DeFrank was the stage name of William Price (1936-1986), an
African-American drag entertainer and gay rights activist from
San Jose, California. He is eponym for San Jose's Billy DeFrank
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.
DeFrank Lesbian and Gay Community Center opened its doors on
March 1, 1981 in a two-room storefront on Keyes St. in south
downtown San Jose. A year earlier, the DeFrank Center's founders
had watched with concern as Santa Clara County residents voted
to repeal ordinances extending housing and employment protections
to lesbians and gay men.
The new DeFrank Center emerged from a desire to respond to this
setback. As its first visitors entered they crossed the threshold
to a new era of possibility for the gay and lesbian community
of the South Bay, and they celebrated an important victory.
Since then, the DeFrank Center has continued to inspire purposeful
action and ensure a safe place to gather for all in our community.
two decades have passed since those modest beginnings on Keyes
St. Today the Billy DeFrank Center serves a large and diverse
community. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of
all ages and backgrounds find resources at the Center that are
not available elsewhere.
over a thousand people visit us at our current quarters on The
Alameda, and many more call our Information & Resources
telephone number. From as far north as Foster City and as far
south as Gilroy, people visit and call seeking information,
support and services.
is to provide a broad array of opportunities and programs, a
dedicated and caring staff, a corps of volunteers, and a spirit
of community that celebrates the many facets of our broad-based
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender constituency.
DeFrank Center's history is only a little more than half the
age of the Stonewall events, our movement is fueled by the events
of that time. William Price (Billy DeFrank) knew it and his
legacy remains a call to action for our community to continue
his important work. We continue to fight for our rights, advance
liberty and justice for all and provide opportunities for positive
social identification. The DeFrank Center is "a place to