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Donatella Versace Named Global Ambassador of the Los Angeles LGBT Center

Donatella Versace and Dwyane Wade at Los Angeles LGBT Center

In an evening celebrating the power of community, the Los Angeles LGBT Center welcomed back international fashion icon Donatella Versace for a return visit to the Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus, announcing her as the organization’s first-ever Global Ambassador.

Donatella Versace, the Chief Creative Officer of Versace followed up her 2023 visit with a fundraiser co-hosted with basketball legend and LGBTQ+ activist Dwyane Wade to raise money for the Center’s life-saving programs and services.

“I am so happy to be here at the Los Angeles LGBT Center again. My visit last year is one of my favorite memories of LA. Every time I am in the company of this community, I feel like I am home,” Versace said.

Every time I am in the company of this community, I feel like I am home.

Donatella Versace, Chief Creative Officer, Versace

Preceding the rooftop evening event, Ms. Versace and Mr. Wade sat down for a fireside chat at the campus Youth Academy before a packed room of LGBTQ+ youth clients. Moderated by the Center’s Chief Strategy Officer, Phillip Picardi, the conversation saw the pair reflect on their career milestones, share advice for young people, and elaborate on their unrelenting support for the LGBTQ+ movement. The duo also took questions from youth clients of the Center about lessons learned throughout their career and establishing themselves at the top of their respective fields.

Mr. Wade also reflected on his experience with his daughter Zaya, who publicly came out as transgender when she was just 12 years old. “Zaya’s journey has been transformative to me—as love should be. I hope to model that kind of love to others, and do my best to demonstrate what it means to show up as a supportive parent and an ally in this moment,” he said.

The duo presented the Emerging Icon Award to Jade Williams, a client of the Center’s Youth Center. Williams arrived at the Center in January 2023 in search of housing assistance, and has since completed the Youth Center’s workforce development program, which helped connect her to job training and internship placement in the beauty industry.

“More than just a roof over my head and warm meals, what I got was unconditional love and the validation I was desperately searching for … My Center family is my home,” she said. “Through their encouragement, I took the first step towards rebuilding my life. Thank you Ms. Donatella and the Versace team—for helping me step into my main character era.”

In total, the event raised more than $700,000 toward the Center’s programs and services. Building on her ongoing partnership with the organization, Versace’s brand donated $50,000 in support of the Center. On stage, Wade announced that he would match Versace’s gift to support healthcare, legal aid, housing, food and nutrition, education, employment, and more to LGBTQ+ people in need. The event was made possible by the generous support of TikTok and Tinder.

My Center family is my home.

Jade Williams, Emerging Icon Award recipient

“As I look out at this beautiful and impeccably dressed crowd, I am reminded of what’s at the core of the Center’s work: creating a space where our people can be their authentic selves and build community through joy,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner. He went on to highlight the significance of joy and pride at a time when there are more than 400 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation “attempting to push us back in the closet.”

“Let’s face it,” he said. “Like the looks y’all are serving tonight, we’re just too fabulous to be left in the closet.”

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