On Saturday, November 10th popular entertainers, State Senator Mark Leno, and Spectrum founder and prominent Presbyterian LGBT equality advocate Rev. Dr. Jane Adams Spahr will gather with hundreds of Marin residents at PEARLESQUE to salute Spectrum LGBT Center’s unique role and celebrate its successes as it reaches its 30th year.
“This is a party for the entire community,” said Executive Director Paula Pilecki, who has been at the helm of the organization since 1998. “Of all the fundraising events that occur in Marin County, PEARLESQUE is unique. Why? It’s the only one celebrating the achievements on behalf of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
Pearlesque takes place at the Mill Valley Community Center, 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. The buffet dinner by Stacy Scott Catering takes place at 6 pm featuring West Coast comedy club sensation Justin Lucas and “Curve magazine top 5 funniest Lesbian in America” Comedian Dana Goldberg, (as seen on HBO, TBS, LOGO). There will also be a highly anticipated ensemble performance by POST:BALLET, a dance group hailed as “…inventive, focused, sophisticated and anything but risk averse,” by Allan Ulrich of the San Francisco Chronicle.
California State Senator Mark Leno and Spectrum’s Founder and Presbyterian LGBT equality advocate, Rev. Dr. Jane Adams Spahr will speak. A Live Auction will feature an Olivia Vacation, Sailing on the Bay and a Palm Springs Getaway. Spectrum, which recently completed an eight month strategic planning process with extensive input from community leaders, teachers, organizational partners and LGBT constituents, will unveil their revitalized mission and top priorities, and present the 30th Anniversary Founder Award to the Marin County Youth Commission (MCYC).
At 8 pm the Pearlesque Dance party begins, featuring Music by DJ Costa, Dessert Bar and Specialty Cocktails with Pearl Vodka and performances by Karla Montiel and The Jewels of Spectrum, who will be featured in solo cabaret-style performances throughout the evening. Dinner tickets: $150 (includes dance party) Dance Party only: $45. Order tickets at http://www.spectrumLGBTcenter.org or call (415) 472-1945, ext. 209. Reservations will be held at the door.
Honoree Marin County Youth Commission, a program of the Youth Leadership Institute, conducted youth-led research on the conditions for LGBT high school students at four Marin County schools. Their results confirm that LGBT students are three times more likely to experience bullying and harassment based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Research like this underscores the needs for Spectrum’s unique role in Marin. For three decades, Spectrum has picked up the phone and answered the door for a whole “Spectrum” of community needs as the sole Marin County organization dedicated to serving the LGBT community.
Since 1982, Spectrum has delivered services and support to well over 150,000 people in Marin, including suicidal teens, educators struggling with bullying in their classrooms, parents who have just learned their child is gay, and by confronting anti-gay policies within organizations and institutions.
Early programs of Spectrum included support for LGBT families through an annual Family Camp; education and advocacy through Marin AIDS Interfaith Network, which today is Marin AIDS Project; and a partnership with United Way of the Bay Area to promote workplace equality which evolved in to what is now known as Out and Equal Workplace Advocates.
Spectrum has educated LGBT community members and the professionals that serve them on the changing legal status of LGBT people and their relationships, and the impact on everything from taxes to parenting. Spectrum’s annual Thanksgiving dinner has provided a joyful gathering place for older adults, particularly poignant for those who are isolated from their families. The Center is a hub for LGBT seniors, a significant number of whom do not feel comfortable being themselves elsewhere. Meetings of LGBT youth and allies enliven the living room-style meeting room and provide the strength and resources to face hostility and misconceptions at school.
As one of over 200 peer community centers nationally, Spectrum was founded with a core mission of working closely with non-LGBT allies. A local PFLAG Chapter (Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians) was one of the first results when Spectrum was founded.“We are proud of our strong base of support from allies,” said Pilecki, who estimates that 20-30% of Spectrum’s members identify as straight.
Some prominent allies include Superintendent Mary Jane Burke of Marin County Office of Education, Comedian Michael Pritchard and State Assembly Member Michael Allen, all of whom serve on Spectrum’s Advisory Council. Teachers, parents, people of faith, and law enforcement officials join a large chorus of supporters who believe in equality, and have stood with Spectrum since its beginning.
“We expect the same great mix of people from all walks of life at our Gala,” said Pilecki, “Hundreds of people who prize equality in one room - that’s a great party”.
Rev. Dr. Jane Adams Spahr, founder of Ministry of Light in 1982 (now known as Spectrum) is recently retired from her own ministry, That All May Freely Serve, which advocates for a church that honors diversity and welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. Over the past five years, Rev. Spahr, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, has been prosecuted and rebuked several times by the Presbyterian Church for performing marriages for same-sex couples.
MCYC, a program of the Youth Leadership Institute, is an official advisory board to the Marin County Board of Supervisors comprised of 20 diverse young people, representing the five residential districts of Marin County. The MCYC conducted youth-led research on the conditions for LGBT high school students at four Marin County schools. Their results confirm that LGBT students are three times more likely to experience bullying and harassment based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. They are more likely to feel unsafe walking to class, more likely to skip school, and less likely to turn to an adult for help when being bullied.
Dana Goldberg's quick wit and playful stage presence is spreading like wildfire! CURVE Magazine raves, “Sheʼs smart, cute, and seriously funny!” The Irish Post writes, "Dana's sharp, insightful observations are concealed behind an easy-going chatty style. This makes her one of a handful of comics able to transfer their work across the Atlantic." Seen on HBO, TBS and LOGO channels, Goldberg has shared the national stage with President Barack Obama, Jane Lynch and the cast of GLEE, Lady Gaga, Kathy Griffin, Portia de Rossi, Judy Gold, David Brenner and Kathy Najimy.
West Coast comedy club sensation Justin Lucas has opened for well-known comics, like Bobby Lee and Rex Navarrete. He is a successful comedy competitor and was a finalist in local contests like Bunjo's Comedy Competition, Beat The Heat in San Jose, and the 2011 Rooster T. Feather's Comedy Competition. He placed third in the 2011 Battle of the Bay Comedy Competition and was fourth runner-up in the 2012 Bay Area Black Comedy Competition.
Major sponsors for PEARLESQUE include Marin Community Foundation; Olivia; Anspach Financial Group, LLC; BUDWING; Fountaingrove Lodge; Lenore O’Connor, Financial Advisor; A.J. Shepard & Anthony Chiu Fund of MCF; Autodesk; Bank of Marin; Ruth and Bob Dell; DLK Law Group PC; Marin Optometry; Marion Weinreb and Associates, Inc.; Penny Noble and Eileen Worthley; MontyWhite Law, LLP; Pacific Sun; Epochalips; Pearl Vodka; Iron Springs Brewing Company and Hannah Doress Events.
Foundation support from Bay Area institutions has historically been central to the ongoing support of Spectrum’s work. Marin Community Foundation’s investment in Spectrum has been critical to the organization’s success in meeting the substantial community needs. Pilecki notes that continued core operating and programmatic support from MCF, whose staff understand the unique needs of the LGBT community, has provided a steady platform for Spectrum through hard economic times. Horizons Foundation, the country’s only foundation dedicated to providing grant funding for LGBT causes, has also been with Spectrum since nearly the beginning, with consistent program support for LGBT youth and seniors.