"The Advocate Is You": Activists Look to LGBT Past and Future at 50th Gala

The Advocate's 50th

On Thursday evening, The Advocate celebrated its 50th anniversary at a gala in Los Angeles — not far from the site of the Black Cat protests that gave birth to the LGBT magazine and movement.

At the Mark Sennett Studios, stars, editors, politicians, and activists gathered to toast to decades of The Advocate's role of reporting LGBT news as well as the significance of that work today.

"It is so important for magazines like The Advocate to be there for our community in this time of unease, of fear. We need to know that everything is gonna be OK, and they’re here to do that," said host Candis Cayne.

West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman honored the magazine with a commendation from the city and reminded the audience of the great importance of recording LGBT history, particularly during times when others have not.

"For many years, the mainstream media did not cover us, unless we were involved in something bad," he said. "Then they were more than willing to talk about our community. Our successes were never documented. Our achievements were never chronicled. … It took a publication like The Advocate to be there for us."

Lucas Grindley, The Advocate's editor in chief, conjured this long history of activism in a speech that was a call to action for resistance in today's world, where the future of the LGBT movement nationally and internationally is at stake.

"There are setbacks. But when we win, we celebrate, right? We have got to remember where we came from," said Grindley, who referenced the movement's leaders and milestones like the Stonewall riots, the Black Cat, Edie Windsor, Harvey Milk, the Daughters of Bilitis, the Mattachine Society, and Larry Kramer.

"Our job for 50 years and the next 50 years is to raise up your voices. And the louder you are, the louder we will be. I promise you," he said.

Paul Colichman, the CEO of Here Media, The Advocate's parent company, thanked all employees, past and present, who “made their mark in a way that allowed us to be there today.” He also called for a moment of silence for those the movement has lost.

"We’ve been around 50 years. So many of our friends and loved ones and coworkers, they can’t be here tonight. They didn’t make it. But you know what? They’re here right now," said Colichman.

"Every one of those people is here. They’re here and they’re celebrating with you. They’re celebrating our dignity. They’re celebrating our pride. They’re celebrating our equality. They’re celebrating our work. And they’re celebrating you."

"I toast The Advocate," stated Colichman, which, he said, "is you."

Watch the ceremony below, which includes a performance from ballroom legend Twiggy Pucci Garçon.

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