Villaraigosa Declares L.A.'s 1st LGBT Heritage Month Today, City Council Chambers Go Wild With Pride
"This is the beginning of Gay Heritage month in the great city of Los Angeles. It's an historic first," bellowed Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl this morning in City Hall. "We have arrived in this city and we see ourselves with basic human and civil rights as our challenge we still have not met on a national level." Added Rosendahl, the first openly-gay man elected to L.A. City Council, "but we've come a long way in this great city."As declared by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, June is LGBT Heritage Month in Los Angeles, and this morning ahead of the regular City Council meeting, officials and special guests convened for a special celebration and recognition of gay rights leadership in the city.
"Today's event carries the message loud and clear--a message that says love doesn't discriminate," said Villaraigosa. "Our history has a long one of paving the way toward equality," says Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, citing a pre-Stonewall LGBT riot and the first "street closing" Gay Pride Parade in the nation held in the summer of 1970. "The fact is that this is a city where we say 'just do it,'" remarked Villaraigosa.
"We are a city that understands we are full of everybody," summarized City Council President Eric Garcetti, after speaking passionately about L.A.'s varied history in the realm of gay rights and the work still to be done, particularly in light of the ongoing battle over the legality of Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban.
Awards were presented to three prominent LGBT rights advocates and pioneers: Rev. Troy Perry, Chad Griffin, and Wanda Sykes. Perry, who performed the first public same-sex marriage in the country, expressed love for his adopted hometown of Los Angeles as he accepted the Spirit of Los Angeles Award.
Griffin, who Advocate calls the "mastermind of the federal lawsuit against Proposition 8," held a copy of the Prop 8 lawsuit, Perry v. Schwarzenegger up during his acceptance speech for his Dream of Los Angeles Award.
Lastly, comedian Wanda Sykes was presented with the Hope of Los Angeles Award. "Go girl, go do your number," egged Villaraigosa as Sykes took the podium. "The Hope of Los Angeles, Mayor? Oof...that's a bit lofty. You could have just said 'good luck' or something...I...I don't know. That's a lot of pressure," she quipped, adding she was "very optimistic" for the future of the LGBT community in Los Angeles.
Not to be out-funnied, Rosendahl took the podium again to single out fellow Councilmembers and other officials for their contribution to the civil rights work for the LGBT community in L.A., even joking that Councilwoman Jan Perry was better than just a plain ol' "fag hag," to the uproar of those gathered in the room.
Los Angeles County Assessor John R. Noguez, also an openly-gay elected official, summed up the sentiment of the wish of the LGBT community in Los Angeles: "I thank every body here for acknowledging what we want: Basic human rights."
The celebration of the proclamation continued outside City Hall following the pre-meeting presentation.