skip to main content

Lesbian Activist and Trailblazer Nancy Valverde Honored in Downtown Los Angeles

The Los Angeles City Council recently commemorated a piece of LGBTQ+ history by designating the intersection of 2nd St. and Main St. in downtown Los Angeles as “Cooper Do-nuts/Nancy Valverde Square.”

Nancy Valverde, a longtime resident of the Center’s Triangle Square affordable housing complex for LGBTQ+ elders, has been a fixture in L.A.’s queer community since the 1950s, when she was routinely harassed by police and arrested dozens of times for wearing men’s clothing in public. “They wanted me to be someone else,” Nancy said in the PBS documentary L.A.: A Queer History, recalling her decision not to change her appearance to fit in. “I could not be someone else. This is me.”

More than 60 years later, Nancy has been recognized by the city alongside Cooper Do-nuts, a safe haven for LGBTQ+ people in the 1950s and the site of what is believed to be one of the earliest LGBTQ+ uprisings in the country.

Congratulations to Nancy, whose life and legacy is a testament to the resilience of our movement—and a reminder that our heroes of today are very often the rebels of yesterday. We are grateful for the contributions of all our queer and trans elders for their indelible contributions to the LGBTQ+ imagination.

old woman wearing sunglasses
Watch • 2:29

Center Your Legacy: Meet Nancy

Chicana activist Nancy Valverde paved the way to end LA’s ban on gender-nonconfirming dressing laws—and now resides at the Center’s Triangle Square apartments, the nation’s largest affordable housing facility for LGBTQ+ seniors.
Action Name