41st Anniversary Gala & Auction Raises $700,000+ for Center Services

{Content re-posted with permission from the LA Gay & Lesbian Center}

LOS ANGELES, November 14, 2012–For the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, the night of November 10 was pure gold. At its 41st Anniversary Gala & Auction, presented by Wells Fargo, the Center honored Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe. The gala, which featured a live performance by Grammy-winning R&B and rap singer-songwriter Estelle (Shine), raised more than $700,000 to support the Center’s services for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community—making it one of the Center’s most successful galas to date. And the crowd of more than 1,000 had a lot to celebrate; the Nov. 6 election was a historic one for the LGBT community.

Soccer star Rapinoe was one of only 23 openly LGBT athletes at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where the Olympic Village included more than 10,000 athletes. She was honored with the Center’s Board of Directors Award, presented by board co-chair Dr. Marki Knox.

“Before the games, I made the choice to come out and say that I was gay. I think it was the best decision I ever made,” Rapinoe said in her acceptance speech. “To be able to go into such an important event like that, being a wide open book and just saying this is who I am and I’m damn proud of it, and hopefully you are, too … I just felt very free heading into London. And I think I play my best and am my best me when I’m doing that. I’ve never enjoyed my football the way that I have when I was over there, and maybe that’s why I won the gold medal.”

While homophobia remains pervasive in the sports world, courageous people like Rapinoe are changing the world of sports. And things are changing off the playing field, too. For years, the LGBT community and its allies have lost battle after battle at the ballot box. The Nov. 6 election, however, made history. For the first time, voters elected a president who supports the freedom to marry for the nation’s same-sex couples.

“I am one happy lesbian,” Center CEO Lorri L. Jean told the crowd of more than 1,000 at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles. “I’ve seen a lot of progress since I first assumed the helm at the Center almost 20 years ago. But I have never seen an election night like Tuesday’s. This wasn’t incremental progress. This was an equality landslide!”

Many stars of the screen and playing field—as well as political figures—turned out to support the Center, including: U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team players Lori Lindsay and Amy LePeilbet; David Kopay, the first former NFL player to come out; Amy Alcott, a member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association Hall of Fame; Andrew Goldstein, Major League Lacrosse; John A. Pérez, Speaker of the California State Assembly; California Assembly members Betsy Butler and Mike Feuer; Congressman Adam Schiff; West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang; West Hollywood City Council member John Duran; L.A. City Council members Paul Koretz and Eric Garcetti; Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel; Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education President Mónica García; Lindsey Shaw (Pretty Little Liars); Wilson Cruz (Noah’s Arc); Traci Dinwiddie (Elena Undone); Kat Kramer (Little Fockers); and celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Top Chef Masters). Feniger serves on the Center’s board of directors alongside gala chair Tad Brown.

To watch video clips from the gala, visit the Center’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/LAGayCenter. To see photos from the event, visit the Center’s Facebook album at Facebook.com/LAGayCenter.


About the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
For more than 40 years, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has been building the health, advocating for the rights and enriching the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Our wide array of services and programs includes: free HIV/AIDS care and medications for those most in need; housing, food, clothing and support for homeless LGBT youth; low-cost counseling and addiction-recovery services; essential services for LGBT-parented families and seniors; legal services; health education and HIV prevention programs; transgender services; cultural arts and much more. Visit us on the web at: www.lagaycenter.org.

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