, 1969, the Dorian House opens. Its purpose is "to provide counseling and employment help to homosexuals in the Seattle area" (University of Washington Daily). Located at 320 East Malden Street, near 15th Avenue E and Harrison Street on Capitol Hill, the Dorian House is the first of its kind in the United States. Director Pat Gandy runs the employment service, and Dr. Robert Deisher, head of University of Washington Division of Child Health, is in charge of counseling. The Erickson Foundation, located in Louisiana, provides initial funding.

By late September 1969, about 15 people a week were using the 10 volunteer counselors of the Dorian Counseling Service (later renamed Seattle Counseling Services for Sexual Minorities). In the two months ending in late October, a total of 300 people, 290 men and 10 women, went to the Dorian House for employment referrals and for counseling.

In addition to counseling and employment service, Dr. Deisher stated that the goal “is to assist with the education of the straight community so that they can understand homosexuality and homosexuals. People shouldn’t look at homosexuality as an oddity” (University of Washington Daily). Dr. Deisher estimated that the gay and lesbian community in the Greater Seattle area numbered between 30,000 and 40,000 persons.


(Seattle) Helix, July 10, 1969, p. 7; “Counseling Service Aids Homosexuals; Society’s Attitude Condemned,” The Seattle Times, October 2, 1969, p. 26; Winnie Gilmore, “Dorians Aid Homophiles,” University of Washington Daily, October 29, 1969, p 16; Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project, “Claiming Space: A Historical Map of Lesbian and Gay Seattle,” Note Capitol Hill No. 3, (Seattle: Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project, 1996).

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