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Highlights of DignityUSA's History: 1972

The following history is based on the commemorative booklet entitled DignityUSA at 25: A Chronology, 1969-1994 compiled by former DignityUSA President Pat Roche. Copies are available from the Dignity national office and were also printed in the Dignity Journal 27:2-3 (Autumn 1995). Highlights from 1995-Present compiled by former Dignity Vice President Pat McArron.
  • On February 19, the First Annual Meeting of Dignity is held in Los Angeles. Seventy-four members attend the Potluck Dinner/Election including 22 priests. The membership committee reports that "Dignity has 198 members, including 25 priests, four brothers and two seminarians. 108 members are from the Los Angeles area. The others are from twenty states and the District of Columbia as well as seven countries (Philippines, Australia, Canada, West Indies, England, Holland, Switzerland)." New officers elected at the meeting are:

    • Joe Gilgamesh, President
    • Jerry August, Vice President
    • Ron Aviano, Secretary
    • Ken Pavlick, Treasurer (*)

    (*) Bill Washburn assumes the Treasurer’s position in October, 1972.

  • In March, Dignity/Los Angeles begins to meet at the Los Angeles Community College Newman Center.

  • On March 16, the National Federation of Priests Councils passes a resolution calling for the formation of a task force to develop a model for Christian ministry to the homosexual community.

  • On June 23, an article on Dignity appears in "The Reporters Notebook" column of the National Catholic Reporter.

  • In August, Dignity produces six performances of the play "The Fantasticks" as a fund raising project.

  • In September, Joe Gilgamesh tours various cities around the country including Chicago, Washington DC, Louisville, Boston and New York City to talk with individuals interested in the Dignity movement. (Prior to going to New York, Gilgamesh corresponds with Father John McNeill. He tells him about Dignity and asks permission to reprint the articles from the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, which are the basis for the original Statement of Position and Purpose. for Dignity members. Father McNeill grants permission and also, at Joe Gilgamesh’s request, works to convene the first meeting of Dignity/New York. In response to an ad in the Village Voice, over 200 attend this meeting which is held in October.)

  • In October, Pat Allen travels to meet with individuals interested in forming Dignity chapters in Washington DC, Baltimore, New York and Boston.

  • On October 30, an Administrative Services Group (ASG) is formed to oversee all aspects of Dignity outside of Los Angeles. The ASG is in essence the embryo out of which DignityUSA and the "national" Dignity movement was to grow. ASG responsibilities are divided as follows:

    • Pat Allen (Responsible for overseeing all Chapters outside of the Los Angeles area)
    • Bob Fournier (National Newsletter)
    • Ron Aviano (Recording Secretary)
    • Larry Collison (Secretary)
    • Bill Washburn (Treasurer)
    • Charlie Wells (Publications)


  • In December, Dignity's Statement of Position and Purpose is forwarded on national office letterhead to all members as an attachment to the monthly newsletter. The letterhead lists ten chapters of Dignity: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Louisville, Chicago, San Diego, Washington DC, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Seattle.