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GLAAD Tidings raises holiday cheer and money at gala in Bel Air

BEL AIR -- Almost 300 people turned out to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s annual holiday kick-off event, GLAAD Tidings.

Held at a private estate in tony Bel Air, guests were invited to a tropical holiday celebration with food, cocktails, entertainment and a silent auction that featured gift ideas that would certainly be on many people’s wish lists this year.

Guests mingled with celebrities who included director Bryan Singer (“X-Men”), Candis Cayne (“Dirty Sexy Money”), Mike Manning (“Real World D.C.”), new San Diego resident JD Ordonez (“Real World: Brooklyn”) and Morgan McMichaels (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”).

The evening was capped-off by a performance by pop sensation Ericka Jayne.

Addressing the work being done by GLAAD, president Jarrett Tomás Barrios talked about the images he saw in the media growing up and the message was clear that it was not OK to be who we were.

“There were no laws, there were no court decisions that taught me that. I got that message through the television and newspapers,” Barrios said. “I got that message through the power of the media. That’s why, when I look at all of these very sad stories about teenagers who are taking their lives, it gets me; because I know with all of the time and money we invest lobbying our Congress and in court cases to give us legal equality, that’s not going to be what stops some people from making that awful decision. It’s not going to be what stops some kids from bullying other kids. What changes the equation is when we reach into the hearts and the minds of regular Americans with our stories.”

Barrios outlined some of the work GLAAD did this year, including partnering with Facebook to fight against online bullying and groups that supported LGBT discrimination, opening up the Modern Wedding Contest on “The Today Show” to LGBT couples, and getting involved in National Spirit Day to remember the gay teens who have committed suicide this year because of bullying.

At press time, information on the amount raised by the silent auction were not available, but GLAAD did guarantee that the entire event was sponsored by donations and 100 percent of the money raised by the event would go towards the organization’s fundraising efforts.

For more information on GLAAD and the organization’s efforts to ensure the fair portrayal of GLBT individuals in the media, visit www.glaad.org.

Travis D. Bone is SDGLN's West Hollywood Correspondent. The Los Angeles-based writer is a graduate of the University of California at San Diego. After spending 13 years in San Diego where his journalism efforts earned him a San Diego Press Club award, he took his chances on moving to Los Angeles to become a television writer. Now he’s working in finance for a studio, so that didn’t turn out quite the way he expected. On the upside he’s still writing and has got a lot of stories to tell.