Activism April 2024

Elizabeth Taylor’s Influence in West Hollywood

Elizabeth Taylor's impact extended far beyond the big screen. Nowhere is this more evident than in the well-known LGBTQ+ community of West Hollywood, where Elizabeth’s presence left a significant mark. Her connection to West Hollywood was more than geographical proximity — it was a testament to her genuine empathy and unwavering support for marginalized communities. Living in Bel Air, Elizabeth recognized the importance of embracing her local LGBTQ+ community, making West Hollywood her backyard in more ways than one. 

A touching anecdote that captures Elizabeth’s understated yet profound influence on the community involves an unexpected visit in 2009 to West Hollywood’s favorite gay bar, The Abbey. Sitting in the bar on an unassuming Thursday afternoon with a friend and executive assistant, Tim Mendelson, her presence elicited more than a few tearful encounters. These individuals respectfully approached Elizabeth to express how her activism saved their lives from the harsh realities of AIDS in the mid 1980s and gave them a beacon of hope.

The following day, she returned to The Abbey, but the attention drawn from her previous visit hadn’t gone unnoticed, resulting in swarms of paparazzi and onlookers. Wanting to avoid the crowds, Elizabeth headed to another bar nearby, Revolver, where yet again, she was approached with the gratitude of a community long overlooked. The bar’s owner professed, “We owe our lives to you,” to which she responded:

“I’m still here, love. Anything you need, just let me know.”

Elizabeth’s involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS transcended celebrity. It was a deeply personal crusade fueled by compassion that guided every step she took. That’s not to say her fame and status didn’t help the cause, but her willingness to lend her voice raised awareness on a global scale. Yet, amidst her international activism, her humble presence in the gay bars of West Hollywood highlights the power of engaging with those closest to you. In a world where celebrities seem out of touch, Elizabeth remained accessible to the LGBTQ+ community and tirelessly fought for their rights until the end of her life. Moments like these serve as a reminder that meaningful change starts at home, where we can make a tangible impact on the issues that matter most.