Many consider Los Angeles to be a welcoming place for the LGBT communities. But on October 20 at An Evening Under the Stars gala benefiting the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, insiders gathered to learn that there is still more work that needs to be done.
"The number of youth that has been coming to us for help has been skyrocketing," LAGLC CEO Lorri L. Jean says of their youth services division. "It's as if the progress that we're making in this society -- especially with the visibility with film and television -- is translating into kids coming out earlier, younger and younger, but into families that are not ready to support them, tolerate them or accept them."
Roland Emmerich (who also opened the backyard of his expansive, Spanish-style mansion for the occasion) and Jane Lynch also spoke of the importance of the Center, with David Furnish told the audience that an AIDS-free generation is attainable because of organizations like this one. E!'s Marc Malkin's fiancÃ© Fabian Quezada and Dustin Lance Black each spoke as Center success stories.
"The L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center saved my life," says Black, who was also one of the event's hosts. "At that point it gave the confidence to go out and tell stories that were meaningful to me. Stories about our people: if it was a reality series, it was the gay episode, if it was a TV movie it was the Pedro Zamora story. Maybe if you had given me better advice, I wouldn't be living on Fairfax, I'd be living right here [in this mansion]."
The evening ended with TV producer-turned-rambunctious auctioneer Mark Gordon goading Ryan Murphy, Michael Lombardo, Russell Simmons and Bryan Singer to bid on a limited-edition Elton John watch, a stay at Emmerich's London estate and other elaborate prizes that would fund the Center, jokingly calling Simmons "Russell Crowe" and demanding that Singer "buy a whole box of watches because he didn't buy a table â¦ you're going to pay, buddy boy."