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Love and happiness filled the room at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 46th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards, hosted at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on Saturday night. The event, which celebrated honorees Miley Cyrus, Jane Fonda and Ron Nyswaner, also held a cocktail reception with a silent auction to raise funds for the center and featured special performances by Linda Perry and Alex Newell. Among the guest list were stars such as Max Emerson, Pauley Perrette, Scott Turner Schofield and more.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center, founded in 1969, has celebrated and championed LGBT individuals and families, providing services such as housing, education and more for the LGBT community. At the 46th Anniversary Vanguard Awards, actors, musicians and advocates raised support and awareness for the center.
Scott Turner Schofield (The Bold and the Beautiful), the first transgender actor to appear on network television, talked of his collaborative plans for the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “We’ve been talking about a transgender acting class that I’ve been working on starting with them,” Schofield said, “We’re working on the first acting class for transgender actors, which is kind of a big field. They’ve been 100% behind it the whole time.”
The event began with dinner and a performance of “Chapel of Love” by Newell, after which Lily Tomlin presented Fonda with the first Vanguard Award of the night. Fonda, who campaigned with Harvey Milk and has been a life-long supporter of the LGBT community, expressed her thoughts on the importance of being an advocate for LGBT and women’s rights.
“Everyone who has any celebrity can be very helpful by raising money and calling attention to the work and the need for the work. There’s a huge need for the work that the center does,” Fonda said.
Fonda also mentioned Soldier’s Girl, a film written by fellow honoree Nyswaner, as she expressed her excitement to celebrate, “It’s the real, true story about a G.I. that fell in love with a transgender woman, and in real life that woman was Calpernia Addams.” Addams was also in attendance at the gala.
After Tomlin introduced the night’s first honoree, Frances McDormand presented Ron Nyswaner with his award. McDormand shared a story of how the two met as young teenagers at church camp in Pennsylvania, and Nyswaner expressed that receiving the award from McDormand held even more depth for the two friends. Receiving the Vanguard Award was Nyswaner’s introduction to the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and at the podium, he shared his hopes of having a long-term relationship with the center.
“I think that the gay community has learned and we know so well how to help each other. That is what the center is. It’s people who need help from people who have probably, in their past, needed help, and it’s really moving for me to be a part of that,” Nyswaner said.
Before the third and final Vanguard Award presentation, Perry performed her song “Hands of Love” from the Freeheld soundtrack, another film written by Nyswaner. The musician then auctioned her piano, licked by Cyrus in front of the audience, which sold for $50,000 in minutes.
The final award of the night went to Cyrus. The Los Angeles LGBT Center honored her for both bringing much-needed awareness to the plight of homeless youth, in particular those who identify as LGBTQ, as well as the work she has accomplished through her Happy Hippie Foundation. In an emotional acceptance speech, she expressed that the LGBT Center “had been the key to the lock on my cage and they set me free.” Cyrus showed her passion for the people she supports and concluded her speech by quoting Audrey Hepburn. “As you grow older you will discover you have two hands — one for helping yourself and one for helping others,” she said.
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