Mayor Villaraigosa To Host 1st Heritage Month Honoring Gay Community

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will kick off  the city’s first annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Heritage Month at City Hall Friday.

The mayor will present the Spirit, Dream and Hope of Los Angeles awards to three prominent members of the LGBT community, including comedian Wanda Sykes.

About 200 young people from the Gay-Straight Alliance Network are expected to attend the presentation. “For them the event is important because it shows there has been an LGBT history longer than the last five or ten years,” said Sam Borelli, communications director for the nonprofit LGBT advocacy group Christopher Street West.

Among the honorees is Rev. Troy Perry, who fought with the city in 1970 to obtain a permit for the first public gay pride event in Los Angeles, Borelli said. Perry also founded the gay-friendly Metropolitan Community Churches.

Villaraigosa will also honor Chad Griffin, the founder and president of American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is the lead sponsor against voter-approved Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in California.

“The celebration is an opportunity to be loud and proud,” Borelli said. “And also to remember our history in this 30th anniversary year of HIV/AIDS, which devastated our community.”

The south lawn of City Hall will also be set up for a celebration with music and dance performances.

Villaraigosa is also planning a special private reception with LGBT leaders at Getty House, his official residence.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)



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