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Happy Joyous and Free
1970s, when an LGBTQ person needed help to solve a drinking problem,
they had the option of going to one of the twelve step groups offered
in recovery clubs or church spaces. LGBTQ people felt varying levels
of acceptance and comfort in the existing Alcoholics Anonymous Groups
in Houston. They were unable to express themselves and their feelings.
Facing this dilemma, a small group held the first gay group AA meeting
in February of 1975 at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Resurrection
on Waugh drive. There were soon three groups and in September 1977 they
hosted a hospitality suite at an international recovery conference for
young people. It was the most popular suite because it had style and
a fun atmosphere. It helped launch a general awareness of gays in the
alcoholic recovery community at large and attendance at Lambda groups
To meet the growing demand for more space thirty members gave their
pledges of support, each promising to contribute $10 a month. In early
1978 a lease was signed for a small house at 1605 Fairview and Lambda
Center became a reality. It became the first openly gay, registered,
tax-exempt, non-profit organization in Texas on April 14, 1978. It's
stated purpose was to provide a meeting place and safe haven for recovering
gay and lesbian alcoholics, their families and friends, and to support
the newcomer in recovery.
Lambda was a place to heal but also much more, it was a community, a
gathering spot, a family that supported each member. When Anita Bryant
came to Houston, people at the Lambda center heard and rose up to march,
even when most were not publicly "out."
Lambda also offered many opportunities to enjoy life with special events
including shows, dances, bake sales, socials, dinners, movie nights,
parties, and games, with the biggest celebrations being the annual Thanksgiving
Gratitude Meeting and Dinner.
In 1991, Lambda Center opened its doors at 1201 West Clay, in a former
warehouse with 7,000 feet of space. It became home to 44 meetings with
an average of 1000 people coming every week. In 2017 the lambda members
made the final payment on their building and in 2018 they celebrated
their 40th year anniversary.