Earlier this week, the Los Angeles LGBT Center raised over $1M to support its lifeline services and advocacy benefiting the LGBTQ community during The Center Gala at the Fairmont Century Plaza.

Pamela Anderson Attends the Los Angeles LGBT Center's The Center Gala
Pamela Anderson Attends the Los Angeles LGBT Center's The Center Gala

Over 800 supporters came together as the Center honored the author and activist Pamela Anderson, Emmy-winning actress Keke Palmer, and the beloved entertainer Leslie Jordan (posthumously) for their contributions to the LGBTQ community. The gala was hosted by social media and television sensation TS Madison, and featured a special performance by R&B-soul artist Durand Bernarr.

“While I have only been the Center’s CEO since July, I know from my 25-year career that the Center is like no other organization in our movement. Not only are we fighting for our community’s rights through our global advocacy work, we are on the frontlines caring for the most vulnerable in our community when they need us most,” said Joe Hollendoner, the CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “The Center’s masterful weaving of direct services, public education, and policy work creates a safety net to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.”

Actress, author, and humanitarian Pamela Anderson accepted the Vanguard Award for her long history of activism and allyship. “We are painting the picture of our lives every day. And every time we walk out the door, it’s performance art. Might as well have a blast. Thank you [Los Angeles LGBT Center] for giving me the chance to share that with you,” said honoree Pamela Anderson. “Thank you for rooting for me.”

Emmy Award-winning television host (and former employee of the Center) Karamo Brown (Queer Eye, Karamo) presented Keke Palmer with the Vanguard Award for her achievements in the entertainment industry, as well as her commitment to creating new opportunities for young people from marginalized communities. In her acceptance speech, Keke Palmer said, “I have faith that the more we share our unique experiences, the louder we are with using our voices, the more we don’t have to explain and explain and explain again what it is to be a person. Living in this world, defying all definitions just to be an original. There is no greater masterpiece than a person living in their truth.”

Hollywood vets Mayim Bialik and Del Shores gave a touching tribute introducing the inaugural Leslie Jordan Award for Excellence in the Arts. Jordan, an American actor and comedian, as well as a longtime supporter of the Center, passed away late last year. Mayim Bialik said of her late Call Me Kat co-star, “The world formed a love and connection with Leslie during the pandemic—he was who you saw on Instagram…and that’s why he is remembered and mourned so deeply. I’m grateful to The Center for creating the Leslie Jordan Award that will now be given annually to someone who shines a light on the LGBTQ+ community through their work and art.”

The Gala’s live programming included an auction and special musical performance by Durand Bernarr. Durand was also presented with the Center’s “Rising Star” award by Grammy-nominated artist Adam Lambert.

Other highlights of the evening include a guest video appearance by Mariah Carey, who decried the 400+ pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation currently on the books in the United States, and a video of Nicole Richie “volunteering” at the Center, directed by 73 Questions creator Joe Sabia of Studio Sabia.

This year’s Gala was supported by Presenting Sponsor: Gilead Sciences, Inc. “Gilead is proud to honor and celebrate the remarkable achievements of LGBTQ+ leaders and advocates at this year’s Center Gala. Alongside the Los Angeles LGBT Center, we can better serve the LGBTQ+ community to create a healthier world where everyone can thrive,” said Alex Kalomparis, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Gilead.

The Diamond Sponsor for the Center Gala is Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Platinum Sponsors are Contractors State License Schools and Insurance Agency, and Glamazon L.A.-Amazon’s LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group. Gold Sponsors are Pauley Perrette, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. The event’s Official Airline Partner is American Airlines.

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