On December 6, 2015 at The Hollywood Palladium, celebrities and supporters gathered to raise over 1.1 million dollars towards The Trevor Project’s suicide prevention and crisis intervention services for LGBTQ youth. The night began with an engaging red carpet livestream, hosted by Shira Lazar, Todrick Hall, and RJ Aguilar, with questions gathered from youth on Twitter and Instagram. The irreverently comedic, yet heartfelt show, directed by Adam Shankman, began with a moving speech from Executive Director and CEO Abbe Land, who spoke about our Southern Initiative, which aims to bring more resources to youth in rural areas who may not know about our services.
Joel McHale hosted the night of entertainment, which began with an electric performance of “Peeno Noir” by Tituss Burgess. Lisa Kudrow made a special appearance as Valerie Cherish in a tribute video to HBO’s President of Programming, Michael Lombardo. Julia Louis-Dreyfus presented the award to Lombardo, honored as the Trevor Hero for his fight to bring LGBTQ equality into the workplace and his pivotal role in inspiring Vice President Joe Biden to announce his support for marriage equality in 2012.
“The Trevor Project, by providing crisis counseling and a sense of community, is a lifeline to scores of youth struggling to feel unbroken, to feel of value,” said Lombardo. “There is nothing more basic, more critical, than the work Trevor does and what it represents – that one is never alone, that being gay or lesbian or trans is a difference to be embraced and valued.”
The Youth Innovator Award, presented by Candis Cayne, Kevin Zegers, and Jeffrey Paul Wolff and sponsored by Wells Fargo, was awarded to Jazz Jennings for her work with the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation to raise awareness about LGBTQ issues and advocate for transgender youth. In her speech, Jennings said, “Being transgender has not just been a physical transition for me. It’s been about discovering who I am, how to love myself, and spreading that love towards other people and accepting one another no matter their differences. Knowing that I can help folks discover themselves, and that organizations like The Trevor Project exist to help kids understand their feelings and identities is lifesaving.”
Presenting the Trevor 20/20 Visionary Award to The Walt Disney Company was Amy Adams, following Jeremy Jordan’s uplifting Disney medley and a touching video that highlighted Disney’s support of the LGBTQ community through its various television, film, and theme park projects over the years. Chairman of Walt Disney International, Andy Bird, accepted the award, saying: “The Trevor Project saves lives. It is a candle in the darkness, illuminating the way to safety for so many young people struggling to find acceptance. And, even though the world has changed dramatically since this organization was founded, there is still so much to be done. The Walt Disney Company is proud to be part of the effort…and to stand with The Trevor Project tonight and always.”
The evening was full of laughs, heartfelt speeches, and jaw-dropping performances by Aja Naomi King, Alex Borstein, Alfred Enoch, Brad Goreski, Brenna Whitaker, Cheyenne Jackson, Conrad Ricamora, Eli Lieb, Guillermo Diaz, Jack Falahee, Jeremy Jordan, Martin Starr, Matt McGorry, Niecy Nash, Pauley Perette, Rachel Bloom, Sarah Silverman, Suzanne Cryer, and Tony Hale. Pictures and videos of celebrities offering support to LGBTQ youth can be seen on Flickr and Instagram.
To commemorate the lifesaving work of The Trevor Project, the night ended with a powerful performance of “The Circle of Life” by Burgess.
We thank TrevorLIVE presenting sponsors Wells Fargo, HBO, and The Walt Disney Company, corporate and individual donors, volunteers, and staff for making this a night to remember. To find out more about TrevorLIVE New York in June 2016, check in at trevorlive.org.