Lambda Legal, is the nation’s oldest and largest LGBT legal organization. Their mission being to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgenders.
The Annual Liberty Awards celebrates the leaders who are essential in combating the fight to recognize the rights for LGBTQ, as well as also working tirelessly against the stigma linked to HIV. It’s the biggest national fundraiser and funds the lawsuits that protects the voices of many. “We are suing the Trump administration” said Lambda Legal CEO Rachel Tiven. This year Lambda Legal honored Evan Wolfson, the former Director of Lambda’s Marriage Project, and the founder and president of Freedom to Marry. His amazing advocacy for people’s rights was essential in the Supreme Court victory of 2015. Wolfson commented, “Together we are going to keep working and fighting for the communities that are under assault. Together we will get our country back on track,”
The event was held at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers and was hosted this year by Orange is the New Black actress, Lea DeLaria, with a performance by Nathan Lee Graham. “It’s so important, it’s the bedrock, laws are the bedrock of our nation,” said Graham about Lambda Legal’s continuous support. All eyes were on Lea DeLaria as she sported a custom made “Fuck Trump” pair of shoes, evidently the administration at the White House was on everyone’s mind. President Trump has made continuous efforts to undermine the efforts that organizations such as Lambda Legal have fought for. “Be as visible as humanly possible, especially if you are feeling invisible,” said DeLaria about anyone who is being affected in this political climate. With Trump’s opinion on transgenders serving in the military, it is just one more instance that has frustrated many in the community.
Actress Selenis Leyva, another star of Orange is the New Black, spoke to the Knockturnal about the Trump administration and why it scares her so much. “As a sister of a trans woman I know the importance of having legal representation”. As a Latina, Leyva also emphasized the lack of representation that Hispanics have for LGBTQ rights. “For so many years we haven’t been heard and we haven’t been seen,” said the actress about her Hispanic roots. “Latinos have to stick together, we have to stick together for our LGBTQ community. Latinos in general for some reason still have the stigma where we don’t like to deal with these issues”. As a Latina myself it is noted that the representation within our community is close to none. The type of stigma and shame the lies within the Latino community is apparent and distinct from other ethnicities which makes actresses such as Leyva using her platform that much more significant. There is a lack of a Latino voice within the LGBTQ community that deserves to be heard and validated.
Despite many saying otherwise the LGBTQ community has to continue to fight. It cannot and will not be silenced so long as organizations such as this one continue to stand up. There are indisputable rights that will not be stripped away so long as people throw their everlasting support behind advocates such as these. Nathan Lee Graham wanted to emphasize to anyone out there that is feeling silenced currently that,“Although, this administration is trying to steal some of our joy, you can’t let them do it.” Stay joyful. Stay hopeful. As long as people unite, the power in numbers is untouchable. As for moving forward? Actress Abigail Savage has a bit of advice, “Vote, vote, vote. It’s our responsibility as citizens, we created this fiasco so let’s fix it.”
Other notable guests in attendances included John Cameron Mitchell, Justin Mikita, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, entertainment executive Ryan Tarpley, top Vine influencer Jeffrey Marsh, Page Six writer and TV host Carlos Greer.
For more information please visit, lambdalegal.org