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LGBTQ Center OC to mark its 50-year anniversary with a virtual ball

A group representing the LGBTQ Center OC traveled to Washington, D.C. on April 25, 1993.
A group representing the LGBTQ Center OC traveled to Washington, D.C. on April 25, 1993 for the National March on Washington for Gay Rights.
(Courtesy of LGBTQ Center OC)

The LGBTQ Center OC is celebrating a milestone this year — a 50-year anniversary.

In 1971, the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center of Orange County was established as a volunteer-based 24/7 helpline just two years after the Stonewall riots in New York. As the gay and lesbian movement progressed, the center began to create programs and eventually incorporated as a nonprofit in 1975.

Over the years, the nonprofit adjusted its services to meet the needs of the LGBTQ community such as medical and counseling support for HIV/AIDS patients starting in the 1980s, youth support in the 1990s and marriage equality and NOH8 campaigns in the 2000s.

Fourth Pride parade in Long Beach on May 1987.
Two years before O.C. would have its own Pride parade and festival, people who participated in the young adults program at the center rode through the fourth Pride parade in Long Beach on May 1987.
(Courtesy of LGBTQ Center OC)

“Together, we have made great strides over the last 50 years,” Peg Corley, executive director, said in a statement. “Our vision for the next 50 is to turn the tide, once and for all, against disparities and intolerance and usher in a new era of equity and understanding for all of Orange County. We are proud to be your partner in this all-important work.”

Corley said the LGBTQ Center OC is evolving again. More programming is focusing on meeting the needs and increasing the visibility of LGBTQ persons of color, immigrants and seniors. Immigration resources include legal representation, citizenship classes and advocacy for asylum seekers in ICE detention.

Luis F. Gómez, director of Immigration Resources, holds the mic
Luis F. Gómez, director of Immigration Resources, holds the mic to speak in support of DACA outside of Rep. Ed Royce’s office in Brea on August 2017.
(Courtesy of LGBTQ Center OC)

The center will celebrate virtually on May 1 through its annual fundraising gala, the Indigo Ball. The ticketed event will include musical performances by Men Alive, an all-gay men’s chorus, a live auction and speakers who have had a connection to the center over the decades. Lorri L. Jean, Los Angeles LGBTQ Center CEO, and Dr. Christopher Ried, Orange County Health Care Agency medical director of HIV/STD services, will also be celebrated as honorees.

Tickets come at two price points — $50 Golden tickets come with a 50th-anniversary lapel pin while $350 Weekend Getaway tickets come with a one-night stay and dinner for two at the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach.

If you go

What: Indigo Ball
Where: Online
When: May 1 at 7 p.m.
Cost: $50 to $350
Information: lgbtqcenteroc.org/indigoball

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