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Stars Help L.A. LGBT Center Open Campus for Youth and Seniors

Lily Tomlin

Lily Tomlin, Kathy Griffin, and others helped celebrate the opening of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus.

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The Los Angeles LGBT Center Sunday opened the first phase of its Anita May Rosenstein Campus, a two-acre complex in Hollywood designed to serve LGBTQ youth and seniors, making it the world's first intergenerational LGBTQ facility.

The opening was celebrated with a six-hour block party featuring celebrities including Lily Tomlin, Kathy Griffin, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, along with guided tours and musical performances by Betty Who, VINCINT, the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, and Alexandra Billings.

The campus includes 100 beds for homeless youth, a new Senior Community Center, a Youth Drop-In Center, and the Ariadne Getty Foundation Youth Academy. It will also house the organization's headquarters, being relocated from the McDonald/Wright Building, which will be transformed entirely into a health center. The second phase of the campus, scheduled to open in mid-2020, will have 99 units of affordable housing for seniors and 25 supportive housing apartments for youth.

The 180,000-square-foot campus was funded by more than 350 capital campaign donors and a record-breaking 15 seven-figure gifts. Lead donor Anita May Rosenstein's gift of $8 million -- through the Anita May Rosenstein Foundation, the Wilbur D. May Foundation, and the Anita and Arnold Rosenstein Family Foundation -- is the largest gift by a living donor to an LGBTQ organization.

"Let's be clear: This is not my campus, it's our campus," Rosenstein said in a press release from the center. "Our campus is a beacon of hope and inspiration for people around the world. It is a safe haven for youth experiencing homelessness, and it will become a unique experience for youth and seniors to live together and learn from each other."

"We are immensely proud that the Anita May Rosenstein Campus allows us to greatly expand our services, especially to LGBT seniors and youth," center CEO Lorri L. Jean said in the same release. "The campus is proof that a committed group of people who have the audacity to dream big and work hard are capable of creating something the world has never seen, something that now stands as a testament to the fact that we will not turn back in our march toward full equality and humanity."

"This is a welcoming place where kids are welcomed," Tomlin told Variety at Sunday's event. "They're made to feel good about themselves. They're given the tools and the support to pull themselves out and grow."

"It's a rich, rich community to be a part of," the actress continued.

Kathy Griffin, who performed a comedic set for the crowd of hundreds of people, took a moment to point out current political divides across the nation when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

"Our colleagues on the other side of the aisle might think it's OK to discriminate against the gay community. Our colleagues on the other side of the aisle might think it's OK to have a vice president who's clearly closeted himself and yet wants to engage in conversion therapy," said the comedian who has been an outspoken ally to the community for years. "But that's not OK."

"As a community you guys get together; you legislate; you get stuff done; you get bills passed like no community I've ever seen -- that's why I'm proud to be your ally now and forever," she continued.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring, The Advocate's copy chief, has spent much of her journalistic career covering the LGBT movement. When she's not fielding questions about grammar, spelling, and LGBT history, she's sharing movie trivia or classic rock lyrics.
Trudy Ring, The Advocate's copy chief, has spent much of her journalistic career covering the LGBT movement. When she's not fielding questions about grammar, spelling, and LGBT history, she's sharing movie trivia or classic rock lyrics.