Online Extra: Stars to appear in online events to support LGBT community centers

Assistant Editor

The cast of "Queer as Folk" will gather in an online benefit for CenterLink, The Community of LGBT Centers, Friday, May 1.
The cast of "Queer as Folk" will gather in an online benefit for CenterLink, The Community of LGBT Centers, Friday, May 1.  

Stars of television and music will take part in two online events this week to raise people's spirits as well as some money for LGBT community centers that are struggling financially due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Thursday (April 30) at 7 p.m. Pacific singer Rufus Wainwright is hosting an "exclusive session" for the Los Angeles LGBT Center featuring a performance by Kristen Ford of her song "$crubs" in honor of frontline workers such as nurses, doctors, paramedics, and others risking their lives to take care of people during the pandemic. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Los Angeles), whose district includes the center and took part in one of its Big Queer Convo events Tuesday, will also deliver a message of hope, according to the event invite.


To stream the online event live, log on to the center's Twitch page at twitch.tv/lalgbtcenter

As the B.A.R. reported in March, the L.A. center has remained open during the coronavirus outbreak since it provides not only health care services but also housing for seniors and youth. The center's events team has been hosting different events via its Twitch page to entertain people while they shelter in place during the health crisis.

The online programs also help to promote the agency's CARE Fund (Community Action Response Effort Fund) as viewers are asked to make a contribution to the special fund that was launched to help it meet the needs of the local LGBT community at this time. People can donate online at https://donate.lalgbtcenter.org/secure/you-are-first-responder-our-community

"The center is so committed to providing these critical services that mean so much right now," center Board of Directors Co-Chair Susan Feniger said during a virtual town hall meeting with the facility's donors on April 7.

Most LGBT community centers across the country have had to shutter their physical doors in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic and health officials ordering all non-essential businesses to close. But they have pivoted to providing services virtually via online conferencing platforms or by checking in with clients via the phone until they can reopen their buildings. In the Bay Area the shelter-in-place orders have been extended to at least May 31 and could be extended into June depending on how well local communities are doing in stemming transmission of the virus.

Many LGBT centers have had to either cancel or postpone fundraising events scheduled to take place this spring and summer so as not to hold a large gathering where the virus could possibly be transmitted among attendees. Some have resorted to hosting online fundraisers to help raise money at this time.

One such event taking place Friday, May 1, will feature a reunion of the cast from the hit cable show "Queer as Folk" to mark its 20th anniversary. The "May Day Home Stay Gay Play," will stream live at 11 a.m. Pacific on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MAYDAYHOMESTAYGAYPLAY

It will also be shown on YouTube at https://youtu.be/XRUfEudtSmQ


Viewers will be able to make a donation to CenterLink, The Community of LGBT Centers. It is the second event that the organization is co-hosting to help raise money for LGBT centers across the country, such as San Jose's Bill DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center.

The first was the star-studded virtual bash it partnered with GLAAD to present April 26 that included performances by Kesha and Melissa Etheridge. It netted more than $225,000 in donations.

More than 250 LGBT community centers are members of CenterLink. They collectively serve nearly two million people each year.

"During this pandemic, centers continue to help their communities providing life-saving services such as medical care, delivering hot meals to older adults, and offering their spaces as emergency shelter for homeless youth. Because of COVID-19, LGBTQ centers have been forced to cancel galas, pride events, and fundraisers," noted Tanya Tassi, the policy manager for CenterLink's program ActionLink. "CenterLink's network of over 250 centers could be forced to shrink services in the future, which is why we were so excited when GLAAD and the people at Queer As Folk reached out to us about hosting these events."

To learn more about ActionLink, visit its website at https://lgbtactionlink.org/home

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