The 45th Anniversary Vanguard Awards Honors George and Brad Takei

On Saturday the Los Angeles LGBT Center held its 45th Anniversary Gala & Vanguard Awards presented by Wells Fargo at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The night featured “awards presentations to influential people and companies in the LGBT movement, a seated dinner, silent auction and special celebrity appearances.”

The theme for the evening was “Celebrate our Superheroes.” And celebrate we did! George and Brad Takei were the International Vanguard Award Honorees, Cort Lane accepted the Corporate Vanguard Award on behalf of Marvel, and Zev Yaroslavsky received the Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award. Holland Taylor and Tab Hunter were on hand as presenters.

When speaking about the Corporate Vanguard Award, Lane stated that “For Marvel, I think it’s a really wonderful validation. They’ve been trying for decades, in publishing, to tell real stories about real people and that includes portrayals of LGBT characters.” Yaroslavsky kept it clear and concise when he said “this means a lot to me” as he accepted the Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award which happens to be named after his close friend, a well-known gay rights activist, who passed away in 1993.

The LGBT community has come a long way when it comes to having a place in the world of entertainment. George Takei spoke about how much the entertainment industry has changed since his Star Trek days. He mentioned that when he started “in the business back in the ’50s LGBT people did not exist on television or in movies…compare that to what we have today.” It’s a very true statement indeed. The prevalence of LGBT characters on TV and on the big screen is on the rise. It’s great to see the continued support and inclusion. There is still a ways to go but the industry is definitely making some huge strides!

Other celebrities in attendance included Wilson Cruz, Alex Newell, Florence Henderson, Lawrence Pressman, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ken Todd, and Lisa Vanderpump.

Quote of the night definitely goes to Lorri Jean, the CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. As she stood behind the podium she addressed the audience by saying “Good Evening! I’m Renee Zellweger.” The laughter that filled the room was infectious and a true example of the joy that the Los Angeles LGBT Center tries to foster within the community.