The organization that was to become the Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated (HELP, Inc.), began with a proposal developed in early 1968. The first known meeting of the American Federation for the Advancement and Defense of Homophile Society (AFADHS) organizers was in September 1968 at The Patch, a bar in Wilmington, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. The organizers proposed the establishment of an alliance of bar owners, personnel, and patrons to defend against harassment and provide legal assistance in the form of bail bonds and attorney referrals. In a period of several weeks the AFADHS became the less ambiguous Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated. HELP provided bail bond service and lawyer referrals to its members and those vouched for by existing members. The primary focus of the organization was to provide support when its members were arrested for "homosexual activities." The aggressive prosecution of victimless crimes by the Los Angeles Police Department and the change in political climate led to the organization's rapid growth. HELP also supported the California State Committee on Sexual Law Reform to change the laws regarding sex between consenting adults.
However, the organization was plagued by periodic episodes of infighting and was also not able to maintain the on-going support of the bar owners. By the late 1970s, changes in society's attitude toward gays, recognition of gay political power, reforms of California sex laws, and changes in police priorities practically eliminated the need for many of the services HELP provided.
Colburn, Cal. "Hotline." Magpie, September 27, 1968, 3.
Richards, Yale. "From under My Soap Box." Magpie, January 1969, 4-10.
Vincent, Cliff. "What Else Is Happening in L.A.?" Magpie, December 20 1968, 20-24.