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Home Activism JESSE TYLER FERGUSON, JUSTIN MIKITA, OLYMPIAN AMINI FONUA TO BE HONORED AT...

JESSE TYLER FERGUSON, JUSTIN MIKITA, OLYMPIAN AMINI FONUA TO BE HONORED AT LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER’S ANNIVERSARY GALA VANGUARD AWARDS ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

jesse tyler fergusonSPECIAL GUESTS GREG LOUGANIS, MO GAFFNEY AND KATHY NAJIMY ALSO SET FOR STAR-STUDDED EVENT IN WEST HOLLYWOOD, PRESENTED BY HBO

Los Angeles, CA (August 31, 2016) – The Los Angeles LGBT Center announced today that actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, and Olympic swimmer Amini Fonua will be honored at its 47thAnniversary Gala Vanguard Awards benefit on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the glamorous HBO party pavilion on the grounds of the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.  Olympian Greg Louganis will present the award to Fonua. Special guests Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy will also perform.

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Ferguson currently stars on the award-winning ABC comedy Modern Family, for which he has received five Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Mikita is a longtime LGBT activist, attorney and co-founder of a bedding company (Thread Experiment) that donates high-quality linens for the homeless youth who sleep on the Center’s 50 beds, and is one of the top 50 fundraisers on this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle benefit for the Center and SF AIDS Foundation. Together in 2012 the couple founded Tie the Knot which offers limited edition bow ties and benefits organizations fighting for LGBT civil rights. Tie The Knot has raised more than $500,000 which has been donated to various LGBT organizations.

Fonua, 26, is a courageous openly gay two-time Olympic swimmer for Tonga, where it is illegal to be gay. After the London Games he helped the Center raise tens of thousands of dollars as a spokesperson and participant in the Center’s Beach Classic fundraiser. During every training session for the Rio Games he wore the swimsuit from the event, with the Center’s name on the back, to promote LGBT visibility in the sport. As one of just 11 openly gay male athletes at this year’s Olympic Games, Fonua publicly and forcefully denounced a salacious Daily Beast article that outed athletes from conservative countries, giving voice to those who couldn’t speak out.

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For the first time, the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards will be held in the heart of West Hollywood and in the party pavilion at the Pacific Design Center used by HBO for its glamorous Emmy’s party. The stunning venue, generously donated by new presenting sponsor HBO, will also be the site of new pre- and post-event parties, with appetizers, dinner and dessert prepared by celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck.

Because one night isn’t enough, the event has been expanded to a three-day celebration including a Friday, Sept. 23 Launch Party at Hamilton-Selway Fine Art and a Sunday, Sept. 25 Brunch at The Abbey in West Hollywood.

Gala tickets and weekend passes to attend all of the events are available are now available for purchase atwww.lgbtvanguardawards.org

Previous honorees include Miley Cyrus, Jane Fonda, Elton John, George and Brad Takei, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Wanda Sykes and Lily Tomlin. One of the nation’s premier LGBT charity events, the Center’s Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards will bring together more than 1,200 of the region’s most important leaders in the civic, corporate, entertainment and philanthropic communities to enjoy cocktails, dinner, and entertainment, while celebrating inspirational honorees who exemplify courage, compassion, and a relentless tenacity for creating positive change in the world. The evening also features an extensive silent auction that includes high-end items, packages, and experiences.

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Presenting Sponsor: HBO; Diamond Sponsor: Wells Fargo; Platinum Sponsor: Anita May Rosenstein Foundation; Gold Sponsors: American Airlines, Angeleno Magazine, Barry McCabe, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Cadillac, Comcast NBCUniversal, Curt Sheppard & Alan Hergott; Greg Fullmer, Danny Hawkins, & Douglas Dyakon, LabCorp, Morgan Stanley, Pacific Federal, Southern California Gas Company, The Abbey, and US Bank; Silver Sponsors: JPMorgan Chase & Co., MUFG Union Bank, OUT@WB; Ralphs, and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens; In-Kind Sponsors: Hamilton-Selway Fine Art Gallery and Stoli; Media Sponsors: Frontiers Media, Lesbian News, OUT, and The Advocate.

About the Los Angeles LGBT Center: 

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Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Today the Center’s nearly 600 employees provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services and global advocacy that span four broad categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy. We are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world; a world in which LGBT people can be healthy, equal and complete members of society. Learn more at www.lalgbtcenter.org.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board as a chief organizer of the Television Critics Association’s press tours, held twice a year in Beverly Hills and Pasadena. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and the Desert Aids Project, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been an active member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.