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LA To Launch First LGBT Heritage Month Friday

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is kicking off what will likely be Los Angeles’ first annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Heritage Month.

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, during a special presentation at City Hall Friday.

About 200 young people from the Gay-Straight Alliance Network are expected to attend.

“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 to obtain a permit for the first public gay pride event in Los Angeles in 1970, 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 in the legal case against voter-approved Proposition 8.

“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.”

Villaraigosa is expected to host 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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