Jane Lynch, Lily Tomlin, Kathy Griffin & More Celebrate L.A Gay & Lesbian Center’s 39th Anniversary Gala

I can’t believe that the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has been around for 39 years – that’s amazing! This past weekend, the Center celebrated their anniversary with a star studded list of amazing talent and recognizable faces that have really contributed to making the world a better place for Gays & Lesbians. The event raised of $600,000 towards the Center’s services.

Ryan Murphy and Matthew Morrison both took the stage to honor Jane Lynch with the Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award, the Center’s highest individual honor. When I met Lynch last year, she introduced herself as a member of the board for the Center.

“Being gay and the journey of coming to terms with it, finally embracing it—shouting it from the highest mountain—turns out to be the biggest blessing of my life; something I would never have imagined as a frightened teenager with a dark secret. And look—I got an award for it!” Lynch joked.

With all of those funny people in attendance, including Kathy Griffin and Lily Tomlin, there was plenty to smile and laugh about, but there were also some serious issues to talk about as well. The Center CEO Lorri L. Jean touched upon the following in her speech:

“All of us have reacted with great sadness and anger after learning of the multiple suicides by LGBT youth in the past few months brought on by relentless bullying,” Jean said. “And when I heard the Arkansas school board member encouraging all LGBT youth to kill themselves, I knew that press releases and videos and demonstrations, important though they are, would not be enough.

“So I did the only thing I could think of to do. I picked up the phone and called the president of the LAUSD school board to arrange a meeting. We said, ‘The deadly consequences of bigotry in our schools can no longer be denied’ and we proposed the development of a bold and innovative program to be implemented in every single school in the district designed to end anti-LGBT hostility and replace it with support and encouragement.

“The president was skeptical at first but after a long conversation, she said and I quote, ‘We are going to change the culture at LAUSD schools.’ Yes, we are!”

Best Quotes From The Gala

  • “The queen of England pokes me every chance she gets. I may have to un-friend her.” – Lily
    Tomlin as her iconic character Ernestine
  • “It is always a pleasure to see someone become an overnight sensation after 20 years in the business.” – Lily Tomlin on Jane Lynch
  • “I was the first one to go to the Oscars dressed like a cockatoo. That’s a hard room to work … unlike Harrah’s.” -Nadya Ginsburg as Cher
  • “Glee has been tremendously fortunate to count among its cast members a performer of impeccable comic timing and improvisational skills who consistently elevates the material to a whole new level. The truly remarkable thing about Jane Lynch is that she has actually been able to keep up with my impeccable coming timing and improvisational skills.” – Matthew Morrison
  • “There were no role models for me growing up. My family didn’t sit around watching Will & Grace. There was no Ellen, no Ricky Martin, no Lily Tomlin. I thought I was the only person who was gay.” – Javier, a mentor with the Center’s LifeWorks program, which pairs LGBT youth with trained adult mentors

Matthew Morrison In

Jane Lynch’s Acceptance Speech

Lorri L. Jean Speech

Kathy Griffin’s Speech

Nadya Ginsburg as Cher