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Head of Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center celebrates election gains in giddy speech

Head of Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center celebrates election gains in giddy speech

In past years, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center’s longtime CEO Lorri L. Jean has had to deliver some pretty somber addresses due to setbacks in the movement for LGBT equality.

But on Saturday night (10 November), she danced.

While addressing a crowd of more than 1,000 guests at the center’s 41st anniversary gala in downtown Los Angeles, Jean was overcome with joy talking about gay marriage victories in four states and the election night victories of out politicians like US Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin and 117 other LGBT people nationwide. 

‘I am one happy lesbian!’ she said before stepping away from the microphone and doing an extended jig across the stage as the crowd roared with delight.

‘I have seen a lot of progress since I took the helm of the center almost 20 years ago but I have never seen an election night like (last) Tuesday,’ Jean said. ‘What as difference four years makes!’

It was four years ago that Jean had to address the same crowd just two weeks before California voters approved Proposition 8 which banned gay marriage in the state. Jean reminded the crowd that night that all civil rights movements have had a history of temporary defeats but that they would survive and continue to fight on.

Then last week, voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington approved such marriages while Minnesota voters rejected an initiative that sought to ban them.

‘Four fucking times!’ she said before she was unable to stop herself.

‘This was an equality landslide,’ Jean continued. ‘I believe it is ushering in a new era for our community. Notice has finally been served.’

Of anti-gay political forces, she said the election ‘was their worst nightmare and I thought it was delicious. It was karma.’

The gala at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel raised more than $700,000 in support of the center’s services.