Adam Rippon, Gus Kenworthy, Rita Ora, Lena Waithe, Greg Berlanti and More Show Their Support
NEW YORK CITY–Monday night, The Trevor Project hosted its 2018 TrevorLIVE New York gala at Cipriani Wall Street, where it honored Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, producer, and actor Lena Waithe; Writers Guild of America Award, Directors Guild of America Award, and Golden Globe Award-nominated writer, director, and producer Greg Berlanti; and Managing Partner of global consulting firm McKinsey & Company Dominic Barton. U.S. Olympic medalists Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy hosted the event which helped raise more than $2 million and included performances by international singer-songwriter Rita Ora and the cast of VICELAND’s “MY HOUSE” (Tati 007, Alex Mugler, Jelani Mizrahi, Lolita Balenciaga, Relish Milan, Precious Ebony).
The Trevor Project is the nation’s largest nonprofit crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization focused on ending suicide among LGBTQ youth. TrevorLIVE NY is the organization’s annual star-studded signature fundraiser. Awarded at the gala, the Trevor Hero Award recognizes an individual who serves as an inspiration to LGBTQ youth or increases visibility and understanding of the LGBTQ community. The Trevor 20/20 Visionary Award recognizes a corporation/organization that has supported the LGBTQ community or increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBTQ community.
Additional guests of TrevorLIVE NY included Melissa Benoist (actress, Supergirl), Raymond Braun (activist/media personality), Carmen Carrera (model), Tyler Glenn (musician/actor, Kinky Boots), April Hunt (DJ), Jenn Hyman (CEO & co-founder, Rent the Runway), Natasha Lyonne (actress, Orange is the New Black), Corey Johnson (NYC City Council Speaker), Chella Man (activist/content creator), Mary V (photographer/performance artist), Lauren Morelli (writer/producer, Orange is the New Black), Barrett Pall (model), Phillip Picardi (Chief Content Officer, them. and Teen Vogue), Robbie Rogers (retired professional soccer player), MJ Rodriguez (actress, POSE), D’Andra Simmons (The Real Housewives of Dallas), Justin Simien (producer, Dear White People),Christian Siriano (fashion designer), Shepard Smith (Fox News Anchor), Ryan Jamaal Swain (actor, POSE), Michael Tammero (host, In the Foxlight), Samira Wiley (actress, The Handmaid’s Tale), Jason Wu (fashion designer).
Highlights from the event included:
- The cast of VICELAND’s “MY HOUSE,” a docuseries which gives viewers a look into the world of New York’s queer vogue ballroom scene, kicked off the evening with an electrifying dance routine by five voguers accompanied by commentator Precious Ebony.
- Co-hosts of the evening Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy welcomed the crowd applauding The Trevor Project’s 20th anniversary. “That’s 20 years of supporting LGBTQ youth in crisis,” said Kenworthy. “20 years of saving young LGBTQ lives. 20 years of creating community, connection, support and policies that help LGBTQ youth.” Rippon added, “I spent a lot of my childhood not liking who I was. But I like to think if I had someone like me or Gus to look up to, I wouldn’t have felt so alone.”
- The Trevor Project’s CEO & Executive Director Amit Paley took to the stage with a message to young LGBTQ people across the country. “There may be people who don’t accept you for who you are, but there are other people who will not only accept you, but celebrate you.” Referring to The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States initiative which aims to ban conversion therapy across the country, Paley said, “This dangerous and discredited practice is still legal today in 37 states and we will not rest until this form of torture is stopped everywhere … You are beautiful just the way you are and you are not alone.”
- McKinsey & Company’s Global Managing Partner Dominic Barton accepted the organization’s 20/20 Visionary Award celebrating him for being socially responsible and running a business that has policies and procedures in place that support diversity and inclusion. “It’s really important during times like this. What we’re seeing today is abnormal and it’s important for us to fight,” said Barton. “I think it’s our responsibility that we speak up and support with our voice and money. We’ll have an open-minded leader again. When the bright times come back, and they will, we will accelerate and get to where we want to be.”
- Justin Simien presented the Trevor Hero Award to Lena Waithe, sharing a personal story. “I remember a conversation I had with Lena where she vowed that should she become a figure in this business, little queer boys and little queer girls would have someone to look up to. Lena, mission accomplished.”
- Lena Waithe accepted the honor stressing to the crowd the need for more love and acceptance. “I’m really moved by the stories I’m hearing and the faces I’m seeing and all the love. But don’t treat each other like this just in this room. We need to take it out into the world.” She continued, “It’s our job to make sure all queer people are human. They weren’t born to be perfect. They were born to be whole.”
- “Supergirl’s” Melissa Benoist made her appearance at TrevorLIVE NY to present Greg Berlanti with the Trevor Hero Award. “While I pretend to be a superhero on TV, Greg is the real deal,” said Benoist. After listing an impressive queer firsts by Berlanti, including the first romantic kiss between two gay characters on “Dawson’s Creek,” first recurring transgender character on primetime, and first gay superhero to headline on “The Ray,” Benoist said, “the work you have done has healed so many hearts.”
- “I never felt like a hero myself. We always talk about the superpowers they have,” said Greg Berlanti as he named off super power after super power including the ability to fly, invisibility, x-ray vision, and so on. “But there’s only one power all our heroes have in common. It’s a power accessible to everyone: compassion.” Berlanti, whose most recent project was coming-of-age title “Love, Simon,” shared with the room that his mother went into the hospital on the last day of filming. She would sadly pass ten days later and was never able to see the finished film.
- Rita Ora closed out the show in style with a special acoustic performance combining her songs “Anywhere” and “I Will Never Let You Down” before bringing back out on stage the cast of VICELAND’s “MY HOUSE” for a performance of her hit single “Girls.” Ora also took the time to share with the room how special it was for her to perform at TrevorLIVE NY. “I really love the LGBTQ community, the most compassionate group of people in the world,” said Ora. “You’re all very near and dear to my heart, and the stories I heard tonight, I’m never going to forget.”
Proud presenting sponsors of this year’s TrevorLIVE NY included AT&T, Goldman Sachs Gives, and 21st Century Fox. In addition, Kimpton Hotels served as the official hotel sponsor, United Airlines as the official airline sponsor, and Three Olives as the official liquor supporter.
Michael Samonte | Damiano DeMonte | Ulisses Rivera | Liz Heyman
The Trevor Project