L.A. Kicks Off LGBT Heritage Month

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MIa Yamamoto receives the Dream Award from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. At left is City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. (Photo © Jon Viscott)

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Christopher Street West/LA Pride launched the City of Los Angeles’ third annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Heritage Month with two days of festivities at City Hall.

The kickoff began May 30 with a free and open event on the South Lawn, where Villaraigosa and other city leaders began the month-long calendar of LGBT events by bathing City Hall in lavender lights in honor of LGBT equality. The color has been adopted by many as a representation of the LGBTQ community and its struggles and progress.

The opening celebration was accompanied by food and live entertainment featuring an entertainment line-up that included DJ Asha and Doug Spearman and performances by the Voxettes, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Katrina Parker and Aubrey’s Girls.

To cap off the kick-off, Villaraigosa celebrated the city’s rich LGBT history during a City Council meeting on May 31 by presenting awards to Adam Lambert, former “American Idol” contestant turned LGBT advocate; Mia Yamamoto, longtime attorney and LGBT activist; and Rodney Scott, president of Christopher Street West/LA Pride.

Lambert shot to fame as a popular runner-up on the eighth season of “American Idol.” He received the Hope Award for raising awareness about LGBT causes through his participation in organizations such as The Trevor Project, Equality California and GLAAD.

Yamamoto, a well-regarded criminal defense attorney, was given the Dream Award for her work championing LGBT causes. She is co-chair of the Multi-Cultural Bar Alliance, a coalition of minority, women and gay and lesbian bar associations, and is a past president of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice organization and the Japanese American Bar Association. She also plays the guitar in a rock band.

Scott, who received the Spirit Award, has served as president of LA Pride, also known as Christopher Street West, which organized the world’s first gay pride parade in Los Angeles more than 40 years ago.

The honorees were joined by City Council members and newly elected officials who are openly gay, including Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, incoming councilmembers Mike Bonin and Mitch O’Farrell, and Controller-elect Ron Galperin.

“Many thanks to the City of L.A. for the honor of representing my community, and special thanks to Antonio Villaraigosa and Bill Rosendahl for their courageous and longtime leadership in the struggle for LGBT equality,” said Yamamoto, who is also a recipient of the John Anson Ford Award from the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission.

She quoted Martin Luther King: “None of us are free until all of us are free.”

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