On June 16, 2008, due to a California Supreme Court ruling, the state began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. During the window of June 16 through November 5th, over 18,000 couples were married. UGLA held five of those ceremonies; ours being officiated by Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar and openly gay Superior Court Judge Zeke Zeidler.
On the November 2008 ballot was an initiative titled Proposition 8; its purpose was to limit marriage in California to heterosexual couples. Although UGLA raised $10,000 to defeat the measure, it passed with a 52% majority and on November 5th the issuance of marriage licenses to same sex couples ceased. It would take years of litigation, appeals, and even a ruling by the United States Supreme Court, before same sex marriage was again legal in California. That memorable day was June 26, 2013.
On the date that same-sex marriage was reinstated in California, 37 other states had already legalized same-sex marriage. It would take two more years (on June 28, 2015) for the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and guarantee to same-sex couples, in every state, the fundamental right to marry that is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Laws change when people change, and the attitude of U.S. adults has been on the rise since 2004. The graph below shows that the percent of adults who favor same-sex marriage has risen from approximately 33% in 2004 to over 60% heading into 2017. UGLA still works to change the hearts and minds of the unenlightened 40%.
Board of Directors
UGLA: A Visual Story
UGLA is indebted to Director Ken Kane, Assitant Doug Osborn and Videographer Dan Brodzik for their hard work, vision and expertise.
We invite you to watch "UGLA 25th Anniversary Perspective", a special documentary that was put together for UGLA's 25th anniversary in 2008. Take a look back at the organization's rich history through the comments and anecdotes of those who lived this important part of history. This is a great resource and educational tool for students, residents of the Northeast Los Angeles area,
and anybody who wants to learn about Southern California LGBT History.
Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance
UGLA’s first newsletter - “The Uptown Gaze" - gave this account of Bobby’s murder:
Bobby Brown, 24, a well-known young gay man, was twice assaulted and finally killed this past Wednesday
evening, March 31, 1983, as he was leaving our local gay bar, The Bon Mot, at Avenue 41 and Figueroa Street.
This attack represents the second murder in our gay community within the last two years. The first murder
victim was Richard Lee, who was assaulted and killed at the corner of Avenue 43 and Figueroa on
November 14, 1981. No suspects in that case have ever been brought to trial.
Bobby was first attacked around 10:30 in the evening by two men described as young Latinos in their early 20’s thought to be members of a local gang. During the first attack, witnesses described Bobby as being on the ground with a shotgun pointed at his mouth. These witnesses, Tom Walters and his lover David, were shot at when they walked onto Avenue 41.
Bobby escaped, robbed of his money, jewelry and keys. Tom and his lover had to crawl back into the bar to avoid being shot. The police were called, who arrived, took the report, and, according to witnesses, made no investigation. Witnesses also reported the police as questioning whether or not the victims had come out of “that fag bar.”
Bobby stayed in the bar to phone his lover, to inform him what had occurred, and to calm down. He was offered a ride by David Maxwell. Shortly after midnight, the two men left the bar. When they turned onto Avenue 41, they were met by one of the gang members, who opened fire. Bobby was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the thigh. He was pronounced dead at the scene. David was wounded in the leg and is in stable condition at County USC Medical Center.
Outraged, Gus put out an alert to the neighborhood demanding a meeting with the LAPD over it’s conduct of the murder investigation and with the help of the Los Angeles Human Rights Commission, a meeting ensued. Unfortunately, the investigation went nowhere and the murder has never been solved. It’s lasting legacy is UGLA, whose “… primary goals are to provide a support system for gay men and lesbians (in Northeast Los Angeles) and education for individuals and the community-at-large on the true nature of homosexuality.”
With the advent of the AIDS epidemic in 1980, UGLA members began raising money to help pay for food and rent for some of its members who were fighting HIV. Grassroot gay and lesbian support for these Northeast area residents was the only type of help available in those early years.
Lesbian activist Saundra Tignor brought the “L” word to the table in 1985, two years after Bobby Brown’s murder triggered the founding of UGLA by Highland Park Realtor Gus DiClairo, owner of Uptown Properties.
Then in 1989, UGLA began it’s support for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which was the effort of UGLA member Michael Weinstein. He recognized the need for care for those fighting HIV on this side of town and instituted Chris Brownlie hospice in Elysian Park, the first AIDS Hospice in Los Angeles County.
In 1990, UGLA began its most visible project, a fundraiser named “Uptown Cabaret.” Cabaret ran for 16 years
utilizing local venues such as Highland Park Ebell Club, Friendship Hall, Autry Museum, Occidental College,
and Eagle Rock’s 20th Century Women’s Club.
By 1993, an LAPD Assistant Police Chief was the keynote speaker at UGLA’s 10th Anniversary celebration
at the Los Angeles Music Center and the LAPD was actively recruiting openly gay and lesbian officers across
Los Angeles. In Northeast LA, gay men and lesbians were becoming more open and were actively involved in
all facets of community life. UGLA began its 13-year affiliation with Cal-Trans’ Adopt-a-Highway program
by maintaining two miles of Interstate 5, northbound, from Fletcher Drive on-ramp to Los Feliz Boulevard off-ramp.
In 1996, UGLA began its charitable Matching Funds program and to date has given over $300,000. to community 501(c) 3 organizations.
In 2001, UGLA marched for the first time as a contingent in the Northeast Holiday Parade. That same year, through the good offices of then LA City Councilmember Nick Pacheco, UGLA hung it’s first Gay/Lesbian Pride banner in front of Council District 14 office on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock commemorating Los Angeles’ June Pride month. However, vandals had other ideas. They continually defaced, slashed and stole four banners, leaving their final taunt on the steps of Eagle Rock City hall denouncing “Pacheco the Fag.”
Hate phone calls to UGLA President Carl Johnson resulted in several hate crime reports. Outraged, community service organizations, institutions and individuals rallied to the defense of UGLA issuing strongly worded denunciations and equally strong words of support. UGLA members provided a 24-hour protective vigil for the banner at the Council office.
By 2008, A city-wide poster campaign announcing “Gay Heroes,” which includes the picture of UGLA member octogenarian Florian Novak, resulted in a bus stop poster near the corners of York Boulevard and North Figueroa. The poster has not been defaced or vandalized.
We proudly invite you to listen to "The Ballad of Bobby Brown", written and performed by Santina Giordano:
In 1983, a gay man was shot and killed outside a gay bar in Highland Park. Realtor Gus DiClairo, owner of Uptown Properties, was a friend of the slain man and called his friends together for a meeting to protest the relative inaction of the Los Angeles Police Department in the case. From that meeting, Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance was born.
UGLA is a California non-profit corporation and is listed as a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization with the Internal Revenue Service. From its inception, UGLA has maintained adherence to its mission statement: "The Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance is a charitable and educational non-profit service organization. Primary goals are to provide a support system for lesbians and gay men and education for individuals and the community-at-large on the true nature of homosexuality." UGLA encompasses the communities of Cypress Park, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, and Mt. Washington. However, members also reside in Atwater Village, Echo Park, Elysian Heights, Glendale, Lincoln Heights, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, Silver Lake, South Pasadena, and other neighboring communities.
President: Carl Matthes
Vice-President: Ken Salzman
Treasurer: Joan Potter
Editor/Publications Chair: Carl Johnson
Recording Secretary: Debra Waz
Directors-at-Large: Marci Rose and Carlos Avalos
Director-at-Large: Ruth Riley
Outreach Chair: Paul McDermott
Documentary: UGLA 25th Anniversary Perspective
A look at 2015-2016 saw some positive happenings that reflect changing attitudes. Along with the Supreme Court decision to overturn DOMA, Allison Bechdel’s lesbian-themed Broadway production Fun Home won several Tony awards, and former Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner transitioned to Caitlin. In the Spring of 2016 the Academy Awards recognized films with a lesbian theme (Carol) and a transgender theme (The Danish Girl). *
An attack on patrons of the Pulse Club, a gay bar in Orlando, was a tragedy that occurred in June of 2016. Another devastation, in November 2016, was the election of a new president whose policies and methods encourage divisiveness, fear, intimidation, and aggressiveness. We of the Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance work tirelessly to combat those tactics and promote respect.
At the heart of UGLA are its members, who meet monthly, to socialize, offer comradeship, attend musical events, travel to local points of interest, and provide the volunteers that staff the board and provide assistance and hospitality. We are a thriving organization with a membership that continues to grow.
In the ten years from 2008 to 2018, the Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance has continued to effectively fulfill its mission. If this mission statement speaks to you, please consider joining;
Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance is a charitable and educational public serviceorganization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. Its primary goals are to provide visibility and a support system for lesbins, gay men, bisexuals, and transgenders and education for individuals and the community-at-large on the true nature of the LGBT community. UGLA supports charitable projects and institutions, thereby enhancing all Northeast Los Angeles and the greater Los Angeles area.
Take a virtual look through UGLA's Newsletter origins and evolution of its graphics as well as a brief history on the UGLA Logo and Bill Bailey, UGLA's first Benefactor. Click below to start the slideshow.
Listen to "The Ballad of Bobby Brown"!
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