A Golden Girl’s Legacy

Bea Arthur’s gift to the LGBT community.

What lesbian doesn’t love the classic hit TV show The Golden Girls? Now, the show’s star—the statuesque, baritone voiced, dry-witted Bea Arthur, who passed away in April of 2009, has truly earned a golden status within the LGBT community. Before her passing, Arthur made sure to give generously to the Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youths.

Arthur said: “I’m very, very involved in charities involving youth. These kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because of the fact that they are lesbian, gay or transgender—this organization really is saving lives.”

On Monday, July 20, 2015, there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the Bea Arthur Residence, an 18-bed residence for homeless LGBT youth operated by the Ali Forney Center. It is anticipated that the building will begin to provide housing by the end of 2016.

Bea Arthur gave one of her final public performances as a benefit for the Ali Forney Center in 2005, where she learned that hundreds of thousands of LGBT teens were rejected by their families, and driven to homelessness. She said that she would do anything in her power to help these teens. Upon her death, the Ali Forney Center learned that she had bequeathed $300,000 to the charity in her will.

“It meant the world to me that a star of the magnitude of Bea Arthur would do so much to help the Ali Forney Center in our work of housing homeless LGBT youths.” says Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center. “I am very grateful that we will now be able to honor Bea and continue to keep her compassion alive through the establishment of the Bea Arthur Residence for Homeless LGBT Youth.”

Arthur, who worked as a typist in the Marine Corps during World War II, and was twice married, was active in drama productions since high school. She began her acting career off Broadway in the late 1940s and went on to become an award-winning star of stage, screen, and TV. A proud Democrat, a committed animals rights activist, and a champion of women’s rights, perhaps her greatest legacy is providing homeless young LGBTs with housing, support, and a fresh chance at life.

For more information visit www.aliforneycenter.org