snowflake snow·flake | \ˈsnō-ˌflāk\
Strong. Courageous. Compassionate. Inspirational. Relentless.
Define for yourself at
Marketing & Communications Staff Ari DeSano Website Manager
Kelly Freter Director
Melantha Hodge Project Manager
Digital Communications Manager
Creative Services Coordinator
Creative Services Coordinator
Creative Services Manager
Contributors Lisa Allen Photographer
Lorri L. Jean
CEO, Los Angeles LGBT Center
David J. Bailey Board Co-Chair
Marki J. Knox, M.D. Board Co-Chair Merryll McElwain
Tyler Cassity Treasurer
Carolyn A. Dye Susan Feniger Annie Goto Secretary Dean Hansell Ian Harvie
Loren S. Ostrow Jayzen Patria Frank Pond Eric M. Shore
HOPE IS OUR FUTURE
No Milestone Left Unturned
THE CENTER'S YEAR IN REVIEW
The Big Dig UPDATE ON THE ANITA MAY ROSENSTEIN CAMPUS
Brad Ong Peter Paige
JOIN OUR CONVERSATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Board of Directors Tess Ayers
From East to West LGBT LEADERS FROM BULGARIA VISIT THE CENTER
Love, A Snowflake Near You JOIN THE BLIZZARD OF HOPE
ONE COUPLE’S LEGACY GIFT TO HONOR A LOVED ONE
Center Voices Photo Finish
WITH DEVELOPMENT'S RANI DEMESME-ANDERS AND VOLUNTEER MATTHEW DUBOIS
Why I Give BY AMBERSCLOSET
Subscriptions Vanguard is published quarterly by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, a nonprofit corporation. 1625 N. Schrader Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028, Voice 323-993-7400 • TDD 323-993-7698. Copyright 2017, Vanguard. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. Publication of the name, quotation or photograph of a person in articles or advertising is not an indication of the sexual orientation or the HIV status of such person. Moving, getting duplicate mailings, or wish to be removed from the Vanguard mailing list? Please email email@example.com.
WE THE PEOPLE
A New Year's Dream Come True?
A CEO Lorri L. Jean @LorriLJean
year ago, we were reeling in the fear and uncertainty of what a Trump presidency and congress controlled by conservatives would mean for our community, nation, and world. To our great dismay, many of our worst fears came true and, of course, more threats are looming. Like any bully, they went after the most vulnerable first. This Administration has left almost no community unscathed with its cruel and unusual brand of governing, including many of the communities who voted them into office. It’s the stuff of daydreams (and movie plots) to think the simple turn of the calendar will signal a dramatic shift in our current political realities. Fortunately, our Center and people across the country have been doing more than dreaming of change. We’ve been thinking and acting, educating and mobilizing people of all parties who understand that divisive and bigoted leadership does not improve our society or strengthen our nation. These efforts paid off in November with the voters’ indisputable repudiation of anti-LGBT and other regressive values. Who doesn’t love the poetic justice of a transgender woman defeating the Virginia state legislator who not only authored the anti-trans bathroom bill but who ran unabashedly as the state’s self-styled “chief homophobe?"
Yet, I worry that those few successes could prompt the same complacency that contributed to the ascension of Trump in the first place. Part of ensuring that doesn’t happen is to continue thinking, acting, educating, and mobilizing. To maintain our momentum, I think it’s vitally important to remember some crucial facts. WE ARE THE PEOPLE.
Trump’s election prompted an uprising by an unprecedented coalition of people who are concerned about the fate of our nation. Just think back to the women’s marches across the country the day after Trump’s inauguration…or any of the subsequent uprisings to protect affordable health care, immigration rights, and the transgender members of our community, just to name a few. Those stepping up are people of every kind and every political party. They care deeply about building America’s well-being and fostering the human potential available to all of us, regardless of factors that should never be used to divide us, like sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and immigration status. In fact, those of us who think this way are part of a large majority. Really. Despite what it may feel like, this Administration and its policies are actually supported by the fewest Americans since political polling began.
In times when we feel dispirited, we need to enjoy, be grateful for, and f ind strength in each other. After all, we are among those still working hard to build a more inclusive, kinder, and better future, regardless of who may temporarily stand in our way. Moreover, as we head into the New Year, let’s fuel our resolutions for change with inspiration borne of a few fundamental truths. WE ARE A HUMANE PEOPLE. Our democracy is adversarial by design. But from 30,000 feet up, the ways that most people differ from each other are at the periphery. The elemental character of a majority of Americans doesn’t change simply because a new Administration is focused on policies that are the antithesis of humanity and caring. It’s in times like these that we must do even more to accentuate the importance of human compassion. We must work to ensure that we not only retain the ground we’ve gained, but we continue to make progress towards building a nation where the American dreams of health and happiness, freedom and prosperity work for everyone. WE ARE A MORAL PEOPLE. We know that discrimination, hatred, and selfishness at the expense of others are wrong. Love, equity, and generosity of spirit are right. We understand that the false politics of fear and division prey upon
the ignorant and desperate. Even worse, they have very real and devastating consequences on the everyday lives of individuals, families, and entire communities. We cannot abide such immorality, especially among our elected leaders. We must set and demand a different, more uplifting example. WE ARE A DETERMINED PEOPLE. Many of us are part of one or more communities that have suffered grave injustices throughout history and continuing to today. Yet, we have persevered and, increasingly, we have prevailed. Our determination has taught us that we can survive the worst, and even thrive in the midst of great oppression, overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. We’ve learned never to give up, no matter the challenges ahead. Most important of all, we’ve learned that change doesn’t happen on its own, at least not at a speed that anyone can see. Change happens because we MAKE it happen. And if there was ever a time for us to come together to ensure that the change our country needs is made, it’s now.
things we do best. We must remember not only that we are on the right side of history, but that we are fierce, resilient, and inspiring. We must use our humanity, morality, and determination not only to resist policies that would harm us and others, but to continue actively building the well-being of our communities and our nation. I’ve said it before and will keep on saying it: for the next three years it is our duty, our obligation, to do much more than simply hunker down and weather the storm. We must BE the storm! Let us respond when our fellow human beings need help. Let us trumpet the strength in diversity. Let us seek to extinguish fear and inspire hope and revel in the power of love. Such are the things that dreams are made of.
WHAT WE DREAM, WE CAN DO. Dreams do come true. But the process of realizing our dreams almost always includes victories and setbacks, tears and triumphs, and a lot of hard work. We must never forget that fighting for justice, and winning, is what our community knows how to do. It’s one of the
SAVE THE DATE! SATURday, MARCH 24, 2018
THE CENTER’S SOCIAL MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS 5
HOLLYWOOD MEETS THE BELTWAY
Frankie Grande fans shared news that the star was touring the Center before he even made it past the lobby.
Comedy legend and Center supporter Lily Tomlin raved about the recent production in our Davidson/ Valentini Theatre.
Social media lit up during the 48th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards.
@FrankieJGrande dropped by the @LALGBTCenter today. This coming June, he’ll be taking part in @AIDSLifeCycle 2018 for the center. #RideLoveLive @FJGFandom 2
THANKING YOUR ROOTS Trans Rights Movement sent words of thanks with a nod to our shared history after the annual Transgender Economic Empowerment Project job and resource fair.
I want to take a moment today to personally thank the @LALGBTCenter for so many things. This org never would have been started had I not volunteered and worked for you starting back in 2009. That’s the truth. @TransRightsMOVE
I was floored by EXIT STRATEGY; the new play @LALGBTCenter. You cant miss this smart, funny and poignant production! @LilyTomlin 4
TAKING PRIDE YouTube influencers Mark Miller and Ethan Hethcote were excited to join us at Models of Pride.
Every year the @lalgbtcenter holds the Models of Pride Conference that supports LGBTQ growth and creativity. This year they asked us to host the entertainment hour which showcases talented young men and women. We wanna see your faces on Oct 29 at USC. AND it’s FREE!
I am at the #Vanguard Awards to say that LGBT Americans are not alone. We must all stand & protect everyone’s civil rights. Thrilled to be honored. @ValerieBJarrett Former Senior Advisor to President Obama
Thx #LALGBTCenter for all u do and inviting me to the important #VanguardAwards tonight. #Equality #LoveisLove @momccormick7 Maureen McCormick
Thank you to the @LALGBTCenter for always aiming to better the LGBTQ community here in L.A. by giving resources to thousands who don’t have anywhere to turn. I’m so honored to be able to work alongside you and attend events such as the #VanguardAwards. so ett n to e from @jimmykimmel was pretty cool too. I love you all! @JordanDoww
JOIN the CONVO
For even more Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram interactions like these, plus all the latest LGBT community news, local highlights, and original content, find us on social media at: @LALGBTCENTER
We’d love to hear from you.
@MarkE_Miller Mark Miller Winter 2017
Anita M ay Rosens Campus tein
MORE THAN 10 YEARS AGO, leaders of the
Los Angeles LGBT Center began discussing a project that was unlike anything ever imagined for the LGBT community: a new complex that would bring together a multitude of youth and senior services and housing in a unified campus setting. With construction now underway, the Anita May Rosenstein Campus is set to open in early 2019. Located at the corner of McCadden Place and Santa Monica Boulevardâ€”the famed Route 66â€”the scope and architectural design of the project will make this an iconic project for LGBT people in Southern California and, indeed, throughout the world.
a b eac on of hope
he Campus will provide an array of wraparound health, educational, and social services; recreational programs for some of the most vulnerable in the LGBT community; as well as desperately needed affordable housing for seniors and youth. “More than a decade ago, we began to dream of serving our community with a project unlike any other: a beautiful multi-generational campus with new and expanded social services, together with affordable housing for seniors and youth,” said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “More than that, we dreamed of uniting it with The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, our arts, cultural, and educational facility. Combined, the two locations will offer more integrated services for LGBT people than any other place in the world.” Together, the Campus and The Village will span nearly three acres and more than a city block. Once the Campus is complete, the growing number of LGBT youth and seniors who come to the Center will have the space necessary to fully participate in an expanded range of programs, to more easily interact and connect with one another, and to get the support and housing that helps change lives. The need has never been greater. The Center’s Senior Services department has
Groundbreaking ceremony, March 2017
seen a 450% increase in clients over the past five years. Los Angeles continues to be the number one destination for homeless youth; an estimated 40% of the 6,000 youth on city streets (most of whom are in Hollywood) are LGBT. At an inspiring groundbreaking ceremony last March, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Councilmember David Ryu, and Anita May Rosenstein, along with several of the project’s major donors, used rainbow shovels to officially launch construction.
“I’m enormously grateful to the many donors, community and elected leaders, and financing partners who are making the dream a reality,” said Jean. A record $43 million has been raised for the project through the Dream With Us Capital Campaign, making it by far the largest LGBT capital campaign in the world. It includes the largest gift by a living person to an LGBT organization: $7.25 million from the Anita May Rosenstein Foundation, Wilbur D. May Foundation, and the Anita and Arnold Rosenstein Family Foundation.
PROJECT SCHEDULE 2016
PUBLIC HEARINGS, DESIGN AND PLANS
HARD HAT TOURS
NEW CAMPUS RIBBON CUTTING
50 for 50!
Approved by Los Angeles City Council
We have set our sights on a bold and ambitious new milestone by the time the ribbon is cut on the new campus in 2019: raising $1 million for every year the Center will have served our community. $50 million for 50 years! The additional $7 million beyond current commitments will make it possible to retire the mortgage on the new campus, enabling all private donations thereafter to be dedicated directly to the Center’s programs and services for those in our community who need us the most.
To learn more about what you can do to help us reach this goal, visit lalgbtcenter.org/campus or call Bill McDermott at 323-993-7679.
First Look: A Sneak Peek Inside the New Campus The hours and hours spent planning the design of the new campus are finally beginning to take shape. Heavy machinery and a very impressive crane have become constant fixtures across the street from The Village. Several months were spent digging and moving tons of earth on McCadden Place so crews could begin installing rebar and pouring concrete for two levels of subterranean parking scheduled to be completed by February 2018. At that point, the steel frame of the new buildings will begin to be visible to the public. The landmark campus will feature a unique flex space in the heart of the campus that is designed to foster connections between LGBT youth and seniors, each of whom will also have expansive new facilities to call their own. A robust Senior Services Center for residents and other senior clients will allow us to dramatically expand our current programs and services, ensuring that they will receive the care and support they deserve in order to lead vibrant, healthy, and full lives. From health and wellness activities to direct support through case management, support groups, and other social services, the new campus will house the most comprehensive community center ever created for LGBT seniors under one roof.
Don't miss a moment on our live construction webcam at techcam.net/lgbt/#home
The expanded Youth Center will include a Youth Academy with programs and services focused on helping young people achieve their educational and employment goals in an environment that is much more like what you would see on a modern college campus: an open, bright, and welcoming hub of learning and community connection. At the Campus, more LGBT youth than ever beforeâ€“and many for the first time in their livesâ€“will have a place to call their own that supports them in becoming their true, future selves.
BULGARIAN RHAPSODY 12
IN THE EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRY JUST SLIGHTLY LARGER THAN TENNESSEE, EQUALITY ACTIVISTS ARE FIGHTING AGAINST T ODDS IT AN IN AIN D ANTI L BT SOCIETY ON ONE SIDE AND A LARGELY A AT TI L BT O UNIT ON T OT . AFT TIN T O OF T OUNT S L ADIN OUN L BT A TI ISTS B TTIN ON T FO T IN.
POPULATION: 7.128 M RANKS AS THE 101ST MOST POPULOUS COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY: PROHIBITED THE COUNTRY’S CONSTITUTION DEFINES MARRIAGE AS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN SINCE 1991.
SOFIA PRIDE: HELD ANNUALLY IN JUNE IN 2017, MORE THAN 3,000 PARTICIPANTS HELPED CELEBRATE ITS 10 TH ANNIVERSARY.
LGBT RIGHTS: LEARN MORE VISIT GLAS: GAYS AND LESBIANS ACCEPTED IN SOCIETY (GLASFOUNDATION.ORG) AND BILITIS FOUNDATION (BILITIS.ORG).
CAPITAL: SOFIA COUNTRY’S LARGEST AND MOST PROGRESSIVE CITY DATES BACK TO 5 TH CENTURY B.C.
DRAGOEVA WAS PROUD TO post photos of herself holding a rainbow flag. It was Pride weekend in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, and she was elated to participate in it for the first time three years ago with her girlfriend. Shortly afterwards, she received a message from one of her Sofia University colleagues about the photos. “Why are you at that Pride parade? Those faggots should die. They don’t deserve anything.” While there may be a common understanding of “pride” for LGBT people across cultures, Sofia’s annual Pride march is always met with a larger anti-LGBT rally. This past June, for Sofia Pride’s tenth anniversary, the ultraconservative anti-Pride group rallied with the slogan, “Let’s clean Sofia of trash.” In Bulgaria, homophobia and transphobia can be as integral to the conservative society as banitsa (think "apple pie" in America). “Tradition is used as a main weapon against the LGBT community, the idea that being LGBT goes against our proud Bulgarian history,” said Dragoeva. “There’s an invisible wall that separates LGBT Bulgarians from the rest of society. We’re considered outcasts.” Many LGBT Bulgarians have decided to stay hidden behind that “invisible wall.” The onset of internet-based or social apps ILIYA
“WE’RE WALKING DOWN THE SAME PATH THE CENTER TOOK NEARLY 50 YEARS AGO. OUR TIME WILL COME WHEN WE HAVE OUR OWN CENTER TO CALL HOME.”
allow many LGBT people to connect privately, without the threat of rejection by society and their families. Many don’t see the value of coming out. Not Dragoeva. An LGBT activist and part of the Sofia Pride organizing committee, she responded to her colleague the best way she knows how: by coming out. “We had a lengthy, tough conversation after I told him I am LGBT,” she recalled. “His preconceived notions about LGBT people made it difficult for him to accept the fact that I am part of the LGBT community—a community which he detested.” For Bulgarian LGBT activist Dimitar Bogdanov, coming out to his family felt like a relief, even though he was met with rejection. “I didn't speak with my father for five years when I came out,” Bogdanov said. “It really gives me motivation to change
the situation so people can and will be much more accepted by their families. This is how it should be for everyone.” Dragoeva and Bogdanov recently spent a month at the Center as part of their GLC_ Teach Democracy fellowship and the Center’s Emerging Leaders Program that helps develop LGBT leadership throughout the world. “The Center is an entity all its own—it’s like being on another planet,” said Bogdanov, who also founded a Bulgarian LGBT online magazine with his partner. “By meeting and studying the Center’s different departments—from Development to Legal Services—we gained new ideas and the confidence to pursue our dreams of building our own center. I see a better future for LGBT Bulgarians.” Both Dragoeva and Bogdanov have turned their passion for change into an organized, albeit young, LGBT movement
With Center friends With Center friends With Center CEO Lorri L. Jean
With Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings
With Center Director of Strategic Initiatives Alan Acosta
With U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin
in Bulgaria. For now, unlike the Center’s now more than 600 employees, working for LGBT equality in Bulgaria means not quitting your day job. Dragoeva is an analyst at a research think tank; Bogdanov works in corporate communications. In their “volunteer” time, Dragoeva, 26, serves as executive director of Bilitis, an organization for Bulgarian lesbians and bi women; Bogdanov, 40, founded GLAS (Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society). In collaboration with a third organization, LGBT Action, the power activists hope to build one combined organization to amplify their collective impact. “The volunteers who make up our organizations come from different professional backgrounds,” said Bogdanov. “Our level of enthusiasm to make a difference is very high. We have a lot of passion, and are working on how to be most productive and impactful.” In addition to meeting with Center staff members and clients, the duo volunteered for some of the Center’s signature events. On the third day of their internship, they found themselves waking up at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday to assist AIDS/LifeCycle with its Kickoff Ride, the first official training ride of the season, at Lake Balboa Park. They also attended Models of Pride—the world’s largest free LGBTQ youth conference—at the University of Southern California. “I have never seen so many LGBTQ youth in one place being themselves,” said Dragoeva. “That’s what we need in Bulgaria: the younger LGBT people empowered and inspired. I believe the younger generation will change the conservative attitudes of my country.” The pair also used their time at the Center to develop ideas that ultimately will help build a better future for LGBT Bulgarians. As part of the fellowship, Dragoeva and Bogdanov also had the opportunity to meet a number of politicians and government leaders, including U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “In the next five years, I hope we will have openly LGBT people in elected positions and a stronger LGBT community that is not afraid to speak up and fight for what is just,” said Bogdanov. “We want marriage equality and domestic partnerships to be legal in my country, but the government wrongly accuses us of demanding ‘special rights.’ We’re not demanding special rights; we’re demanding equal rights!” “Now that we’ve come to the Center, we see our own potential,” added Dragoeva. “We’re still on a journey, but we’re walking down the same path the Center took nearly 50 years ago. Our time will come when we have our own center to call home.”
THANK YOU FOR ANOTHER YEAR OF HELPING TO BUILD A WORLD WHERE LGBT PEOPLE THRIVE AS HEALTHY, EQUAL, AND COMPLETE! SEE MORE AND SHARE YOUR OWN 2017 CENTER MEMORY AT LALGBTCENTER.ORG/ 2017.
The sex-positive campaign launches to raise awareness about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as a safe and effective tool to prevent HIV infection.
360 DEGREES OF HEALTH AND POWER Annual health and wellness fair for LBTQ women features informative workshops and a resource fair focused on self-care and resistance.
More than 2,900 AIDS/LifeCycle participants raise $15.1 million to support San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV/AIDS-related services at the Center.
Center community joins thousands on the streets of Hollywood as part of #ResistMarch for LA Pride.
Community engagement campaign launches to track, inform, and mobilize around policy threats to LGBT people during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration.
Month-long effort helps protect Affordable Care Act and evolves into the Center’s new Resistance Squad, a group of dedicated volunteers, led by Center’s Policy and Community Building team, who work to defend against ongoing policy actions that threaten the LGBT community. The Center’s Senior Services clients also organize into a direct-action group named the Mob (for "mobilization") Squad.
GROUNDBREAKING YEAR Construction begins on transformational Anita May Rosenstein Campus in Hollywood that will span more than a city block along Santa Monica Boulevard.
The 4th annual arts festival showcases the stories of LGBTQ, two-spirit, Latinx, Chicanx, and indigenous identities through film and visual art.
HOLLYWOOD MEETS THE BELTWAY
LOVING YOUR BLACKNESS Inaugural day-long celebration honoring Black History Month includes workshops, performances, a panel discussion, and resource fair.
A record 1,538 LGBTQ youth and their allies attend the 25th Annual Models of Pride conference at the University of Southern California.
The 48th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards honors Ariel Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, with help from host Jimmy Kimmel, Shonda Rhimes, Mark Bradford, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Jermaine Fowler, and raises more than $1 million in support.
HONORING ORLANDO GET OUT! Hundreds join us OUT Under the Stars at the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery, for memorable screenings of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane and Clue.
Center community comes together on the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, honoring the lives lost with a special forum, about the ongoing struggle for equality and freedom, and an ofrenda created by the Center and Latino Equality Alliance’s LGBTQA Youth Council.
WE CAN BE HEROES Special guest Aydian Dowling joins capacity crowd at 19th annual Trans Pride L.A. festival featuring We Can Be Heroes exhibit celebrating pioneers of trans history and created by up-and-coming trans artists from the Center’s youth programs.
RESIST. PERSIST. ROCK. 1,100 guests enjoy the premier food and wine event for LGBT people and their allies while raising vital support for the Center’s programs and services.
Center productions honored at annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards for Best Season; Best Production of Musical, Music Direction, and Lead Actor in a Musical (Ham: A Musical Memoir); and Best Direction of a Play (Hit the Wall).
More than 2,000 participants sparkle at the Center’s inaugural Glitter Run, a 5K fun run/walk through Hollywood.
An Evening with Women is unforgettable with Carole King, Eve Ensler, Tig Notaro, Grace Mitchell, Cameron Esposito, and Rhea Butcher at the Hollywood Palladium.
The Center acquires iconic website domain Gay.com as a donation from its current owners after winning the “Gay.com Charity Challenge.”
JUNE 3-9, 2018 REGISTER TODAY! SAVE $25 CODE: VANGUARD
Show us your
Snowflake! 1. Cut it. Clip out your snowflakes!
2. Pic it.
Take a picture.
3. Post it.
Share your picture with us on Twitter and Instagram @lalgbtcenter #BEtheStorm
Donate to the Center’s food pantries to help end LGBT hunger.
of LGBT seniors don’t have enough food to eat each month.
For more information and to arrange a dropoff appointment, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-860-5830.
“I look at other seniors and I know they are hungry.” - Erica, 77
Senior Services client
Some of our most needed items: • • • • • • • • • •
Canned tuna, chicken Ensure – vanilla and chocolate Canned soups Peanut butter Rice and instant rice Condiments Cereal Dried and canned beans Canned chili Canned fruit
• • • • • • • • • •
Pasta Tomato sauce Honey Coffee Non-dairy creamer Can openers Razors Wash cloths Laundry detergent Dish soap
Learn more and get the complete list of the most needed items at lalgbtcenter.org/pantry
We Resist We Persist
SNAPSHOTS OF THE CENTER’S ONGOING RESISTANCE AND POLICY ACTIONS
DESPERATE TO FULFILL THEIR ‘REPEAL AND REPLACE’ CAMPAIGN PROMISE, THE GOP SEEMS WILLING TO TAKE AWAY HEALTHCARE FROM MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, RESULTING IN COUNTLESS DEATHS, TO HELP PAY FOR A TAX BREAK THAT WILL BE OF GREATEST BENEFIT TO CORPORATIONS AND THE VERY WEALTHY. Center urges opposition to U.S. Senate’s Graham-Cassidy Bill attacking the Affordable Care Act. Read more at lalgbtcenter.org/GC
WHILE CALIFORNIA LAW WILL CONTINUE TO PROTECT THE TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY THROUGHOUT OUR STATE, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP AND ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS CARE MORE ABOUT THE CRAVEN APPEASEMENT OF THEIR BASE THAN THE LAWFUL PROTECTION OF AMERICAN CITIZENS FROM DISCRIMINATION. Center blasts Trump Administration’s reversal of policy that protects transgender people against discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Read more at lalgbtcenter.org/T7
LAW OF THE LAND Several pieces of legislation supported by the Center and directly advocated for by the Center’s Policy and Community Building team were signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown this year. HIV Decriminalization: California took a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals with SB 239, which eliminated discriminatory and archaic criminal laws written during the 1980s. Immigrant Protections: SB 54 became a landmark ‘sanctuary state’ law by limiting who California’s state and local law enforcement agencies can hold, question, and transfer at the request of federal immigration authorities. “CALIFORNIA IS ONCE AGAIN IN A POSITION TO LEAD THE COUNTRY AND TO SERVE AS A BEACON OF PROGRESSIVISM AND HUMAN DECENCY IN THE FACE OF FEDERAL ACTIONS MEANT ONLY TO INJURE AND DIVIDE THE RESIDENTS OF OUR STATE.” – Dave Garcia, the Center’s Director of Policy and Community Building Quality Health Care: California now allows Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), like the Center, to be providers in the Drug Medi-Cal program with SB 323. This change ensures that the Center’s health and mental health care teams will be able to meet the growing demand for substance use and addiction recovery services. Protecting LGBT Seniors: Under SB 219’s new law, California now guarantees protections for LGBT seniors living in long-term care facilities so they don’t face discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status. The Center’s Senior Mobilization Squad helped support the bill through a letter-writing campaign to Gov. Brown. Winter 2017
The Centerâ€™s tremendous volunteers help provide programs and services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world. Thank you! Join our community of more than 1,800 active monthly volunteers at lalgbtcenter.org/volunteer. 22
Take 5 MATTHEW DUBOIS Minutes Volunteer ››
HOMETOWN Silver Spring, MD
GET TO KNOW CENTER STAFF MEMBERS & VOLUNTEERS
YEAR STARTED AT THE CENTER 2015
VOLUNTEER POSITION Dance Instructor, Senior Services
I’M MEETING AND CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE.
I’m 64, and being a gay man my age can be a little like being a dinosaur. I went through the AIDS crisis and lost an awful lot of people. As a volunteer at the Center, I’m now meeting and connecting with LGBT people across the spectrum. I started volunteering at the Center after I retired from a law firm two years ago. I was helping out in the cyber center for about six months when I found out that people attending Senior Services programs were interested in dance classes. I’ve been country line dancing since 1980 and just like that (almost) ‘Country Line Dancing with Matthew’ was born. Teaching at the Center has been incredibly rewarding and allowed me to develop parts of myself I didn’t know I had. It’s connected me to my community, my peers. I get new people all the time who have never danced before and I tell them, “It doesn’t matter, you’re not competing with other people. You are just dancing with yourself.”
RANI MATTHEW DUBOIS HOMETOWN Pasadena, CA YEAR STARTED AT THE CENTER 2016 STAFF POSITION Membership Manager, Development
I CONNECT OUR MEMBERS WITH THE CENTER’S MISSION. I have the privilege of working with the Center’s largest and most diverse group of supporters. While our members may give relatively smaller amounts, their generosity meaningfully reflects our community spirit. Many members often “apologize” for not being able to do more. I’m most moved by all of us doing what we can, and am grateful for the chance to relay with confidence that their support is literally changing and saving lives. Working with membership has filled me with so many rich and memorable experiences. Last year, just a couple of weeks after the heartbreak of the presidential election, I helped coordinate a Thanksgiving potluck with Senior Services and the Los Angeles Women’s Network. It was a much-needed opportunity to re-center my values with my queer elders and peers who were all seeking solace. It was literally and mentally nourishing beyond belief. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER, VISIT LALGBTCENTER.ORG/DONATE.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center is extremely grateful for the support of the following new Sustaining Donors and Circle of Life members.
William C. Bergens Tamara Billik James Clarkson Paul Drooks Hany Haddad Anil Mohin & John Scholz Erwin Saenz & Ryan Kelleher MaryJane Varley & Jo Sherman
PLATINUM CIRCLE $12,000-$17,999 Arturo Carillo & David Mizener*
GOLD CIRCLE $6,000-$11,999 George Gati* Kevin McCormick Gordon S. Morris* Anthony Rich & Joey Rich
STERLING CIRCLE $3,600-$5,999 Jeff Bennett Susan L. Feniger &. Liz Lachman* Danielle McPherson* George J. Sealey*
SILVER CIRCLE $2,400-$3,599
For information about Planned Giving or becoming a Sustaining Donor, please contact:
Jim Andre and Paul Kellogg David Beckerman and David Wexler Neil Beecher Gary Carnow and Barry Soroka Edward Casson and Stephen May Matthew DuBois Kevin Holiday and John Dilazzaro Jerry Gaudlitz and Tony Moore Adele Hoppe-House and Jennifer Hoppe-House James Keagy Brad Lamm and Scott Sanders Fred Martin Bill McDermott James Rayton David Rose Donald Ruhl and Neil Weikel Frank Stasio
CIRCLE OF LIFE IN MEMORIAM John S. Harrington Vern Richards
Craig Grantham & Tony Colantino* Cary A. Lowe & Allan Ames* Bob Riddle Howard Tabackman
Director of Major Gifts email@example.com 323-993-8932
REALIZE THE POWER OF A GIFT.
Erwin Sรกenz Major Gifts Associate firstname.lastname@example.org 323-993-8939
Frank Stasio Senior Director of Planned Giving email@example.com 323-993-7690
Andre D. Caraco & David A. Azulay* Michael D. Gapinski & Kevin Hamilton* Darren R. Higman* Nahnatchka Khan & Julia Bicknell* Seth MacFarlane Michael Mooney & Mitchell Hollander*^ Thomas V. Reichert* Kevin G. Schoeler & Philip van der Voet*
CIRCLE OF LIFE
DONOR LIST AS OF NOVEMBER 1, 2017 *Indicates an increase in membership level. ^Indicates a multiyear pledge.
Making the Center part of your legacy in your will is the most important contribution you can make to the organization. Ways to give include wills and living trusts; beneficiary designations; charitable gift annuities, remainder trusts, and lead trusts; memorials and tribute gifts; and real estate. By including the Center in your estate plan or making another type of planned gift, you help ensure a strong and vibrant future for the Center as we build a world where LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society.
LEARN MORE AT LALGBTCENTER.ORG/LEGACY.
A Great Model to Follow COUPLE FOLLOWS THEIR HEART INTO THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
IBRADA H ERNÁNDEZ and M ARY POWER have a deeply personal connection to the Center community. Mary’s late brother, Fintan Power, was a volunteer at the Center before his AIDS-related death in 1994. “After he passed away, we became more aware of his involvement in the Center,” said Power, 66. “Fintan was a special human being who had a very • Mary Power and Librada Hernández. generous spirit. Among other things, he and Power have also made the decision to worked delivering meals to people with include the Center in their estate plans by HIV even as he was ill himself.” In a tribute to Fintan, the couple be- becoming Circle of Life members. “We have long supported the Center’s came involved in AIDS/LifeCycle, the annual 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco work on behalf of the LGBT community to Los Angeles that raises funds for HIV/ so it was clear to us that AIDS-related services provided by the Cen- their programs should be included in our plans,” ter and San Francisco AIDS Foundation. said Hernández, 62. Power volunteered as part of the By including the Cenmedical team during the 2012 ride, and Hernández did extensive training and par- ter in their estate plans, Hernández and Power are ticipated as a rider that same year. helping to ensure that the “Fintan is always in our hearts and a organization will be here in great model to follow,” Power said. Together for more than 38 years, the future to help members they met when Power was manager of of the LGBT community. “We feel it is importa two-screen Laemmle Theatre in West ant to give back because we are where we Los Angeles and hired Hernández as an are due to the help of others,” she added. assistant manager. Both women are also immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as “We are thankful to our family, friends, and community who give of themselves young girls. The Power family arrived as volunteers and as donors.” from Ireland in 1961, and Hernández’s As a former registered nurse and epidemifamily arrived from Cuba in 1970. Set to celebrate their fourth wedding ologist, Power is especially supportive of the anniversary in January 2018, Hernández Center’s health and mental health services.
The Center is one of the few Federally Qualified Health Centers with providers who specialize in primary care for LGBT people and people living with HIV. As a former Spanish professor, Hernández said it is a priority as well for her to show support for all of the Center’s education and seniors programs. The Center already operates the nation’s largest housing development specifically for LGBT seniors. It will add 100 more affordable housing units and a new senior center when its Anita May Rosenstein Campus is completed in early 2019. “We recognize that the senior LGBT population is growing and is especially vulnerable so we feel the need to support Senior Services as the Center expands in that area moving forward,” Hernández said.
We feel it is important to give back because we are where we are due to the help of others.
Free Saturday Morning Meditation 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Join a supportive and non-denominational meditation practice. Learn to raise your gaze beyond finite understanding and explore the vastness of our infinite being.
Admission: Free (Donations accepted.)
Location: The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
Information, days, times, class updates, and schedule changes at
A Weekly Feel-Good Yoga Flow In this FREE, weekly, drop-in class, you can expect to move, breathe, sweat, smile, and spend time with like-minded individuals in a safe, non-judgmental space.
Class meets every Wednesday, 7 – 8 p.m. Free. No RSVP required, but you must be a Trans* Lounge member to participate.
To register for Trans* Lounge, visit:
BREATH, BODY & SOUL
11/15/17 4:44 PM
¡Hablemos! Participe en la conversación en Mi Centro en Boyle Heights. Si usted es un adulto LGBTQ con 18 años o más y habla español, encuentre una comunidad de apoyo como parte del grupo Let’s Talk! (¡Hablemos!).
Cada dos martes a partir del 14 de noviembre • 7 p.m. Mi Centro • 553 S. Clarence St. • Los Angeles, CA 90033 Para más información, escriba a firstname.lastname@example.org o llame al 323-860-7332.
MiCentro_Hablemos_VGP_ad_v1.indd 1 26
11/15/17 4:47 PM
Senior Groups (Cont.)
For more information about Senior Services classes, please call 323-860-7322 or visit facebook.com/50pluslgbt. To RSVP, email seniors@ lalgbtcenter.org or call 323-860-5830.
V Silver Sensuality for Women Every 1st Mon., 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Canceled Jan. 1 V Thursday Hikes Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.
Art Lab Fridays, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Valley Social and Networking Group Thursdays, Noon–1:30 p.m. Metropolitan Community Church 5730 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood Call 323-860-5830
V Bereavement Support Group Tuesdays, 1–3 p.m.
V Veteran’s Support Group Every last Tues., 1–3 p.m.
Alzheimer’s LGBT Caregiver Support Every 2nd & 4th Thurs., 10:30 a.m.–Noon V
V Bingo 1–2:30 p.m. Call 323-860-5830 for dates
Chair Yoga with Master Lakshmi Wednesdays, 11 a.m.–Noon V
V AA Happy Hour Tuesdays–Fridays, 6:15–7:15 p.m.
Al-Anon Gay Focus Thursdays, 7:30–8:30 p.m. V
Mi Coffee Club Every 2nd and 4th Thurs., 1–2 p.m.
Alcoholics Anonymous: It’s Come to This Mondays, 6:15–7:15 p.m. Canceled Dec. 25, Jan. 1, Jan. 15, Feb. 19 and March 26 V
V Financial Chat 3–5 p.m. Call 323-860-5830 for dates
V Crystal Meth Anonymous Saturdays, 9:15–10:15 a.m.
HIV+ 50+ Men’s Drop-In Support Group Thursdays, 1–3 p.m. V
V Housing Supportive Network Every 2nd Thurs., 11 a.m.–Noon
V Gay & Lesbian CODA Tuesdays, 8–9 p.m. V Marijuana Anonymous Wednesdays, 7:30–8:30 p.m.
Life Connections 21+ meets 50+ Call 323-860-5830 for dates and times.
NA: Heartbeat of Recovery Mondays, 7:30–8:30 p.m. Canceled Dec. 25, Jan. 1, Jan. 15, Feb. 19, and March 26
Men’s Drop-In Support Group Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–Noon
OA Thursdays, 7:30–8:30 p.m.
Movie Club Every 4th Thurs. 2 p.m. Mi
The Village 1125 N. McCadden Place
V Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous Thursdays, 6:15–7:15 p.m.
Sexual Compulsives Anonymous Mondays, 8:45–9:45 p.m. Wednesdays, 7:30–8:30 p.m. Saturdays, 10:30–11:30 a.m. Canceled Dec. 25, Jan. 1, Jan. 15, Feb. 19, and March 26 V
V Movies for Everyone Call 323-860-5830 for dates and times
McDonald/Wright 1625 N. Schrader Blvd.
Highland Annex 1220 N. Highland Ave.
12-Step Groups (Cont.) V UA: Artist in Prosperity Tuesdays, 6:15–7:15 p.m. V Women’s AA Wednesdays, 8:45–9:45 p.m.
Coming Out Coming Out Workshops for Women Coming Out Workshops for Men Safe, nurturing workshops for anyone who is facing their own coming out process. Call 877-OUT-4-LIFE for recorded information and instructions for enrollment. More information at comingoutla.org.
Community Groups V Bears L.A. Every 3rd Mon., 7–10 p.m. Canceled Jan. 15 and Feb. 19
Gay Men’s Prostate Cancer Support Group Every 1st & 3rd Tues., 7–9 p.m. Sponsored by Cancer Support Community Benjamin Center. Call 310-314-2555 or visit CancerSupportCommunity BenjaminCenter.org
Social Networking Groups H Bi-osphere* Explore and discuss the many shades of today’s diverse bisexual community Every 2nd & 4th Mon., 8–9:30 p.m. Canceled Dec. 25 and March 26 H HERstories* A gathering place for all LGBT women who want strong community and great conversation Mondays, 8–9:30 p.m. Canceled Dec. 25, Jan. 1, Jan. 15, Feb. 19, and March 26 H Men’s Speakeasy* Great conversation for gay, bisexual, and trans men Tuesdays, 8–9:30 p.m. Canceled Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 H Transgender Perceptions* Conversation and communitybuilding for transgender and gender non-conforming people Fridays, 8–9:30 p.m. Canceled Dec. 22 and Dec. 29
LGBT Adult Special Needs Support Group Every 2nd Wed., 6–7:30 p.m. V
Positive Images HIV+ Men’s Forum Mondays, 1–3 p.m. Wednesdays, 7–9 p.m. Thursdays, 6–8 p.m. Canceled Dec. 25, Jan. 1, Jan. 15, Feb. 19, and March 26 Call 323-860-7384 to RSVP L
Peer-Led Groups V Village Readers An LGBT reading and discussion group Every 1st Wed., 7:30–9 p.m.
Jan. 3: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry Feb. 7: Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Barnett V
30+ Lesbian Chat
Meet women outside of the bars Every 1st & 3rd Fri., 7:30–9 p.m. * Groups may not welcome late arrivals.
V Queers & Questions Every 2nd Mon., 7–8 p.m.
Offices on Las Palmas 1111 N. Las Palmas Ave.
Mi Centro 553 S. Clarence St.
Empty = Offsite
News and notes from the Center’s life-changing and life-saving programs and services SUPER MODELS A record-breaking 1,538 LGBTQ youth and their allies attended the 25th Annual Models of Pride conference at the University of Southern California. Organized by the Center’s LifeWorks youth development and mentoring program, the free conference provided a full day of life-enriching workshops and presentations, panel discussions, a resource fair, entertainment, and more to help youth build confidence and self-esteem while developing valuable life skills. This year’s theme was “Together We Rise.” 25th Anniversary
GETTING THE JOB? DONE! As part of the Center’s Transgender Economic Empowerment Project (TEEP), the Transgender Job and Resources Fair attracted hundreds of jobseekers from the trans and gender non-conforming community. The annual fete, held with community partner The City of West Hollywood, connected qualified applicants with companies and organizations that are striving for a diverse workplace. More than 50 businesses participated, including Blue Shield of California, Hulu, Los Angeles Police Department, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, nearly one-third of trans people are living in poverty and the trans community experiences an unemployment rate three times higher than the national average.
For more information, visit lalgbtcenter.org/ TEEP 28
In addition to the youth portion of the conference, more than 400 parents, educators, social service providers, and other youth-serving professionals attended the full-day Parent & Professional Institute to meet other LGBTQ-supportive professionals, gain exposure to new ideas and information, and attend workshops focusing on how to support LGBTQ youth. For more information, visit modelsofpride.org.
RIDE! LOVE! LIVE!
Nearly 300 cyclists trekked through the San Fernando Valley’s Lake Balboa Park to participate in AIDS/LifeCycle’s first official training ride of the season with two fully-supported ride options: a 14-mile or a 43.7-mile route.
The Center’s Audre Lorde Health Program for lesbian and bi women is working to end the marginalization of women, one Saturday at a time.
The Center’s STOP Violence Program will soon add housing assistance to the services it provides for LGBT survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence, thanks to $1.5 million in funding from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the U.S. Department of Justice.
And mark your calendars for April 21, 2018, when AIDS/ LifeCycle will host a “Day on the Ride” to give all registered riders the chance to experience a fully-supported sampling of a typical day on AIDS/LifeCycle!
Not registered yet? Visit aidslifecycle.org and use code VANGUARD to receive $25 off the registration fee. AIDS/ LifeCycle 2018, the seven-day, 545-mile bike journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles, is scheduled for June 3-9.
For more information, visit aidslifecycle.org
As part of extended Saturday hours, women can access primary health care along with individual therapy, crisis counseling, 12-step substance abuse support, a sexual abuse survivor group, and even a yoga and meditation class. “We really are trying to raise awareness that we have this special, safe place for women,” said the Center’s Angie Magaña, NP. “We’re very non-judgmental and sex and body positive. We meet people where they are and work with them to get to their health goals.”
Learn more at lalgbtcenter.org/alhp and bit.ly/LGBTalhp
As many as one in two LGBT people will experience domestic or intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Many times, those who seek help have a hard time finding services designed for the LGBT community. For example, many shelters are typically not welcoming of gay/bi men or transgender individuals; lesbians and bisexual women may actually be sheltered with their abusers.
Learn more at lalgbtcenter.org/STOP
Analysis and insight from the Center’s staff on current issues and events facing our community On World Homeless Day, State Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio hosted an informational hearing on the high level of youth homelessness in California and what the state should be doing to get young people off the streets, as reported by GoWeho:
SIMON COSTELLO Director Children, Youth & Family Services
Excerpt: “This is a crisis. This is totally unacceptable.
Each week, between 15 and 20 new young people experiencing homelessness walk through our doors—at just one agency. We need to take an approach that encompasses their health, their mental health, education, and life-skills needs. We need to meet each young person where they are, engage them in a conversation of what they want in their lives, and provide them with the resources.”
In a segment of her talk show airing on Netflix, comedian Chelsea Handler attends an LGBT sensitivity training to learn how she can talk to her LGBT staff members without offending them:
LGBT individuals are more likely to experience sexual assault or rape than cisgender people and heterosexuals. Alarmingly, long-prevailing myths are silencing survivors and their willingness to reach out for help, as reported by Vice:
Hundreds of job seekers and nearly 60 employers converged at the 9th annual Transgender Job and Resource Fair, organized by the Center’s Transgender Economic Empowerment Project with community partner The City of West Hollywood. To attract the best qualified applicants nowadays, employers must be more inclusive than ever before, as reported in the Los Angeles Blade:
ARIEL BUSTAMANTE Training & Coaching Instructor Children, Youth & Family Services
Excerpt: “In the workplace you want to be careful and make sure that all employees are supportive. Or they would feel really vulnerable—not feel safe in the workplace. Those are things we want to avoid. There are also laws that limit us. Like, asking an employee or an applicant what is their sexual orientation or what are their dating habits. All I ask is that
you come to this with a good attitude and really work on supporting an [LGBT] person in the future.”
MIKE RIZZO Crystal Meth Recovery Services Manager Health and Mental Health Services
"Many gay men are afraid to label something that's happened to them as rape. We've had clients Excerpt:
who've been traumatized because they've gone over to a party and someone slips GHB in their drink, and they don't remember what happens over the following few hours. They think, somehow, that they're responsible for whatever happens. They say, 'If I hadn't been there, if I hadn't been using drugs…’”
DRIAN JUAREZ Transgender Economic Empowerment Project Program Manager Legal Services
Excerpt: “The future is fluid—get used to it. If you want to capture the best and brightest, you better have a gender neutral restroom, you better know what gender neutral language is like, and you better have policies that allow people to transition on their job—that’s what people coming out of college are looking for.”
Learn more at
Watch the episode at
Read more at
Read more at
bit.ly/futureisfluid Winter 2017
48th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards (1) Hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, this year’s fete honored (2, left) former Senior Advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett, who received the Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award from (2, right) writer and producer Shonda Rhimes. (3, right) Co-CEO of WME | IMG Ariel Emanuel received the Vanguard Award, presented by (3, left) artist Mark Bradford. Notable guests included (4) filmmaker J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath; (5) musician Milan Christopher; and (6, l-r) Barely Famous’ Erin and Sara Foster. (7) Superior Donuts’ Jermaine Fowler and (8-9) fellow Center supporters collectively raised more than $1 million benefiting the Center’s programs and services.
Drag Me To AIDS/LifeCycle (10) With Emmy Award-winning makeup artist and drag queen Glen Alen as guest judge and a performance by pop and dance recording artist (11) Bebe Sweetbriar, the second annual drag competition showcased epic lip-sync battles at Mickey’s in West Hollywood between AIDS/LifeCycle teams, among them the (12) Wheely Nice Guys and (13) Hot Wheels, who competed for cash prizes to be spent on team gear.
Join thousands of cyclists and volunteer roadies on AIDS/LifeCycle 2018, scheduled for June 3-9! Visit aidslifecycle.org and use code VANGUARD for $25 off the registration fee.
Casino Night (14-16) Guests pressed their luck to raise money for the Center’s services for women and girls at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, hosted by the Center’s Los Angeles Women’s Network (LAWN) with LAWN Chairs Debbie Canada (16, second from left) and Lynne Witmer (16, second from right). The annual fundraiser included (17) a comedic performance by Lianna Carrera. To learn more, visit lalgbtcenter.org/lawn.
Models of Pride (18) Ryan Cassata and (19) The Lab dance troupe thrilled audiences at the worldâ€™s largest free LGBTQ youth conference. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the full-day conference at the University of Southern California featured (20) more than 100 enriching workshops, a resource fair, and more entertainment, including a performance by (21) Def Jam Recordings artist Troi Irons. (22-24) A record-breaking 1,538 youth attended the conference, organized by the Centerâ€™s LifeWorks youth development and mentoring program.
Become a LifeWorks mentor! Visit lalgbtcenter.org/lifeworks for more information.
Distinguished Visitors at the Center (25, second from left) Dulce Maria Flores Colorado from the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles and (middle) the Consul General Dr. Carlos García de Alba on tour with (far left) Center Director of Policy & Community Building Dave Garcia and (far right) Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. (26, left) Iceland’s Detective Inspector Ava Snæberg Hrafnkelsdóttir toured the Center’s Legal Services with Center Anti-Violence Program Manager/Client Advocate Mariana Marroquin.
DÍa de Los Muertos (27-28) The Center and Latino Equality Alliance (LEA) hosted the second annual Calavera community celebration at Mi Centro in Boyle Heights honoring lives lost to homophobia and transphobia.
The Center’s commitment to the arts began with the creation of The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, which opened in 1998 with a storied celebration and hosted by Center CEO Lorri L. Jean (at the podium). The Village was one of the first centers of its kind in the nation for LGBT people to benefit from diverse cultural, educational, and social programs created specifically for them. Today, The Village is home to performances and exhibitions that showcase and celebrate the lives and experiences of the diverse LGBT community as well as affordable meeting space for groups, clubs, and organizations to host their own activities.
WHY I GIVE
Why I Give AmbersCloset
with the Center was at the booth at the L.A. Pride festival. Pride is so much about fun and celebration, not necessarily the f irst place you’d go to learn about health care. I had no idea about ALL the services the Center offers. I was blown away by the number of people that its health services take care of for free or low cost and that the number of client visits to the Center each month is more than 42,000! By the time I finished touring the Center’s Transitional Living Program, where youth can stay for up to 18 months to get back on their feet, I broke down in tears. Where would these young people end up if the Center didn’t exist? I knew the answer far too well. When I f irst began posting on YouTube f ive years ago, I would receive emails and comments from viewers around the world who said that I helped them in some positive way—some even bravely telling me that I saved them from wanting to commit suicide. I quickly realized how vital it was for people around the world to see someone who may be going or has gone through the same experiences as them, such as growing up biracial or learning how to come out.
Y FIRST EXPERIENCE
At the end of my videos, I tell my followers that they are amazing and that I love them because I want those who live in a small town or who feel isolated to
I quickly realized how vital it was for people around the world to see someone who may be going or has gone through the same experiences as them, such as growing up bi racial or learning how to come out. know there’s so much more to life. Many don’t have supportive families or a circle of friends in whom they can confide. Some live in communities that don’t provide the invaluable resources that the Center does.
Whether it’s hosting an event for the Center’s Los Angeles Women’s Network or f lexing my muscle to pose for The Glitter Run’s social media campaign, I use my platform to help promote the Center as much as possible because it saves lives, while providing a voice to many who do not have one. Right now it’s all about creating change. We need to band together and support each other. As we usher in a new year, one thing that has given me great hope is the number of people and groups who have joined forces to make a lot of noise and to stand up for what is right. More than ever, we are more aware. We’re f inally paying attention to the laws and policies that are affecting us and to politicians who may—or may not—be on our side. As a community, we are all growing and transforming, just like the Center; and to watch it happening is such a beautiful thing. Let’s continue to follow in the Center’s footsteps.
With more than 636,000 followers on YouTube and 188,000 followers on Instagram, Amber Whittington of AmbersCloset is a social media influencer, entrepreneur, and LGBT activist. Check out her latest media venture, The LGBT Sentinel, at thelgbtsentinel.com.
McDonald/Wright Building 1625 N. Schrader Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028
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Vanguard Magazine Winter 2017