LAMBDA: History & accomplishments

    What is a lambda?

        What is LAMBDA GLBT Community Services?

The l A "lambda" is the Greek letter "L."  The lower case lambda (l) was chosen by gay activists in 1970 as an international symbol of the gay movement.  A battle flag with a lambda was carried by a regiment of ancient Greek warriors who were accompanied in battle by their male lovers and were noted for their fierceness and willingness to fight to the death.  In modern physics, the lambda signifies change; in ancient Greece it was connected with justice. The word has also been used as a way of expressing the concept "gay/lesbian/bisexual..." without quite so many syllables! 
Your l Even though you may have heard of other Lambda's across the country, there is only one LAMBDA Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) Community Services. 

LAMBDA (written all in capital letters so you will always know who we're talking about) was started in 1991 by Rob Knight as a non-profit organization.  LAMBDA was formed out of need for dedicated GLBT social services, and has grown and expanded to meet the needs of our ever-changing community.  LAMBDA's mission remains to bring about positive social change by educating and enlightening the area's diverse gay and non-gay population, both young and old, about homo/bisexuality.  LAMBDA is the region's most respected, longest running such organization. 

Contributions to, and funds raised by, LAMBDA are put to use right here in our community.

All of LAMBDA's expenses are paid by individual donations & fundraising, and every dollar counts.  Soooo, please become a member and remember us often! 

What has LAMBDA been up to since 1991?

Read on . . . these are just a few of the highlights!


    In 1991, LAMBDA Services introduced its first service, LAMBDA Line. This free, 24-hour, computerized switchboard featured interactive recorded information and connections to various service providers nationwide, all with one call to 915-562-GAYS. It has remained one of LAMBDA's projects ever since.


    LAMBDA volunteer orientations & training sessions began. HelpLine, a popular, live, one-on-one, peer support talkline began taking calls, and Youth OUTreach, the area's first group of its kind for gay/bi/lesbian & questioning teens, began meeting weekly. LAMBDA held its first open house -- in offices not much larger than the space occupied by a desk and chair -- community awareness and sensitivity presentations began, and the Anti-Violence Project began taking hate crime calls. (All of these activities continue today.) LAMBDA began contributing statistics to the Natl. Gay & Lesbian Task Force's (NGLTF) annual violence report, and joined what would later become the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).


    LAMBDA held its first movie festival in 1993 and held a series of workshops on gay life that later became what is now known as LAMBDA's Gay 101. LAMBDA's first men's & women's groups began meeting that year, and LAMBDA became officially recognized as a non-profit corporation in the State of Texas.


    Our Speakers' Bureau volunteers continued to lecture at local schools & universities, Gay 101 workshops became a smashing success, and volunteers from LAMBDA's Teen HelpLine (just like HelpLine, only by-and-for the 21-and-under crowd) appeared on TV & radio news-talk shows promoting a new avenue for young people to obtain accurate information and to talk about growing up queer. General rap groups formed to talk about being gay/bisexual in the 90's, LAMBDA's bulk mailings were sent into gay homes for the first time, and HIV testing was done at LAMBDA by the City/County Health Department. LAMBDA became a member of the National Association of Lesbian & Gay Community Centers (NALGCC) and was formally granted IRS recognition as a non-profit, 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.


    Another eventful year at LAMBDA, offices were moved to 910 N Mesa. Generation Q opened its doors to raise funds and awareness of sexual minorities with symbols of queer identity and pride, the first LAMBDA Pride Balloon Release was held, and the Family & Friends Support Group was begun. In 1995 alone, LAMBDA Line logged over 36,000 calls! LAMBDA's "A Homosexual Was Here" campaign (now an annual tradition) saturated over 2,000 printed cards throughout the Borderplex area and generated a flood of calls from persons seeking information and support. AVP showed El Paso had the largest proportional increase of anti-gay hate incidents in the US for the 2nd year in a row.


    LAMBDA's anti-violence efforts spread across the U.S. when The Gay & Lesbian National Victims' Assistance Hotline (GLNVAH) took its first calls as one of just a few national, toll free, queer hotlines in the country. GLNVAH continues to document incidents of bias attacks, and discrimination, in areas unserved by victims services programs and provides crisis intervention and referrals 24-hours a day. The Robert Alba Memorial GLBTF Community Center was inaugurated as El Paso's first queer services center, the "Safe Zone" project was introduced, and LAMBDA's AVP was selected as a national tracking site by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. LAMBDA Services officially changed its name to LAMBDA GLBT Community Services to better reflect the community and its mission.
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Since 1991, we've been making our community proud!
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Copyright 1997-2003, LAMBDA GLBT Community Services.  All Rights Reserved.
LAMBDA G/L/B/T Community Services, PO Box 31321, El Paso, TX 79931-0321.

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