August 21, 2018 at 12:27 pm PDT | by Marcelo M Smith
DTLA Proud Gala raises prospects for a DTLA Community Center

Last night, the LGBT community of DTLA gathered under one roof at the Otium venue for the 2nd Annual DTLA PROUD Gala to eat, drink, and be merry.

The black tie event highlighted the growing visibility of a LGBT inclusive DTLA, and acknowledged the people who contributed to it.

DTLA PROUD is an non-profit organization geared towards volunteering, hosting events, and promoting diversity within the LGBT community in Downtown Los Angeles, in particular this weekend’s DTLA PROUD Festival, which will be held at Pershing Square Park.

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The event served as a thank you to event’s LGBTQ friendly vendors and volunteersand helped raise money for a prospective DTLA PROUD Community Center that was announced at the event. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the evening will go towards its opening.

Several noted politicians were on hand, including City of Los Angeles Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and City Controller Ron Galperin. Leo Daube, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s LGBT liaison was in attendance.

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Los Angeles Blade publisher Troy Masters and Hany Haddad, the newspaper’s 2018 Visibility Award honoree were seen chatting. There were a host of other community notables present.

“We’re young, and it’s good for younger people like us to see this and the elders of the LGBT community pave the way; it’s inspiring.” said Francisco Gardea, 23 an attendee of the event. “We don’t have our rights because they were given to us, we fought for it.”

Pinche Queen, the performer and hostess of the evening originally came to California from Arizona by herself as a teenager, performed a lip synced song dedicated to the other “gay lonelies” who made Los Angeles their home too.

“I’m blessed to be a part of a big community, it’s an honor to be here. It’s not just dressing up in drag to go to the club, the community lifted me up to honor me. A year ago I never thought I would be doing this at all”.

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A PROUD award was presented on stage to DTLA Director Joella Hopkins as a former publisher LGBTwed; a luxury LGBT wedding magazine.

“I’m excited to be honored by an amazing group, because at the core of it, it’s all about loving each other for our differences that make us so special.

As the night ended the party stayed alive and shifted towards the next venue, Precinct.

A moment of silence was observed for the late Thor Stephens; co owner of Los Angeles gay bar Precinct who died earlier this year. Community members honored him for his willingness to step in and give opportunities to the LGBT community.

“For anyone who met him, they would know why community was a big thing,” said Brian McIntire the husband of Stephens and co-owner of Precinct . “He definitely empowered what the community meant and his spirit lives on.”

The DTLA PROUD Festival will be held from August 24-26 and tickets can be purchased at http://dtlaproud.org/tickets

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