On May 30, 2019, at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, Lambda Legal will present its 2019 West Coast Liberty Awards—and this year, for the first time, iDiscover is proud to be a contributing sponsor . We’re inspired by Lambda Legal’s mission and excited to participate in this celebration of equality.
Lambda Legal’s Mission
Lambda Legal is a national nonprofit that provides impact litigation services, education, and public policy direction to advance the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those living with HIV. Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the largest legal organization entirely dedicated to that mission, and over its 40-plus years, it has faced challenges that parallel those of the populations it represents. In fact, Lambda Legal had to fight to be incorporated when it was first conceived because the state of New York refused to recognize gay rights advocacy as a charitable purpose.
As of 2019, Lambda Legal focuses on three primary battlefronts: employment discrimination, HIV discrimination, and public accommodation discrimination based on religious liberties claims.
Employment discrimination has always been a major issue: as Rick Davis, Lambda Legal’s Western Regional Director, says, “If you can’t feed or house or clothe yourself because you can’t earn an income, everything else is a luxury.” There is still no national standard for employment protection based on LGBTQ status; of the 7,000 calls Lambda Legal takes every year, the large majority relate to on-the-job discrimination or harassment.
Similar issues continue to affect those with HIV. Despite decades of education and medical advancements, people with HIV are overlooked, alienated, and deprived of basic rights due to unfounded fears about their disease. Lambda Legal recently launched its “Cut the Stigma” initiative in the wake of a case where a barbershop in L.A. refused to cut a client’s hair after learning that he was living with HIV.
One of the more recent arguments against LGBTQ rights has centered on the First Amendment’s guarantees of religious freedom. Lambda Legal has been on the front lines of this fight, as well, noting that public accommodations may not pick and choose who they will serve regarding sexual orientation any more than they could discriminate against other races during the civil rights movement.
iDiscover stands behind the idea of equality for all, which is why we’re proud to stand behind Lambda Legal and the essential work it does. But Lambda Legal isn’t all work and no play—which is where the West Coast Liberty Awards come in.
The West Coast Liberty Awards
The West Coast Liberty Awards are an opportunity for Lambda Legal and its sponsors to share their mission in a celebratory atmosphere, raising support while recognizing those in the community who have advanced the rights of the LGBTQ and HIV-positive populations. The 2019 awards ceremony will be hosted by the comic Cameron Esposito and will feature live music by Brian Justin Crum, a front-runner in the eleventh season of America’s Got Talent.
This year, Lambda Legal is recognizing two winners:
- Tanya Saracho, the creator of the Starz show “Vida,” which tackles the story of a Latino family that’s coming to terms with issues about LGBTQ acceptance, bringing awareness and sensitivity about the issues that Lambda Legal fights for every day into the homes of millions of people who might not otherwise understand these challenges.
- David Cooley, the founder and CEO of The Abbey, an iconic West Hollywood gay bar that has created a welcoming space for all and has been on the forefront of numerous efforts to give back to the community through fundraisers and charitable events.
There will also be a silent auction and fantastic food by renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés. Please join us; you can also contact iDiscover to learn more about our work and the causes we support.