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L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center raises $700,000 at post-election gala

LOS ANGELES -- L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri Jean just couldn’t contain herself. She was so excited by the results of the Nov. 6 elections and marriage initiatives, she left the podium and did a little “happy dance” before an appreciative audience of more than 1,000 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel Saturday night, Nov. 10 (captured beautifully by photographer Lydia Marcus).

Interestingly, the Center’s 41st Anniversary Gala honored Olympic soccer gold medalist Megan Rapinoe, who came out last July to much support. She became one of 23 openly LGBT athletes in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, marking yet another step in the slow shift of attitudes in sports, a profession and pastime that still harbors some of the last vestiges of homophobia.

Jean was also probably pretty happy about how much money was raised for services at the Center. With sponsors — including Wells Fargo and State Farm — underwriting the whole affair, the event raised more than $700,000 at a time when the Los Angeles LGBT community is no doubt saving up for the holidays after serving as the primary political ATM for the country.

“What a difference four years make!” Jean said, recalling the simultaneously thrilling and devastating moment in 2008 when Barack Obama made history as the first black President of the United States — and Prop. 8 passed in California. This year, not only was Obama re-elected but after losing 32 marriage ballot initiatives in a row — Maine, Maryland and Washington won the freedom to marry and Minnesota voters decided not to put a marriage equality ban in their constitution.

Read the full story in Frontiers HERE.