“This is what New York is all about,” said governor of New York Kathy Hochul at the Center Dinner. “I’m so proud to be here tonight as an ally and as a supporter.” Hochul was referring to the event hosted by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, which raised over $1.8 million to support its programs and services, like substance-abuse recovery programs, mental-health services, and art groups for both adults and youth. In the audience were some of the biggest names in the queer community, such as Murray Hill, Gigi Goode, Cecilia Gentili, Alex Newell, Tim Gill, and Scott Miller.
Governor Hochul was not done: “When you see the news unfolding in hateful places like Florida …” And the crowd erupted into boos. “First of all, aren’t you happy you live in New York?” she said. “I’ve got plenty of room for y’all to live up here. We’ll send the planes down, we’ll bring you back to where you belong. This is where it all started.”
“Did she just say she’ll send planes to Florida?” I asked Cyrus Veyssi, a beauty creator sitting to my right. We laughed in response.
More jokes were made about the back room of the historic gay bar the Stonewall Inn while philanthropists Tim Gill and Scott Miller accepted the inaugural Edie Windsor Trailblazer Award for their dedication to LGBTQ rights. Later on, comedian and actor Murray Hill, Bridget Everett, and Jeff Hiller from the HBO series Somebody Somewhere managed to get people to donate upward of $25,000. “Anyone who donates $1,500 will get an invite to the season-two premiere of Somebody Somewhere,” Hill said, managing a laugh and a few more donations. And I accidentally bumped into Gigi Goode on my way to the bar.
Cecilia Gentili, who started Transgender Equity Consulting, got a standing ovation as she accepted the Visibility Award. When accepting her award, she said “If you’re trans, stand up.” About 15 people stood up. Then, “If you’re a Black trans woman, stand up.” There were four women left standing, and two ran to each other and embraced. It was a moving moment to witness and a reminder of how much further we have to go.
Glennda Testone, executive director of the Center, said the night always leaves her inspired. “I love that it reminds everybody about what a force we are, especially for people like me that are both professionally and personally gay,” she told the Cut.