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UPDATED: L.A. City Hall goes lavender for LGBTQ Heritage Month

(Editor's note: This story was updated with a photo of L.A. City Hall glowing in lavender light on the evening of June 7, 2012, in celebration of a Pride event.)

LOS ANGELES -- City Hall will be glowing in lavender light tonight in celebration of LGBTQ Heritage Month.

The Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives will observe LGBTQ Heritage Month with the opening of “Defiant Spaces,” an expansive timeline exhibition about the history of LGBTQ organizations in the L.A. area.

A VIP reception is planned at City Hall from 6:30 to 8 pm tonight, June 7. To download an invitation to the event, click HERE. The invitation also serves as a parking pass. Attendees should park in the "Visitors Section" of P2.

The exhibition

"Defiant Spaces" is presented in conjunction with the City of Los Angeles’ LGBT Heritage Month.

Presented as a 60-year chronology, the exhibition includes information on more than 40 organizations, both well-known and obscure, founded in Los Angeles. Beginning with the foundational organizing of homophile groups such at the Mattachine and ONE Inc. in the 1950s and 60s, the exhibition chronicles organizations that arose from the Gay Liberation and Women’s movements in the 1970s, and the collective response to AIDS in the 1980s and 90s.

The organizations profiled in this exhibition carved out spaces for queer individuals to come together around shared conditions of oppression. Whether their mission was to combat the isolation of the closet, advocate for the recognition of queer individuals in the public sphere, fight homophobia and/or transphobia in social institutions, create safe spaces for religious observation, or provide much needed services, these organizations reshaped the cultural landscape of Los Angeles and contributed to the city’s vibrant queer community. While some of the organizations are well known today, such as the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center or AIDS Project Los Angeles, Defiant Spaces highlights the grassroots beginning of these major institutions.

Organizations featured in the exhibition include the Mattachine Society (founded in 1951), ONE Inc. (1952), the Daughters of Bilitis (L.A. chapter, 1958), Personal Rights in Defense and Education (1966), the Metropolitan Community Church (1968), Christopher Street West (1970), the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center (1971), The Woman’s Building (1973), the Los Angeles Stonewall Democrats Club (1975), the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Chapter Los Angeles (1976), the Gay Men’s Chorus (1979), Asian/Pacific Gays and Friends (1980), AIDS Project Los Angeles (1982), Project 10 (1984), ACT UP/LA (1987), Bienestar (1989), and the Los Angeles Gender Center (1992), among others.

Many of the materials in this exhibition have been culled from the collections at ONE Archives, the largest repository of LGBTQ material in the world, while other materials have been provided by the profiled organizations.

"Defiant Spaces" kicks off a year of programming to celebrate the 60th anniversary of ONE Archives, the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the United States. Over the next year, ONE Archives will present a series of programs and exhibitions intended to explore the history of ONE while also more widely examining the impact of significant LGBTQ organizations in Los Angeles. With the generous support of Wells Fargo, ONE Archives will acquire and process the archival records of numerous local organizations, preserving their legacy as well as the collective history of LGBTQ organizations in Los Angeles.

LGBT Heritage Month was created by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Christopher Street West/LA Pride in 2011 to promote and celebrate the diversity, history and culture of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in the City of Los Angeles. LGBT Heritage Month is the newest Heritage Month celebration, presented each June by Toyota Motor Services-Toyota/Lexus Financial Services, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Christopher Street West/LA Pride, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the City of Los Angeles. Other Heritage Months include African American Heritage Month, Latino Heritage Month, American Indian Heritage Month and Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Exhibition location and details

Los Angeles City Hall
Bridge Gallery, 3rd Floor
201 N. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Bridge Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.
This exhibition is free and open to the public.

Enter City Hall through the entrance on Main Street. Proceed through security and check in at the front desk. Let them know you are going to Bridge Gallery on the third floor to see the exhibition.

For additional information, call 323-644-6269.