Something to Be GLAAD About
The Holidays can signify an opportunity to reflect on the end of one period in our lives and the beginning of another, bringing with it the promise of new joys, new successes, new resolutions and new opportunities. For many it can also serve as a time to be thankful for the struggles, triumphs, friendships and challenges that have brought us closer together as a community, all connected by our common goal for equality.
For many, there is no better way to celebrate that tradition than by connecting at the good old-fashioned annual fete sponsored by the folks at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"GLAAD Tidings serves as the final hurrah before the end of the year, where we can take a moment to recognize the important strides the LGBT community has made while reflecting on the work that still needs to be done," says GLAAD's Programs and Communications Fellow Alexandra Bolles of the annual event. It began 16 years ago in Kansas City and has since been held every year in cities across the U.S., from Atlanta, Boston and Miami to Dallas, San Francisco and finally Los Angeles.
"The event was founded as a holiday silent auction gathering that allowed for GLAAD to better connect with local communities across the nation and to allow those communities to connect with each other. It has been incredibly successful and is something we remain very proud of."
The event combines the intimacy of a smaller holiday party (300 guests at the most), with the entertainment and trimmings one might expect to find there (a silent gift auction to benefit the community, performances from contemporary artists, an open bar sponsored by Bud Light and Ketel One Vodka) and combines them with the purpose of a much greater goal.
"What makes this event so special for us is that, no matter what holiday you celebrate -- or even if you don't celebrate a holiday at all -- GLAAD Tidings is the place to gather to share in the friends, families, love and connections you have built," Bolles posits. "Many LGBT folks don't have the kind of family that much of society dictates for you to have during the holidays. It's important to have those moments to share, to recognize the privileges we have been given and to begin the work that needs to be done to make sure that those who are in need receive the same blessings we have."
While past events have been held in ballrooms and private estates, this year's festivities will be held on the rooftop of the Andaz in West Hollywood. Bolles says this gives the planning committee a fresh opportunity to outdo themselves.
"In the initial planning stages of GLAAD Tidings, we look at the history of the event," she offers. "We examine what the event looked like in past years, where it was held, how it was perceived and what we can do to make it better. We want to keep it fresh and exciting for our guests so that not only do they come out every year, they are excited to bring new friends along. As one of the highest points in the Los Angeles area, the Andaz offers our guests the chance to take in their own community in a very meaningful way."
"This event holds a special place in our hearts and other peoples' hearts for a variety of reasons," Bolles continues. "Any time that we have the ability to bring together the community in a relaxing and enjoyable setting -- over drinks, music and great company -- while at the same time educating them in the stories of LGBT people and positive advances in the LGBT movement, it is meaningful to us. It creates a space for folks to network and learn more about the work that GLAAD does while preparing us for the road ahead."
GLAAD Tidings will be held Sunday, December 15 at the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood, 8401 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. For tickets and information go to glaad.org/glaadtidings